Olympiakos v Spurs: Europe Calling
2019 Champions League finalists Tottenham Hotspur begin their new campaign with a trip to Greece on Wednesday. Standing in the way of an opening win are Olympiakos Piraeus who qualify as the second placed team in Greece’s Super League One.
We’ve run into this side before, as we’ll see when we come to the head to head section, but can we carry the momentum from Saturday’s win into this European Tie?
There aren’t too many changes to the team news that was declared prior to the Crystal Palace game. Juan Foyth, Kyle Walker-Peters and Giovani Lo Celso appear to the only longer-term absentees while there is a doubt over Davinson Sanchez who has a minor injury issue.
There is the potential to include Ryan Sessegnon for the first time this season but the former Fulham man would surely only be an option for the bench at best. Spurs have no suspensions for this game so there will be few, if any, changes to the starting XI from Saturday.
Tottenham start as comfortable favourites to win on the night and Mauricio Pochettino’s men can be picked up at best industry odds of 10/11 with BetFred and Black Type. The draw is the next option on the list at a top price of 13/5 with SportingBet while a win for Olympiakos is on offer at 7/2 with Unibet and 888Sport.
Spurs are away from home and we may get comments about the state of the pitch but those figures represent the gap in quality between the Greek League One and the EPL. Spurs should convert but who are the men most likely to justify that market?
Other Side Bets
Harry Kane drew a blank in that 4-0 victory but Tottenham’s main striker remains favourite to open the scoring in the Karaiskakis Stadium. Kane can be picked up at 3/1 with Unibet and SportingBet while Son Heung-Min and Lucas Moura are both available at 5/1 with William Hill and Betway.
Olympiakos are actually represented fairly early on in this market as Spanish striker Miguel Angel Guerrero is available at best industry odds of 8/1 with 888Sport and Unibet. The former Sporting Gijon and Leganes striker has nine goals in 26 matches for his current employers and is the man to watch as far as the bookies are concerned.
Behind Guerrero, Spurs come back into the picture via Erik Lamela who was on target at the weekend. Lamela is also available at 8/1 – this time with BetFred – while Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli are both quoted at 9/1 with BetFred and SportingBet.
Olympiakos come into this game on the back of five straight wins so, at the very least, we should be considering a punt in the Both Teams to Score betting. This bet is on offer at 3/4 with Ladbrokes and Unibet and the Greek side will certainly fancy their chances of troubling Hugo Lloris in goal.
As for total goals betting, you can go over the relatively safe 2.5 mark at 10/11 with Coral and Sport Pesa while over 3.5 looks a strong option and this is available at 5/2 with 888Sport and Unibet.
We always like to look at a correct score bet and for those who are expecting a comfortable evening, a 3-1 away win may look to be a tempting option. This is on offer at 14/1 with Black Type and Royal Panda but you could push this to a 4-1 scoreline in favour of Spurs which is available at a mighty 33/1 with Coral and William Hill.
We’ve mentioned the Spanish striker Miguel Angel Guerrero and Spurs will have surely done their homework on him. His record was modest in Spain but Guerrero does look to be Olympiakos’ most likely source of goals.
Elsewhere, football fans in the UK should be familiar with the name of Mathieu Valbuena. The diminutive midfielder made 52 appearances for the French national side and it’s also worth noting that the former Lyon and Marseille man has scored twice in his opening two games for Olympiakos.
Head to Head
This author was present when Spurs and Olympiakos first met. The date was October 25th 1972 and it was my first European night at White Hart Lane. There was clearly something different about those nights and a 4-0 win over 90 minutes certainly helped.
This was the 1972/73 UEFA Cup campaign and although we lost 1-0 in the return, it was a comfortable progression over two legs. To date, the clubs have avoided each other both in the Europa League and Champions League so that small head to head record has remained at one win apiece for nearly 47 years.
Tottenham looked to be a completely different side in Europe for the second half of last season. The group stages of the previous campaign had also produced some spectacular results against Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund and we hope the pattern will continue.
Of course we should win it: Olympiakos are on a strong unbeaten run but the comparative strengths of the two squads should see that tally come to an end. We mentioned that Spurs may field the same starting XI from Saturday but we suspect that the manager will find a place for Lucas Moura. At odds of 43/20 for an anytime goal, Lucas looks a decent prospect but for our remaining tips to land, we need Olympiakos to find their scoring boots too.
Remember, this is an early 5.55pm kick off on Wednesday so don’t forget to tune in if you’re not travelling and hopefully, these three suggestions will lead to a profitable 90 minutes.
- Lucas Moura to score anytime at 43/20 with Unibet
- Over 3.5 goals at 5/2 with 888Sport
- Both Teams to Score at 3/4 with Ladbrokes