A combination of Manchester United’s surprisingly indifferent recent European home form and their lack of real attacking fluency as yet under David Moyes means visiting Bayer Leverkusen are fancied to deliver for their +1 handicap backers at 11/10.
The Red Devils are 67/100 to kick off their Champions League campaign with a home win, while the Germans are 4/1 for three points and it’s 27/10 that honours are even when the final whistle is blown.
Old Trafford has not been the happiest of hunting grounds for United over the past two European campaigns, yielding only three wins from nine attempts in front of their own fans.
With the exception of an opening day victory over Swansea they’ve not yet offered persuasive evidence they boast the attacking coherence to consign that recent European mediocrity to the dustbin under Moyes.
This was an impression enhanced by the fact that they only managed one goal in a half of football at home to ten-man Crystal Palace last time out.
Although Bundesliga bronze medallists Bayer were no massive shakes in the Europa League last term, the fact that they finished the season above Schalke (who beat Arsenal at the Emirates on the way to the Champions League knockout stages) suggests they’re a team to be reckoned with.
Their exciting front three of Sidney Sam, Son Heung-Min and last season’s top goalscorer in German football Stefan Kiessling suggest that a United defence which kept just one clean sheet in Europe last term should be given an almighty test.
Managed by one-time Liverpool stalwart Sami Hyypia, Leverkusen will relish attempts to get about the hosts on the counter attack, particularly on the right where Fabio da Silva may deputise in place of his far more experienced brother Rafael.
Kiessling and Sam have both helped themselves to four goals in the league already this season and rate lively first goalscorer propositions at 7/1 and 10/1 respectively, especially given bwin will pay out at double the odds if the first scorer then scores again and treble the price if he nets a hat-trick.
As a result the former rates a particularly attractive punt to land the opener having notched a double last time out against Wolfsburg.