The New Saints [3.9] v Videoton [2.08]; The Draw [3.6]Tuesday, 19:00
Live on S4C
If it was an insult for The New Saints to be demoted into slumming it with the minnows of Andorra, San Marino and the Faroe Islands in the first qualifying round, it is one that could ultimately work to their advantage.
While they enter this double header with two victories and six goals against B36 Torshavn to their name, their Hungarian adversaries’ sole competitive outing since May was a 3-0 Super Cup beating courtesy of Ferencvaros.
Similarly, though the second qualifying round proved to be The New Saints’ ceiling in recent seasons, they have experience of smashing through it from 2010/11 and have been involved in the process frequently.
Videoton have participated once before, in 2011/12, and made an immediate exit. They have been defeated in eight of their 11 trips abroad in the past decade, winning one, which is enough encouragement to persuade this column to oppose them.
Recommended Bet: Lay Videoton to win @ [2.1]
BATE Borisov [1.42] v Dundalk [8.4]; The Draw [5.3]Wednesday, 18:30
BATE Borisov are not the rising European force of a few years ago, with their Champions League qualifying flop against Shakhter Karagandy in 2013/14 followed by group-stage humiliation last term, including 5-0 and 6-0 losses at Shakhtar and Porto and a 7-0 thrashing at home to the Ukrainians.
With Dundalk unbeaten away in ten months and, even more impressively, winning two out of two on their continental travels in 2014/15 against Jeunesse Esch and Hajduk Split – the same summer in which BATE were being held when hosting Albania’s Skenderbeu – the Belarusians appear overrated.
Recommended Bet: Lay BATE Borisov to win @ [1.43]
Celtic [1.11] v Stjarnan [32.0]; The Draw [14.0]Wednesday, 19:45
Stjarnan revelled in British misery in the Europa League qualifiers last season, eliminating Bangor and Motherwell and scoring 13 times in doing so. Things slowed down after that electric start though and they struck just once in their final four fixtures, being thumped 9-0 on aggregate by Inter.
Celtic entered the Champions League at this juncture in both of the past two campaigns and there was a recurring theme across the four games as they won the lot without giving up a single goal.
Two of those – including a 4-0 Celtic Park triumph – were achieved last summer against KR Reykjavik, who sit eight points above Stjarnan in the Icelandic Urvalsdeild 11 games into the 2015 edition.
Recommended Bet: Back Celtic to win to nil @ [1.67]