Scottish champions Celtic travel to Northern Ireland to face Linfield in the first leg of their Champions League second qualifying round tie.
Linfield vs. Celtic
Champions League – Second Qualifying Round (1st Leg) – Friday 14th July 2017 – 5:00 pm
Best Odd of: 20/1 at Ladbrokes
Best Odd of: 8/1 at Ladbrokes
Best Odd of: 1/10 at Ladbrokes
The current Northern Irish Football League champions started their season back on June 28th, with a 1-0 victory over La Fiorita in the first qualifying round of this competition. The win came courtesy of an 89th minute winner from substitute Jordan Stewart, and gave them a slender advantage.
Less than a week later, they earned a goalless draw in the second leg to advance and book an encounter against Celtic.
Last time Linfield played at this stage of the competition, they lost 3-0 on aggregate against AEL Limassol.
The Scottish champions are unbeaten in pre-season, having won two and drawn two from their four warm-up matches so far.
Their most recent friendly was away to Shamrock Rovers on July 8th, and the Scots side ran rampant to win 9-0.
They are tipped to ease through this tie but they mustn’t take things lightly. At this stage last season, they underestimated their opponents and were beaten 1-0 away to Lincoln Red Imps from Gibraltar.
Having suffered the embarrassment, they won 3-0 in the second leg and eventually got through to the group stages where they finished bottom of a group containing Barcelona, Manchester City, and Monchengladbach.
Head to Head
These two sides have never played each other in a competitive game before.
Betting Odds and Predictions
Celtic are rightly a huge favourite to win this match and there’s no value in the match result market, with the visitors being 1/12 at Coral.
Linfield are a huge 22/1 to cause an upset, which doesn’t look too far-fetched seeing as Celtic lost at this stage of the competition to a rank outsider last season. The draw is a tempting 8/1.
Celtic will be eager to avoid another embarrassing defeat, so will look to take this game seriously and not underestimate their opponents. Therefore, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that they will score a shed-load of goals and win convincingly.
Over 2.5 goals is at a decent price of 2/5, and Over 3.5 is 1/1.
If you think Celtic will score more than that, and maybe Linfield will even get on the scoresheet too, there is value in backing a high-scoring game.
Over 4.5 goals is 23/10, Over 5.5 is 5/1, and Over 6.5 is 11/1. Celtic scored nine in Ireland last week, and it’s 66/1 for Over 8.5 goals in this game.
Linfield aren’t fancied to even score a goal in this, but Celtic have conceded against smaller teams before. Therefore, backing Both teams to Score could be a good bet at 29/20. It’s also 1/2 for both teams not to score.
Despite there being a slight doubt as to how Celtic will approach this game, they should win quite convincingly.
So, backing Celtic to win and Over 2.5 goals looks a solid bet at 1/2 with Coral. The visitors to win and Over 3.5 goals is 23/20.
Celtic will want to come out for this game and not let their opponents settle, so expect an early goal or two. In the HT/FT market, it’s 8/15 for the visitors to be leading at Half Time and win.
The Scottish side to be leading at Half Time is priced at 1/2, whilst the sides to be level at the break is 19/10. Over 1.5 first half goals could be a fantastic bet at odds of 23/20.
When looking at possible goal scorers, punters should look no further than Moussa Dembele. He scored 32 goals in 48 games last season, and has already netted twice in pre-season.
He’s 12/5 to score first, 4/9 to score anytime, 6/4 to score two or more goals, and 9/2 to score a hat-trick.
Other options include Scott Sinclair, who’s 7/10 to score anytime, and James Forrest, who has netted twice in pre-season and is 17/10 to score in the 90 minutes here.
If you believe Linfield will score, it’s likely to come from Andrew Waterworth. The striker has been the Northern Irish sides top scorer for the past four seasons and he’s 3/1 to score anytime. You can even get odds of 20/1 for him to score twice.
Top Betting Tip
Looking for value, as well as what we believe will happen in this match, has led us to come up with two top betting tips. Firstly, we think Celtic will win and there will be Over 2.5 goals. This is priced at 1/2 with Coral. Our second top bet is Moussa Dembele to score two or more, at odds of 6/4.