The early stages of Europa League and Champions League football mean the domestic big kick off is not too far away, but there is still a great deal of value to be had in these fixtures. Wednesday is one of the quieter days this week for European football, but there are a couple of games that have caught my attention, not least the Champions League 2nd qualifying round 1st leg game between Cypriot league champions AEL Limassol and Linfield of Northern Ireland.
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Cypriot football is rapidly developing, and Europe is beginning to take note. Anorthosis Famagusta became the first side from the island to make the Group Stages in 2008/9, a feat that was soon surpassed by APOEL FC last season, who managed to make it to the quarter finals of Europe’s elite competition.
This time around, current league champions attempt to at least qualify to the group stages, and considering their lowly opposition on Wednesday evening, I’m predicting they can take a comfortable win against Linfield, who won Northern Ireland’s Premiership last term.
According to UEFA’s coefficients, their are 23 points difference between the Cypriot league and Northern Irish league in AEL Limassol’s favour, and they can really make that superior quality show here.
Linfield needed penalties to separate them from Faroe Island’s side B36 in the first qualifying round. Two 0-0 draws against such weak opposition hardly inspires confidence as they travel to Cyprus to face a vastly improved side making their Champions League debut.
Another huge factor in my decision to place a bet on AEL Limassol is the heat. Checking the current temperature in Limassol (Tuesday 8.30pm), it’s a scorching 30 degrees with a humidity of 70%. Put simply, Linfield will not be able to play a competitive 90 minutes in these conditions.
At first glance AEL’s best odds for a win in the first leg is a best price of 1/7 with Ladbrokes. While this confirms the chasm between the standard of the two nations football, I don’t see any value in backing AEL to simply win the game.
Keen to find a little bit more value in other betting markets, the bet I really like the look of is AEL Limassol to win both halves at Evens with Paddy Power.
Linfield are desperately outclassed by AEL Limassol, and I expect that to show immediately after kick off. If the Cypriot champions can grab a goal in the first half, I will be full of confidence that they will extend their lead in the 2nd period as Irish legs begin to fail.
Paddy Power’s Evens is the stand out price for this bet, and with other firms going as short as 4/6 about the same outcome, my advice would be to get on ASAP.
Back AEL Limassol to win both halves – Evens with Paddy Power