Tottenham Hotspur make the short hop across the Channel to take on Lyon in the second leg of their Europa League last-32 clash and Welsh wizard Gareth Bale is once again set to lead their charge.
The last few weeks have seen Bale hit new heights for Spurs, with his recent performances leading to comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo and talk of his long-term future lying away from White Hart Lane.
Much of this speculation is thanks to him scoring all of Tottenham’s goals in their last four games, a total of six that makes him the Premier League’s fifth-highest scorer and puts him three goals ahead of team-mate Jermain Defoe.
This impressive run of form has coincided with Bale’s manager, Andre Villas-Boas, seemingly giving the 23-year-old more of a free role, enabling him to pop up all over the pitch and use his pace and formidable dribbling skills to exploit the weak links in opposition line-ups.
If the Welshman can do likewise against Lyon this evening, then Spurs should be good value for their price of 1/2 to advance to the last 16 of the competition having won the first leg 2-1 in London as a result of two sumptuous Bale free-kicks, which saw our money-back special save some bwin punters’ skins.
And considering his hot streak at present, Bale must surely be a sound bet to score again at some point this evening at 17/10, while he is 19/2 to strike twice.
Tottenham are not so well backed to win the game on the night though, as they are 9/5 outsiders at Stade Gerland, with the French side 7/5 favourites and the draw, which would see the Londoners progress, at 12/5.
Lyon, despite their favourable odds, have struggled at home recently, winning just one of their past four home games in Ligue 1, but they thumped mid-table Bordeaux 4-0 at the weekend and sit just three points behind leaders Paris Saint Germain.
The French side also have a strong scoring record at home with an average of two goals a game and they are priced at 13/5 to score twice on Thursday evening.
Unfortunately for Spurs, so far in their Europa League campaign they have failed to score more than once on their travels and bwin is offering a fairly miserly 33/20 on the English side striking more than once in France.
However, there are more encouraging stats for Tottenham: they have conceded an average of just 1.15 goals in the Premier League and are yet to concede more than once in a European match, so you can take 13/20 on Lyon scoring under 1.5 goals and be reasonably confident in your chances.
But the odds that have caught my eye are 6/5 on more goals being scored in the second half as both sides have scored considerably more in the second period of their league matches – a combined 59 compared to 30 in the first half.
And with both teams likely to play it reasonably cagey in the first half, it would be no surprise if the decisive scoring action comes after the half-time whistle and that 6/5 is big enough to tempt me in.