ROSS CASEY (@Rosscasey24) scans the Champions League qualifying coupon. Here he picks out three selections from some of the lower profile games with a focus on finding the value.
Astana v Dinamo Zagreb | Tuesday 7th August 2018, 15:00
Astana are quite the competition at home. In fact, they are undefeated on home soil in the Champions League, with a 4-3 thriller against Celtic probably the highlight. They face-off with Dinamo Zagreb on an 11-match unbeaten streak at home and a 10-game winning streak at their own ground across all competitions.
That is not music to the ears of Zagreb, who have won just two of their last five on the road and the bookies make Astana the favourites here at 61/50.
Considering the home and away form of both these sides, that is a price I am happy to get behind. Go with the home win here.
Slavia Prague v Dynamo Kiev | Tuesday 7th August 2018, 18:30
This is a massive game for Slavia Prague as they look to make home advantage pay. They have not made the Champions League for 11 seasons and will be pretty annoyed they have pulled out a side as good as Dynamo Kiev here, for they have been in excellent form.
The Czech Republic side have won 11 of their last 14 matches, including picking up five victories in a row heading into this fixture, where they have scored 15 goals. The goals are absolutely flying in, they are playing with confidence and they have been made favourites to win thanks to this form with a best price of 41/25.
However, their incredible attack will be tested here against a Kiev side that are unbeaten in 13 and have kept seven clean sheets in a row. That sequence has included two 1-0 wins over Shakhtar Donetsk too.
Therefore, I actually think that Kiev will prove a tough nut for Slavia to crack and I like Dynamo Kiev in the Draw No Bet market at 111/100 with Marathon. This is a meeting of two in-form teams and with the draw returning our stake I will go with the underdogs.
Benfica v Fenerbahce | Tuesday 7th August 2018, 20:00
This is a meeting of two big sides in European football and Benfica head into this Champions League qualifier having faced some stiff competition, where they have played Juventus, Dortmund, Sevilla and Lyon in recent weeks.
They have only lost one of those matches over 90 minutes and considering their immense home record you can understand why they are a best price of just 3/5 to win this encounter.
Fenerbahce haven’t played anywhere near the quality of side that Benfica have of late, but they have been picking up very good results. The Turkish side have lost just one of their six pre-season friendlies, meaning they have now lost just two of their last 16 matches in all competitions.
For me, 3/5 is way too short to support, but I do fancy Benfica to win, so my selection will be Benfica to win and Both Teams To Score at 10/3 with Bet365. Whilst I don’t think Fenerbahce will win, you cannot overlook the fact they have netted in each of their last 17 games.