Birmingham (23/10) travel to Slovenia where they will face reigning champions NK Maribor (6/5) in their first away game in Europa League Group H.
After being beaten by Braga at home in their first game, the Blues will see this game as their best opportunity of points on the road.
However, Maribor will also be looking for success after losing to FC Bruges in their opening game. Darko Milanič’s men are a formidable outfit at home and so far this season they have won four, drawn one and lost one in front of their own fans. They have also beaten Rangers at the Ljudski vrt stadium.
Maribor are currently joint-top of the Prva Liga, and also have a game in hand, but their recent form has hardly been impressive. Of their last six league games, they have taken only eight points and at the weekend were held 1-1 by Gorica.
Birmingham were also held 1-1 in their previous outing, at home to Barnsley, but the same scoreline here would be a very good result for Chris Hughton’s men and is available at 19/4.
Maribor have conceded, on average, one goal per game this season at home, but they counter this by scoring nearly three per game. A bet on a scoreline the averages points to, 3-1 to Maribor, is available at 33/2. This means punters who use their free £25 bet for joining bwin on this scoreline could win £437.50 if it comes in.
That also means that a bet on over 2.5 goals being scored in the game at 23/20 definitely catches the eye.
Birmingham made six changes to their team for the home game against Braga, and more could be in store again this time out as Hughton’s focus remains on getting the Blues climbing their domestic table.
They conceded early against Braga and a disrupted backline – Steven Carr and Curtis Davies are both ruled out – could lead to a similar outcome here, with a 1-0 lead for Maribor at half-time available at 29/10.
If you fancy that bet and Maribor to see the rest of the game out then backing the Slovenians leading at half-time and full-time is a tempting 23/10.
It would be a big surprise if Birmingham were to win this game, but if you feel they can, especially with striker Nikola Zigic in line for his first start of the season, then a bet on the most likely scoreline of 1-0 to the Blues is available at 8/1.
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