It is a curious fact that in all the previous meetings between Celtic and Benfica over the years the away side has never picked up a single point. In fact, more interestingly than that, the away team has never even scored a single goal.
In six previous meetings the matches have always ended with a win to nil for the home team.
In the 2007 Champions League, Celtic won 1-0 at Celtic Park thanks to an Aiden McGeady strike but went down by the same scoreline in Lisbon following a late goal by Oscar Cardozo.
|Bayern Munich win||£35.60||(39/50)|
Long-serving Cardozo is still with Benfica and is 7/5 to score at any time at Celtic Park on Wednesday.
One year previously the sides had also met in the group stages, with Celtic triumphing 3-0 in Glasgow but suffering a 3-0 reverse in the Stadium of Light.
And in the 1969 European Cup the two teams met in the second round with Celtic progressing at the toss of a coin following 3-0 home wins in each leg.
With Benfica visiting Celtic Park on Wednesday, the Hoops will be hoping that this trend continues for one more game.
Bwin are offering odds of 14/5 on Jorge Jesus’ side failing to score in the Group G opener, while Celtic are 9/2 to win to nil.
New customers who sign up with bwin qualify for a free £20 bet and using that to back a Celtic clean sheet at 14/5 will return £76 if successful.
Despite this historical anomaly, you will only get odds of 11/50 on the Portuguese breaking the fixture’s away-day duck by finding the net in the 90 minutes, showing that the bookies don’t have much faith in Celtic’s defence holding firm.
This is based primarily on their defensive frailties in the SPL rather than in Europe. In four Champions League Qualifying matches Neil Lennon’s side have kept three clean sheets and conceded only one goal, but they haven’t achieved a domestic shut out since the opening day of the season against Aberdeen – five games ago.
If you share the bookmaker’s scepticism about the Celtic rearguard you might fancy odds of 11/10 on the visitors scoring more than 1.5 goals in the game or, if you really fancy an outside punt, odds of 15/4 on Benfica scoring three or more.
Celtic have scored in every single game this season and are 12/25 to score in this one, while top scorer Kris Commons, who has scored in five of his team’s eight games this season, is 11/4 to score at any time and 10/1 to score first.
In the 3-way betting market Benfica are the favourites, priced at evens to win the match, while Celtic are out at 13/5 and the draw is 12/5.
If Celtic are to have any chance of qualifying out of a tough group then a win here seems like a must – they are 5/1 fourth-favourites to qualify for the last 16, compared to their opponents on Wednesday who are 11/20 to go through.
Recommended bet: Celtic to keep a clean sheet @ 14/5
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