On the Rizk Radar: Champions League Qualifiers
Showing up on the Rizk Radar this week, qualifier action from the Champions League and Europa League as teams across Europe tackle the 2nd-legs of their second round ties. Elsewhere, the small matter of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational as the golfing world descends on Ohio, and if that’s not enough, we have ATP Tennis from Washington DC, all week.
Champions League Qualifiers
HJK Helsinki (0) vs (0) BATE Borisov – A 0-0 scoreline in the first leg of this Champions League Qualifier was an excellent result for HJK (2.75) given that they were as high as 7.00’s to win at kick-off. The Finnish side is in great form and is averaging almost two goals a game in the league where they currently sit top after 21 games.
BATE (2.60) still hold the advantage, though, as one away goal could be enough to send them through to the third round. The Belarusians managed to negate the threat of HJK’s forwards with relative ease last time out. Kukesi of Albania or Qarabag of Azerbaijan awaits the winner of this one.
Malmo (1) vs (0) CFR Cluj – Carlos Strandberg scored the only goal of the game in the first-leg to give Malmo (1.98) the advantage going into Wednesday night’s qualifier. The U21 international has netted three times in the tournament already and is building up quite the reputation back in his native Sweden.
Despite going down in the first-leg, Cluj (3.70) did pick up their first piece of silverware at the weekend, defeating Universitatea Craiova to lift the Supercupa României. For the victors of this one, a meeting with either Ludogorets or Hungarian outfit, MOL Vidi is on the cards for the third round of the Champions League Qualifiers.
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Europa League Qualifiers
AIK Stockholm (0) vs (1) Nordsjaelland – A tough one to call here as Norsjaelland (4.80) travel to Sweden on Thursday evening for their 2nd-leg Europa League qualifier against AIK Stockholm (1.60). The Danish side didn’t waste any time in the first-leg, netting the only goal of the game inside the first fifteen minutes, and keeping AIK’s attack at bay for large parts of the game.
The Swedish outfit will be looking for a much more clinical performance in front of goal this time around. For all the possession they enjoyed last time out, they only managed three attempts on the home side’s goal. AIK are favourites on the night, but if you think they can get the job done and overcome the one-goal deficit, it may be worth looking at the ‘To Qualify’ market for a bit more value (2.20).
Mariupol (1) vs (1) Djurgarden – An injury-time equaliser spared Djurgarden (2.05) the embarrassment of losing to Europa League new boys, Mariupol (3.40), in last Thursday’s Europa League qualifier. The sprightly Ukrainian side took the lead late in the first half and managed to keep the Swedish outfit quiet for large parts of the second half. The pressure would tell in the end, however, and Djurgarden’s ‘kitchen sink’ approach at the death paid dividends.
Mariupol will be pleased with their efforts in the first leg, and a home tie with a crucial away goal will be all the motivation they need. The odds say Djurgarden will get the job done inside the 90 minutes, but don’t expect a walk in the park. Should be a decent game!
WGC Bridgestone Invitational
Top-flight golfing action continues from August 2nd to 5th as we look towards the WGC Bridgestone Invitational. The Firestone Country Club (Akron, Ohio) will be hosting its 20th edition of this prestigious event – a course that Tiger Woods (15.00) has won on an astonishing eight times. Tiger finished T6 at this year’s British Open, a decent result by his current standards, and one that will boost his confidence going into the tournament.
Expect all the usual names and faces going into this one. ‘DJ’ Dustin Johnson (7.50) heads the betting after claiming the top spot in this event back in 2016 and winning last week’s Canadian Open. Hideki Matsuyama (51.00) scored an unbelievable 61 in the final round this time last year to take home the top prize. Former champions Rory McIlroy (12.00) and Adam Scott (67.00) both in attendance too.
Citi Open, Washington, DC.
This week’s Tennis action comes from the U.S. Capital with the tournament running from July 30th to August 5th. Andy Murray makes his return after withdrawing from Wimbledon at the beginning of July. The Scot will be looking to put an injury-stricken season behind him as he goes in search of his first title of the calendar.
With Federer and Nadal opting to skip this event, opportunities for the likes of John Isner, Kyle Edmunds and Nick Kyrgios are aplenty. Alexander Zverev is the top seed for this one and will be keen to chalk up another win after taking down the Madrid and Munich masters earlier on in the season.
These are the biggest blips on the Rizk Radar for the week ahead. For all things sports betting, head on over to Rizk Sportsbook.