FOUR matches in the Champions League on Tuesday. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) took a look at the best bets.
APOEL Nicosia v FC Midtjylland | Tuesday 18:00
I was sweet on APOEL Nicosia last week and they didn’t let me down with a 2-1 win in Denmark against Midtjylland. To be fair, the Danes did dominate possession but just couldn’t make it count.
A 2-1 away win puts APOEL clearly in charge of the tie and the need to win here is not as urgent as we they have expected this time last week. Despite that I was surprised to see them as big as 13/10 to win.
Nicosia crushed Danish side AaB 4-0 at home in last year’s competition and on top of that drew with Ajax and lost by the odd goal to PSG in the group stages.
Another massive factor in the Cypriot’s favour is the weather forecast. Yes, Cyprus is expected to endure temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius on Tuesday and there’s no way that will suit the Danes.
While Midtjylland are a team that everyone is fascinated about at the moment (due to their business and tactical model) for me they are a step below APOEL in this competition. They made hard work of knocking out Gibraltar side Lincoln Red Imps in the last round and should struggle here.
Due to the pressure of the fixture and the position they find themselves in, surely Midtjylland will roll the dice here and go for broke. It may be that not only this bold style but also the stifling heat catches them out and they suffer late in the game.
With that in mind I’ll back APOEL in two different markets here. I’ll take the 7/2 with Betway that they score Over 1.5 second half goals and will tuck into 888 Sport’s 23/5 quote that for Draw/APOEL in the Half-Time/Full-Time market.
Ajax v Rapid Vienna | Tuesday 19:15
Ajax were cruising in this tie last week at one point. Yup, Frank De Boer’s men went 2-0 up in Austria and looked to be easily heading towards the play-off round. But back came Rapid with two second half goals to level the match at 2-2. It might just be the wake up call Ajax need.
Despite that comeback Ajax still came out on top on the stats as well and I think at a shade of odds on they look value. Rapid haven’t won the Austrian league since 2008 and last year were knocked out of the Europa League by HJK Helsinki. Hardly a great marker.
When you compare Rapid’s record to Ajax’s recent European form there’s just no competition. The Dutch side reached the Champions League group stages last year and smashed up APOEL Nicosia 4-0 in the process. As well as that, PSG couldn’t win in Amsterdam and Legia Warsaw and Dnipro (aet) were beaten in the Europa League.
I’ll be backing Ajax to maintain that strong home form and be too strong for Rapid.
APOEL Nicosia v FC Midtjylland – APOEL to score Over 1.5 Second Half Goals (7/2 Betway)
APOEL Nicosia v FC Midtjylland – Draw/APOEL Half-Time/Full-Time (23/5 888 Sport)
Ajax v Rapid Vienna – Ajax to win (20/23 Boyelsports)