West Ham [1.07] v Birkirkara [70.0]; The Draw [16.5]Thursday, 19:45
It is never quite as simple as X + Y = Z in European football, but the fact that the FC Lusitans team that West Ham only beat 4-0 on aggregate were thrashed 9-0 by Valletta in 2012 hints that Maltese opposition represent a reasonable step up in class for Slaven Bilic’s side.
With the Irons failing to score more than three in either leg against the Andorrans and now being without Diafra Sakho, who grabbed half of their goals in that double header, due to suspension, that is likely to be their limit once again.
You can even account for the prospect of how-on-earth-did-he-end-up-there former Italy international Fabrizio Miccoli netting a consolation for the visitors by backing under 4.5 goals and still find odds of [1.66].
Back under 4.5 goals @ [1.66]
Rijeka [1.47] v Aberdeen [8.2]; The Draw [4.9]Thursday, 20:00
Live on Premier Sports
Aberdeen have shown over the past 13 months that they should be taken seriously in Europe, progressing through three of their four ties. However, this is an unfortunate draw against a club that reached the group stage in both 2013/14 and 2014/15.
Rijeka’s home record in those two campaigns was spectacular, with eight of their 12 foreign guests being defeated and the other four being held. They conquered the likes of Stuttgart, Feyenoord and Standard Liege and drew with Lyon and winners Sevilla, who they came agonisingly close to beating.
The Croatians shut out five of their most recent seven visitors in the competition and are on a run of five successive clean sheets as hosts in domestic action, so another has to be fancied, especially as Aberdeen fired just once in their double header with the less accomplished Shkendija.
Back Rijeka to keep a clean sheet @ [2.02]
Shamrock Rovers [3.1] v Odd [2.48]; The Draw [3.4]Thursday, 20:00
There are 14 places between Norway and Republic of Ireland in UEFA’s coefficient rankings, yet that gap is bridged somewhat by the contrast in the continental experience of these sides. This is Odd’s first venture in 11 years and third ever, whereas it is Shamrock Rovers’ fourth this decade alone.
They performed almost identically in the first qualifying round, delivering 3-0 on aggregate courtesy of a 3-0 victory and 0-0 draw, but their domestic results against clubs of more comparable quality indicate that clean sheets will be off the agenda in Dublin.
Both teams scored in all of Shamrock Rovers’ previous five all-Irish encounters and five of Odd’s latest seven Eliteserien fixtures.
Back both teams to score @ [1.88]