While the Europa League qualification rounds often throw up one-sided encounters, Hearts’ clash with Paksi SE looks anything but.
Although Hearts are narrow favourites to win the two sides’ first-leg, third-round qualification tie with odds of 29/20, home side Paks’ price of 33/20 suggests they are also in with a good chance of earning an advantage ahead of the return fixture in Scotland.
Paks are making their first appearance in the Europa League after finishing second in last season’s NBI Liga.
They have already racked up three wins and a draw in the competition having joined in the first qualification round, scoring nine goals in the process.
Hearts, meanwhile, secured their place in Europe with a third-place finish in the 2010-11 SPL.
As such, they received a bye to the Europa League third-round, so they will be making their first appearance in the 2010-11 competition this evening.
That said, Jim Jefferies’ men have a good deal more experience in continental competition than their opponents this evening, having played 58 games on the European stage to date.
However, the fact that Hearts’ last campaign in the Europa League ended at the play-off stage suggests this will not be too much of a factor in the tie.
What could be more significant is the two sides’ form going into the encounter.
Hearts might have had a patchy pre-season but they secured a 1-1 draw with Rangers at Ibrox in the opening weekend of the SPL.
Meanwhile, Paksi appear to be having problems in defence having conceded six goals in their two NBI Liga games so far.
With this in mind, Hearts look like good bets to score at odds of 17/50.
A successful £25 free bet on Hearts to score, available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account, would return £33.25.
As for the result, a 2-2 draw, which is priced at attractive odds of 25/2, could pay dividends given how well matched the two sides appear to be.
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