Celtic v Malmo FF: The stats promise there will be a first-leg winner

Stuart Armstrong scored twice for Celtic in their weekend clash with Inverness CT
Stuart Armstrong scored twice for Celtic in their weekend clash with Inverness CT

As always in Malmo's Champions League games, opposing both teams to score is the best approach, explains Michael Lintorn...

"Both Teams To Score? No has landed in ten of Malmo FF's past 11 Champions League games and 21 of their last 24 fixtures across all UEFA tournaments."

Back both teams to score? No @ 1.9520/21

Celtic 1.695/7 v Malmo FF 6.05/1; The Draw 4.03/1
Wednesday, 19:45
Live on BT Sport Europe


Celtic

This is the fourth season in a row in which Celtic have made it into the play-off round and, though the memory of last year's flop to Maribor is freshest, they got through on the other two occasions, doing so at the expense of the Swedish champions (Helsingborgs) in 2012/13.

The Bhoys aren't yet in their usual position atop the Scottish Premiership having failed to replicate Hearts and Aberdeen's flawless starts, owing to a 2-2 draw at bottom club Kilmarnock in which they conceded a late penalty, but they won their other three domestic fixtures by two-goal margins.

Saturday's performance against Inverness CT was arguably the most accomplished to date as they led the Scottish Cup winners 4-0 before taking off Mikael Lustig, Scott Brown and Stuart Armstrong with this contest in mind and being guilty of a few lapses.


Malmo FF

After being weeded out in the qualifiers in 2005/06 and 2011/12, Malmo FF finally reached the group stage last term. They weren't as competitive as the Celtic class of 2012/13 sadly, losing five of their six games, yet a victory over Olympiakos gave them something to celebrate.

Like Celtic, the Allsvenskan title holders have already survived two rounds in their attempt to experience it all again, squeaking past Zalgiris Vilnius 1-0 and then rallying back from a 2-0 first-leg disadvantage to overcome Red Bull Salzburg 3-2 on aggregate.

Domestically, they are 20 matches into their championship defence and, while their position of fifth is some distance below par, they are a mere four points off the top and are unbeaten in six league encounters.


Match Odds

Celtic probably warrant their favouritism, but 1.695/7 is a little short for this punter's liking against pretty capable opponents who pulled off a huge result in their previous Champions League outing.

One thing that the stats do suggest is that this won't be a draw. The Bhoys have gone 14 home Champions League clashes without sharing spoils, winning ten - one being awarded to them - and losing four and Malmo FF's last ten trips abroad in the competition paint a similar picture (W3 L7).


Both Teams to Score

If you've had the misfortune of reading any of my other previews, you'll be tired of hearing this, but I won't stop humming the tune until it ceases to be profitable: Malmo FF and "Both Teams to Score? No" are the ultimate Champions League power couple.

The bet has landed in ten of their past 11 Champions League games and 21 of their last 24 fixtures across all UEFA tournaments.

It doesn't matter if they are facing the continent's elite, a side beneath them or adversaries of a similar stature, it always ends up with at least one of the participants delivering a clean sheet.

The aforementioned recent double header with Red Bull Salzburg was the perfect illustration of the insanity: the teams were well matched, the tie was topsy turvy and there was a massive comeback involved, yet somehow the trend overpowered all of that to produce wins to nil in both legs.


Over/Under 2.5 Goals

The projection that there will be at least one zero on the scoresheet renders under 2.5 goals a natural wager to complement it. Both clubs have played four Champions League matches so far in 2015/16 and have seen two goals or fewer netted in three apiece.


Recommended Bets:

Back both teams to score? No @ 1.9520/21
Back under 2.5 goals @ 1.9520/21

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