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Thursday Betting Tips


Liverpool v Steaua Bucharest

For Liverpool, the Europa League is a secondary concern to the Premiership. Despite this, they have racked up four victories in the tournament with a weakened side, scoring 7 goals and conceding only 1. Reina will start in front of Agger and Kyrgiakos, with Jay Spearing and Raul Meireles in midfield. This should provide a solid base for the likes of Ryan Babel, Joe Cole and David N’Gog to find the goals to give them the three points.

Steaua Bucharest were poor against a weak Grasshoppers side in the last round, and lost against a Unirea team that is in crisis at the moment. They have a number of injuries, as well as five new players who failed to be registered in time for this competition.

Liverpool will see this as a good chance to get back to winning ways, even with a weakened team. It would be a surprise to see the likes of Torres and Gerrard, particularly with a huge match against Manchester United at the weekend, but they should be strong enough in defence to restrict Steaua.

Bet: Liverpool to keep a clean sheet @ 1.83

Porto v Rapid Vienna

Porto have started the season in excellent form, winning 7 out of 7 competitive fixtures so far, scoring 18 and conceding only 4. They lost Raul Meireles to Liverpool, but brought in Joao Moutinho from rivals Sporting as a replacement. They have only lost 2 games at home since October 2008, against Manchester United and Chelsea, and will fancy themselves to win again here.

Rapid Vienna shocked Aston Villa for the second year running to reach the Group Stages. They looked relatively poor, and it was only a series of defensive errors that helped them. They have lost their best striker, Nenad Jelavic, and are without Heikkinen, Pehlivan, Eder and Vennegoor of Hesselink. They have lost their last two matches in the league.

Porto should win this comfortably, and will look to Hulk to get the goals, having scored 6 in his last 3 games.

Bet: Porto -1.5AH @ 1.87
Bet: Hulk to score first @ 6

Besiktas v CSKA Sofia

Besiktas have been in sparkling form recently, cruising through the qualifying rounds for this tournament, scoring 17 goals and conceding only 1. They have scored 4 goals in each of their last three games in all competitions. Turkey is a notoriously difficult place to go and play, and players such as Ricardo Quaresma, Guti and Nihat, combined with the managerial ability of Bernt Schuster, mean that they will be a hard team to overcome. However, they have a big derby with Fenerbahce at the weekend, so may have one eye on that game.

CSKA Sofia beat Cliftonville and The New Saints to reach this stage. In both ties, they wrapped it up with a 3-0 win in the home leg, but an unconvincing 2-1 win in Cliftonville, and a 2-2 draw with TNS suggests they struggle away from Sofia. They have had an uncertain start to the season, and lie in midtable ahead of this tie.

Besiktas will look for an early goal, and if that comes, they could open up as they have done in recent games. CSKA Sofia have admitted they will look for goals, and this could leave them open at the back.

Bet: Besiktas -1.5AH @ 1.96

Juventus v Lech Poznan

Juventus have started poorly, with a defeat at Bari, and a 3-3 draw at Sampdoria, and pressure is beginning to mount already. They may rest players here in preparation for Udinese at the weekend, being a more important match. They have come through two rounds of qualifying to reach this stage, but have only scored 6 goals in 4 matches against Shamrock Rovers and Sturm Graz.

Lech Poznan will look to keep it tight and maybe try to nick something against the odds. They tend to keep things low-scoring, as we saw in the previous round where there was only a single goal over the two legs against Dnipro. Under Zielinski, they lack creativity, but have all their first choice defenders back and fit again.

In front of only around 8,000 fans, we shouldn’t expect this to be a classic. Juventus should win, but even if they grab one goal, it would be a surprise to see them go all out to win by any more.

Bet: Under 2.5 goals @ 2.32

Dinamo Zagreb v Villarreal

Dinamo Zagreb are in good form, being undefeated in 7 games since their shock exit from the Champions League to Moldovan side, Sheriff. They scored twice home and away against Gyor in the last round, and key player Sammir is in excellent form at the moment. They will look to pick up as many points at home, so this means they need to attack and score goals.

Villarreal destroyed Espanyol 4-0 at the weekend to continue their excellent goal-scoring start to the season. They hit seven goals in two ties against Dnepr in the last round, and hit another 4 against Tottenham in a pre-season friendly. The likes of Giuseppe Rossi, Santi Cazorla and Joan Capdevila should start alongside several reserve players for this match.

Villarreal have the quality to win this game, but their squad selection raises questions about their motivation. Dinamo should be encouraged by a strong home support, and will look for an important victory to give them a chance of qualifying.

Bet: Over 2.5 goals @ 2.14


Guyana v Mumbai Indians

Guyana were pretty awful in their opening match against Royal Bangalore, being bowled out for only 103 runs, before going on to lose the match by 9 wickets. The Bangalore bowling attack was impressive, but Guyana have a number of internationals in their upper order, so should be able to play better than they showed.

Mumbai Indians scored an impressive 180, hitting an enormous ten sixes during their innings. They have plenty of big hitters in Kieron Pollard, Saurabh Tiwary, Ambati Ravadu and Harbhajan Singh, and the boundaries should be under constant bombardment. They did also concede 9 sixes during the South Australia innings suggesting their bowling was a little sub-standard, as they allowed the Australians to chase down their mammoth total.

The boundaries in Durban are fairly short, and there were 19 sixes in the last match, and ten in the match before that, despite Central District only making 94. The over 9.5 sixes looks a high line, but it is quite achievable, especially if we see the Mumbai Indians batting first.

Bet: Over 9.5 sixes @ 1.83

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