Barcelona are favourites in tonight’s Champions League game with Celtic, there is no disputing that fact. Celtic are up against it both on the park and in the bookies. But is the game worth a punt?
There is no great surprise that Barcelona’s odds of 1/12, given the wealth of talent that are in their squad. Compare the players and their European record to that of their opponents from the Scottish Premier League, Celtic.
Celtic may have put to bed their away day hoodoo in the group stages of the Champions League qualifiers with their win over Spartak Moscow several weeks ago, but in reality Spartak are not a great side. They are no Barcelona.
Yes, Spartak ran Barcelona close on match day one, but the La Liga giants got over the initial hiccups in that game and duly put the Russians to the sword.
If you look at the squads on both sides, the price tags of each player and then take into consideration their records in Europe over the past few seasons, then Celtic in all honesty don’t have a hope in hell.
However, as the cliché goes, football is a funny old game and no one though that Celtic would reach the 2003 UEFA Cup Final in Sevilla as they put Boavista, Blackburn, Liverpool and Celta Vigo to the sword. The following year they knocked out Barcelona to reach the quarter finals of the same tournament before succumbing to another Spanish side, Villareal.
That team of 2003-2004 is no more, but Neil Lennon who was instrumental in those European campaigns in the heart of the Bhoys midfield now takes his place on the sidelines as he hopes to guide his charges to a result in the Nou Camp.
The Champions League is the place that Celtic want to be and where they should be every year, the players know that, the fans know that and so does the manager.
No one expects Celtic to get a result and they are a side that revel in being the underdogs. At odds of 20/1 the bookies don’t think that the Scottish champions can get a result and it’s always worth a punt.
A more realistic bet to place – other than a Barca win – is for a draw at odds of 10/1.
As for the scoreline anything can happen, but there will be goals galore. If you are going for a demolition of Celtic then odds of 10/1 for a 5-0 scoreline might be one to place some money on, while a 3-1 win for Barca comes in at 10/1.
If you are going down the route of Celtic pulling off a surprise and famous victory at the home of the Catalan giants then a 1-0 scoreline for the Bhoys comes in at odds of 40/1 or a 2-1 scoreline is up on the board at 50/1.
Lionel Messi is a shoe-in to score for Barcelona, as the first scorer he is at 7/4 and for him to score a hat trick the odds are at 3/1.
Celtic’s form player in Europe currently, Georgios Samaras is 16/1 to open the scoring, while odds of him bagging a goal and for Celtic to win comes in at 50/1. Celtic’s main goal threat Gary Hooper is 12/1 or if you are wanting an outside chance of picking up a good return on your money, why not put on a wee bet for midfielder Victor Wanyama to score at odds of 25/1.
With Messi’s pace, skill and determination, the Celtic defence could be on a hiding to nothing both in term of conceding goals and also picking up bookings. For a player from either side to pick up a red card odds of 4/1 are being offered.
I am going for a Barcelona win obviously. Lionel Messi to score the first goal and for the Catalan giants to win 3-1 on home turf. Odds of 16/1 are not a bad return.
So if you are looking to place a cheeky wee bet on tonight’s game then click on the graphic ad below. But always remember to gamble responsibly.