Don't expect Maccabi Tel Aviv to score, Shakhtar to be shut out, or pre-break Monaco goals on Wednesday night, says Michael Lintorn...
"The half-time 0-0 has landed in three of Monaco’s four competitive matches since restarting, including both clashes with Young Boys despite the 3-1 and 4-0 final scores."
Recommended Bet: Back the half-time score to be 0-0 in Valencia v Monaco @ 2.77/4
FC Basel 1.564/7 v Maccabi Tel Aviv 7.26/1; The Draw 4.47/2
Live on BT Sport Extra 4
Maccabi Tel Aviv will have been forgiven for muttering "not them again" upon discovering that their reward for ousting two-time group-stage participants Viktoria Plzen was a reunion with Swiss perma-champions FC Basel.
The pair met four times in 2013/14 without the Israeli side recording a single victory, being eliminated from both the Champions League (third qualifying round) and Europa League (round-of-32).
FC Basel kept three clean sheets in those encounters, winning both home games to nil, and a repeat is likely on the evidence presented so far this term.
The hosts have brushed off Paulo Sousa's defection to Fiorentina to triumph in their first eight fixtures of 2015/16 under Urs Fischer and their sole concession in four St Jakob-Park outings was a penalty, with Lech Poznan in the last round being one of the teams shut out.
Recommended Bet: Back FC Basel to win to nil @ 2.56/4
Rapid Vienna 3.259/4 v Shakhtar 2.447/5; The Draw 3.45
Live on BT Sport Extra 3
A decade on from their previous Champions League group-stage appearance, Rapid Vienna made their unwillingness to wait any longer clear by disposing of former winners Ajax in the third qualifying round.
It doesn't get any easier though as they face another club that have been part of the "competition proper" in each of the last five seasons in Shakhtar. This writer misguidedly assumed that political issues and player departures had pushed them past their peak, only for a 3-0 swatting of Fenerbahce to rubbish that theory.
Rapid Vienna's success against Ajax came accompanied by a lorry load of goals, with the first leg ending 2-2 and the second 3-2, and their domestic schedule has been tackled with similar abandon. The result is that their past six matches went down without a single clean sheet being kept. Indeed, there were just two occasions in which either they or their opponents limited the leaks to one goal.
Recommended Bet: Back both teams to score @ 1.794/5
Valencia 1.834/5 v Monaco 5.49/2; The Draw 3.65
Live on BT Sport Extra 2
This is a tricky one to call. Most metrics favour Valencia, including their home record against French foes (P9 W8 D0 L1), Monaco's road results in Spain (P8 W1 D1 L6) and Los Che's exemplary Mestalla figures in 2014/15, winning ten and drawing two of their 12 league games from December onwards.
However, it is impossible to overlook how impressive Monaco were in reaching the quarter-finals last season, schooling Leverkusen and Zenit in their group, knocking out Arsenal and being edged by a single goal against eventual finalists Juventus. They have opened 2015/16 promisingly too, taking four points from six in Ligue 1 and thumping Young Boys 7-1 on aggregate in the last round.
So instead of betting on the outcome, back the half-time 0-0, a bet that has landed in three of Monaco's four competitive matches since restarting, including both clashes with Young Boys despite the 3-1 and 4-0 final scores.
Recommended Bet: Back the half-time score to be 0-0 @ 2.77/4