Having battled through the previous two rounds against extremely tough opposition in Lyon and Italian giants Inter Milan, Tottenham fans will expect their side to easily progress to the Europa League semi-finals at the expense of FC Basel – and the bookmakers appear to agree.
Bwin has Tottenham priced as 9/25 favourites to win the first leg at White Hart Lane on Thursday evening and give themselves the best possible opportunity of making the final four of Europe’s second biggest competition.
In fairness to the reigning Swiss champions, they have only conceded two goals in their last seven Europa League fixtures and produced a superb display to overturn the big-spending Russian side, Zenit, in the last round.
Basel have also won their previous three league fixtures without conceding a single goal and punters who want to back Thorsten Fink’s side to upset the odds and win at White Hart Lane can get odds of 29/4.
After losing to Liverpool and then Fulham, some pundits started to doubt Tottenham’s top-four credentials and the typical talk of the north London side ‘bottling it’ again towards the latter stages of the season started to surface.
However, a hard-fought victory against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium at the weekend reinvigorated Tottenham’s season and it is hard to see past a home victory on Thursday night.
Victories over Lyon and Inter Milan at the Lane prove how strong Andre Villas-Boas’ men are on their own patch.
In fact, they have only slipped up once at home in the entire European campaign – a 0-0 draw against Lazio in their opening fixture in the competition.
It is unlikely to be another drab stalemate on Thursday, especially with the electric Gareth Bale on the field, but bwin customers can back a draw at odds of 18/5.
Bale has notched three times in the last two home Europa League ties and without Jermain Defoe leading the line (sidelined thanks to a groin injury), AVB will be hoping Bale can continue on his formidable scoring run this evening.
The Welsh wizard has notched an incredible 27 goals in all competitions for club and country so far this season and it is hard to look past him when you eye up the goalscorer list.
He is obviously the favourite to open the scoring, but I am happy to tip Bale at great odds of 3/1 to bag the first goal of the game, which would return £80 for any new customers backing him with their free £20 bet after registering.
Typically, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are 7/4 or 2/1 to score first, so against a side that Tottenham are expected to beat, 3/1 certainly appeals.
A final tip for bwinners is to back Tottenham to be winning at half-time and full-time at evens.
The last three European fixtures at the Lane have seen AVB’s side grab a lead before the break and go on to record a victory – they should have more than enough quality to do it again.