Champions League Tipsheet: Tough night ahead for Benfica and PSV

Benfica fans.
Will Benfica's fans be celebrating after their match with PAOK?

Dan Fitch takes a look at Tuesday's Champions League play-off games and thinks that favourites Benfica and PSV won't have it all their own way.

"So far PAOK have eliminated Basel and Spartak Moscow, both of whom graced the Champions League group stage last season."

Back both Benfica and PAOK to score at 2.0621/20

Champions League Play-Offs
Tuesday August 20

Fully fit BATE are being underestimated

BATE Borisov 4.1 v PSV 2.0811/10; The Draw 3.45
Kick off 20:00, Live on BT Sport 3

The Belarusian title holders BATE Borisov are aiming to make the Champions League group stages for the first time since the 2015-16 season. A major advantage for BATE in this situation is that they are now well into their domestic season and fully fit, having played 17 matches in the Belarusian Premier League.

In contrast, the Eredivisie is only two games old, though the defending Dutch champions have started in impressive fashion, winning both matches. Hirving Lozano has scored in successive games, building on a World Cup campaign with Mexico in which he was one of the stars of the tournament. If PSV are to hold onto their title and prosper in Europe, then it is important that they can retain Lozano, with the winger scoring 19 goals last season.

It took a 90th minute winner from Dante Rigo to give PSV victory at the weekend, in their away game at Fortuna Sittard. Considering how close PSV came to a draw in that game and the superior fitness of the hosts, a stalemate looks a big price at 3.45.

PAOK can score on the road

Benfica 1.511/2 v PAOK 7.613/2; The Draw 4.67/2
Kick off 20:00, Live on BT Sport 2

Benfica have already overcome tough opposition in the qualifying stages of the Champions League, after edging past Fenerbahce in the last round. They've also won both of their domestic league games, claiming a 2-0 win against Boavista at the weekend.

The Greek champions PAOK have negotiated an even tougher route through to this stage. So far they have eliminated Basel and Spartak Moscow, both of whom graced the Champions League group stage last season.

These results suggest that PAOK could well give Benfica a tougher game than the odds indicate. Their four games in the qualifying process have seen them score four goals and make the price of 2.0621/20 for both teams to score, an enticing prospect.

Austrians will claim crucial away victory

Crvena Zvezda 3.65 v Red Bull Salzburg 2.265/4; The Draw 3.412/5
Kick off 20:00, Live on BT Sport ESPN

Red Star Belgrade's Champions League campaign started back in July and they have come through three ties to give themselves a chance of making the group stages for the first time. Their opponents have been modest though and in the last round they needed extra time to dispense with the Slovakians Spartak Trnava.

The Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg breezed through 4-0 against Macedonia's Shkendija in the last round. Their European pedigree is much more established, having reached the semi-finals of the Europa League last season, in which they came very close to reaching the final at the expense of Marseille.

Red Bull are the only side in the Bundesliga to have won all four of their league games this season and have now kept five consecutive clean sheets in all competitions. Back Salzburg to claim the away win at 2.265/4.

Dan Fitch 2018/19 Season P/L

Staked: 17.00 pts
Returned: 23.99 pts
P/L: +6.99 pts

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