Another European adventure begins on Tuesday night and Istanbul will provide a suitably passionate atmosphere for United to begin their charge towards the Santiago Bernabeu.
A 3-1 thumping of Spurs was a fantastic warm-up for the clash with Besiktas – Tottenham were in good form following four straight Premier League wins – and more of the same should be expected on Tuesday. The only problem is everyone else thinks that! At 1.56 (8-15), United are among the shortest of favourites playing away from home with Bayern Munich (away to Maccabi Haifa) and Real Madrid (at FC Zurich) the only two who are shorter.
In truth, the layers have it about right and for the sake of simplicity the 1.56 looks the proverbial ‘good thing’. Let’s consider the evidence…
The Reds’ opponents are not in great shape. Besiktas currently sit ninth in the Super Lig table following one win from their opening five games. This weekend they were comprehensively beaten by Galatasaray, 3-0. Their last league win was on August 17.
The Reds are in good shape. After the shock of losing at Burnley, United are in full stride with confidence-boosting victories over Arsenal and Spurs to send them into Europe on a high. Talking of good form, Wayne Rooney could not be in better nick, with five goals he sits alongside Jermain Defoe as the Premier League’s top scorer. United are nearly at full strength. Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand are reunited at the back and only Edwin van der Saar’s thumb injury is keeping a guaranteed first-teamer out.
Put all that together and three points for United looks likely but what other betting options are available?
If you see United’s dominance being translated into a big win then the Asian Handicap market could be for you. In this market a goal handicap is applied so United would have to win by a two goal margin for the bet to pay (a one goal win would result in the stake being returned, while a draw or defeat would mean a losing bet).
Alternatively a Betfair Multiple is another way of having a bet when there are so many teams trading at short prices. Rolling together United and those other well-fancied teams – Real Madrid and Bayern Munich – into one bet pays out at around 2-1. Not a bad way to kick off the Champions League huh?