The biggest team in Greece’s second city play their football at the Toumba Stadium which derives its name from the ancient word for tomb, and while Tottenham’s hopes in this competition might not die with a defeat on Thursday night, they could well be dented by the Greeks.
As with many stadia in this part of the world, the Toumba is strongly associated with the words cauldron, raucous, riotous and noise. It is therefore no surprise to learn PAOK have a strong European record at home, and in last year’s Europa League they were unbeaten there in the group stages, defeating the likes of Villarreal and Dinamo Zagreb without conceding a goal.
The 3/2 offered for the team from Salonika to win is therefore definitely worth a bet based on their home form alone.
It becomes an even more attractive prospect when you consider that Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp considers this competition far from a priority; so much so, that he has failed to include his first choice goalkeeper (Brad Friedel) or his most naturally gifted forward (Rafael Van der Vaart) in his Europa League squad.
As such, odds on a Spurs victory of 11/5 and 9/5 for a draw in bwin’s 3Way football betting market should probably be avoided.
If you are feeling bold, then take the 21/10 offered for PAOK to be leading at half time.
Portuguese winger Vierinha and experienced striker Dimitris Salpigidis (both available at 5/2 to score at any time) offer a real threat going forward and an early goal will get the 28,000 crowd really rocking and the flares firing.
It will not be an atmosphere that the Spurs players will be used to, particularly some of the less experience members of the squad who are likely to be given a run-out.
In the correct score market it is worth remembering the tight, defensive nature of PAOK and Greek teams on the whole.
If Salpigidis or Vierinha do strike early, Salonika will look to defend their lead rather than try and kill the game with another goal. Therefore have a look at the 7/1 offered for a 1-0 home win.
A successful £25 free bet on a 1-0 PAOK victory would return £200 at these odds.
The free bet is available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account.
It would be foolish to dismiss Spurs entirely though and if they can survive the hostile reception and silence the vociferous crowd then they do have enough quality to nick a victory.
The draw at half time followed by a Spurs victory is a 23/4 shot, and is well worth your spare change if you are looking for some value in backing an away win.
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