Rapid Vienna V Rangers
Get ready for our next installment of Europa League betting tips. It’s the final round of group matches in this season’s Europa League and there’s still all to play for across most divisions. That’s certainly true in Group G where just two points separates top from bottom in a pool that has gone right down to the wire. Rapid Vienna suffered a miserable start and were shaping like a side who would finish bottom of the pile; however, they have answered their critics, blasting their way into contention by taking four points from the last six available. They go into the night sitting second, level with leaders Villarreal and one ahead of opponents Rangers who sit in third.
Few gave the hosts a chance against a capable Spartak Moscow side who appeared to be finding their feet in the competition after taking a draw at Ibrox before beating Rangers 4-3 in a thriller on Russian soil; however, Vienna upset the formbook to hand out an eye-catching 2-1 defeat in Moscow. They moved from outsiders to genuine contenders. Win in front of their own fans on Thursday and they will be playing knockout football in the new year. The Europa League has been accused of being boring; followers of this race would argue bitterly against that.
Time to shine
Rangers head to Vienna knowing only a win will do if they want to go through to the next round. Having said that, they travel with confidence onside. They have suffered one defeat in this competition despite coming through a host of qualifiers against decent opposition and being dropped into a tight group. Many Rangers fans were happy just to be involved in European football again; however, Steven Gerrard and his troops dreamed of more and have made a real push for a top-two finish. Win here and they will get it, possibly as champions.
The reason The Gers board their plane in high spirits is they had no trouble beating Vienna in Glasgow earlier in this format; the club strolled to a 3-1 win on a memorable night at Ibrox. Everyone in blue would love a repeat performance but this promises to be a more competitive affair with the locals coming onto their game and looking for revenge. There’s no doubt Rangers have the quality to win this match and they’ve already scored eight goals. However, conceding seven is where the problems lie for Gerrard and the defence will be vital to any success achieved here.
Go for the bigger price
Bookies have Rapid Vienna as favourites for the points here and that’s no major shock to anyone with an interest in football at this level. In the Europa League traders often put their trust in the home win and that makes sense, given the travelling involved. Vienna are a talented side who deserve their place at the head of the market, but after losing so comfortably in Glasgow we couldn’t back them at as tight as 11/8 (Bet365). There’s no value in it.
This is a 50/50 shoot-out for a place in the next round and we expect both managers to have a go at winning the points. We’ve seen from trips to Villarreal and Moscow that Gerrard has no problems going on the attack away from home. Rangers line-up at 2/1 with Bet365, the draw priced 12/5 when betting with Ladbrokes. We’ll keep our stakes low and go for a chunky pay-out. Both teams to score in a Rangers win is 9/2 (Bet365) and that would’ve been paid out the last time these rivals met. Let’s hope for more of the same.
Follow the stats
Lovers of the stats will follow our bet with confidence. This will be the fourth time these sides have met in recorded competitive action and Rangers carry a stunning 3-0-0 record. The teams first clashed in the European Cup when The Bears battled to a 1-0, before claiming a 2-0 in the reverse leg in Vienna. That was followed by the 3-1 earlier this year; although the teams aren’t regular opponents, there’s something solid to go on there.
The Scots claimed a battling point in Villarreal on match day one but were beaten 4-3 by Moscow in their only other away game. The latter was a real disappointment as at least two of the goals conceded that night were avoidable; then, Morelos had a good goal disallowed for a wrongful off-side decision from the linesman. Vienna drew at home with Villarreal but did beat Moscow 2-0 in September.
Celtic V Salzburg
The second of our Europa League betting tips is Celtic V Salzburg. The other Scottish side fighting for their future in the competition sees Celtic welcome Red Bull Salzburg to Parkhead in a match where victory will send them through. Could both halves of the Old Firm be playing knockout football in the new year? That would certainly go some way to boosting the stock of the game north of the border and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t happen. The Bhoys start second in Group B on nine points, six behind opponents and leaders Salzburg; they are three ahead of main rivals RB Leipzig who play bottom club Rosenborg.
An interesting side note to this story is that if both Red Bull sponsored teams win, they will progress; that shouldn’t be taken lightly, although Salzburg are through whatever the result on the night. Celtic struggled for points in the early exchanges of this campaign and followed a win over Rosenborg with defeats to Salzburg and Leipzig away from home. They rescued their campaign by taking six points from six to go second and know a draw will be enough here.
Salzburg aim to finish on a high
A draw may be enough for Celtic, but to get it they must match a Salzburg side sitting top of the group with a 100% record in five starts. They have made light work of this tournament so far, proving to be head and shoulders above the competition and were weighed in as champions with time to spare. They scored 15 goals and conceded just five and no side has got anywhere near beating them so far. Will Celtic be the first? It’s possible with the visitors having nothing to play for.
The away side finished November with a 1-0 win over RB Leipzig in what was always going to be a tight match. Some suggested Salzburg would roll over and gift their opponents the points, due to the Red Bull connection; but it wasn’t likely on a night where the victors maintained their fine form. No favours asked or given there, but Salzburg could still help Leipzig by winning in Glasgow and handing them an advantage. This promises to be a fascinating 90 minutes.
Grab the value
We can’t believe bookmakers have gone with Celtic to win this match. Salzburg are away from home and have nothing to play for, but let’s not forget they haven’t dropped a point so far and will want to maintain their record, sending out a clear message to the competition. Celtic start at 13/10 with Unibet and that’s not for us.
Our stake money goes on the stunning 23/10 (William Hill) for an away win and for your cash you’ll be getting a talented side with a big price attached. The draw is 12/5 outsider, but we are happy with what we’ve got on Salzburg to leave Glasgow with all three points, putting the pressure on their hosts.