Two in-form teams meet at Benfica’s Stadium of Light tomorrow evening, although it is away side Manchester United who are short-favourites in bwin’s 3Way football betting market to pick up all three points.
Odds of 4/5 point to a victory for the Red Devils, with a Benfica win at 63/20 and a draw at 53/20.
However, expectations that Sir Alex Ferguson will rotate his squad, coupled with Benfica’s strong home record, means Man Utd are unlikely to steamroller past their opponents in the same way as they have in the Premier League so far this season.
With this in mind, the best bet could be on Benfica managing to restrict the winning margin to a single goal.
As such, punters could choose to back a draw in the handicap market where Benfica are given a one-goal advantage.
This bet is available at odds of 14/5, meaning a successful £25 free bet on the outcome would return £95.
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Manchester United go into the game from a position of strength having won all four of their Premier League fixtures to date.
They will be further boosted by the knowledge that they kept a clean sheet in all of their Champions League away ties last season, with the only goals they let in coming at home and in the final against Barcelona at Wembley.
However, United will be without their first-choice centre-back pairing of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand tomorrow, with Vidic out injured and Ferdinand being rested with the weekend’s Premier League fixture against Chelsea in mind.
With Benfica having scored at least twice in all of their home games so far this season, they look good bets to bag at least one goal against United at odds of 12/25.
United are also likely to call on fringe players in attacking positions, with Antonio Valencia, Ryan Giggs, Park Ji-sung, Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen likely to play more significant roles than they have done so far this season.
The big question, of course, will be whether in-form England star Wayne Rooney takes to the pitch.
The striker has scored eight goals in United’s first four league games – including hat tricks in his last two outings – and is priced at 10/1 to grab at least three goals for the third successive game.
But even without Rooney, the Red Devils should have enough attacking talent at their disposal to see off a side who finished 21 points off champions Porto last season – just don’t expect another 8-2 or 5-0 scoreline.
As such, odds of 31/20 on Manchester United to win and for there to be fewer than 3.5 goals look attractive.
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