CHAMPIONS LEAGUE qualification continues on Wednesday night. Here Ben Levene (@benlevene96) picks out his best bets.
Ludogorets v MOL Vidi | Wednesday 25th July 2018, 18:00
European regulars Ludogorets have netted against many a giant in the past. In the last four years they’ve scored at home to Real Madrid, Liverpool, PSG and Arsenal.
They take on Videton (MOL Vidi) of Hungary as they look to edge towards the Champions League group phase.
Ludogorets impressively disposed of Crusaders 9-0 on aggregate in the previous round whereas Videton scrapped past Dudelange 3-2 over the two-legs.
Bulgarian-based Ludogorets opened up their domestic campaign with a 1-0 win last week and have won all four competitive matches without reply since returning from a break.
Over the last three seasons, Ludogorets have won six of seven Champions League qualification home games by two or more goals. They have progressed passed this stage in four consecutive seasons, winning the home leg by at least two goals on each occasion.
Ludogorets -1 is 5/6 (Bet365) and is the best play here.
Kukesi v Qarabag FK | Wednesday 25th July, 18:00
Football followers will be familiar with Azerbaijan-side Qarabag FK. They look to make it a fifth-consecutive season in a European group stage.
Last season Qarabag were in a Champions League group with Chelsea, and drew both meetings with Atletico Madrid.
Their opponents, Kukesi, overcame Maltese-side Valletta on away goals. They came 2nd in the Albanian top-flight last season, nine-points off top-spot. They have been eliminated at this stage in each of the last two seasons, losing all four-legs.
Kukesi are without a win in any of their last six competitive games.
Amongst Qarabag’s ranks is Iceland Goalkeeper, Hannes Halldorsson, while midfield Michel is another familiar face after a brief spell with Birmingham.
Qarabag are the better team here. While it will be no easy task, the 93/100 (Marathon) about the Azerbaijan Champions is attractive.
BATE Borisov v HJK | Wednesday 25th July, 18:00
Belarus’ league-leaders, BATE Borisov, are comfortably the nations best side. They’ve also scored more goals than any other side after 14-games of the domestic campaign. BATE won seven of the last eight, scoring two or more goals in each of those victories.
Finnish Champions, HJK, are more of an unknown quantity. After 20-games they are seven-points clear in Finland’s top-flight. They have the ability to be dangerous.
However, HJK have made been eliminated prior to the group stage in 21 of the last 22 seasons, so have tended to struggle when up against respected competitors in qualification.
In the last round, Vikingur of the Faroe Islands landed blows in both legs.
BATE have become European regulars, troubling the likes of Bayern Munich, Athletic Bilbao, and Roma over the years. Last season they collected an impressive five-points from a Europa League group of Arsenal, Red Star Belgrade, and Koln.
A BATE Borisov victory in a game that sees Over 1.5 goals is an appealing 11/10 (Coral)