Free Champions League betting tips: Preview of Wednesday's Manchester United, Chelsea & Celtic games

Aleksandr Golovin (r): Tough-tackling midfielder

Andy Schooler previews Wednesday's Champions League games with a 4/1 bet in the cards markets his top selection.

CSKA Moscow v Manchester United (1945 BST, BT Sport 3)

Jose Mourinho has described the current CSKA team as the best he’s come up against over the years.

There may well be some mind games at work there but then again this is a side which won 2-1 at Benfica on matchday one, a result that warrants respect.

Avoiding defeat here would put them in a position of real strength in the group and, as was the case in Lisbon, they can be expected to­ defend deep and try to hit United on the break.

With Paul Pogba joined on the sidelines by Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick, the midfield could be an area they look to captialise on, although expect United to go with Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera who are both capable of thwarting the pacy, go-to man Vitinho (9/1 first scorer; 3/1 any time) as he looks to counter.

In addition, United have Phil Jones and Eric Bailly back in defence for this one after they missed the opening-round stroll against Basel.

This will be a much sterner test and we could well learn plenty about United here. Remember seeing off teams prepared to defend in numbers was a problem for them last season but Romelu Lukaku’s presence has immediately made a difference this term, while both Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are looking more lively.

I’d probably side with United to claim a narrow win in this one but the bet I like is a disciplinary one and concerns the hosts’ Aleksandr Golovin.

The Russian international is a skilful but tough-tackling midfielder and he could well have plenty of work to do on the defensive side of the ball here as his side sit back and invite United on.

He’s already been booked four times in 10 Russian league games this season and is in the division’s top 15 players when it comes to fouls made.

Golovin was also carded away to Benfica a fortnight ago so I’m surprised to see him offered at 4/1 (bet365) to pick up a booking against United.

The referee, Swede Jonas Erikson, is no wallflower when I comes to flashing the cards either, so no concerns on that front. He’s made four or more bookings in eight of his 15 Swedish league matches in the current campaign, while a look at his European games last season shows he carded five or more players in three of his five matches in charge.

Aged just 21, Golovin has been linked with several Premier League big guns in recent times and will likely see this as a chance to put himself in the shop window.

He looks sure to be eager and that could be profitable for those prepared to back this bet.

Atletico Madrid v Chelsea (1945 BST, BT Sport 2)

The Vicente Calderon is no more and Champions League football comes to the Wanda Metropolitano for the first time with this game (it will also host the 2019 final).

So everyone wants to know whether Atletico – beaten only once at home in this competition since Diego Simeone took the reins – will remain the immovable object in their new surroundings.

Early signs from the Primera Division suggest it’s business as usual with two victories without conceding a goal thus far. Take in away games and it’s four clean sheets in their last five.

Chelsea's arrival looks likely to provide a stiffer test, especially with Eden Hazard now back to full fitness and both David Luiz and Gary Cahill available again.

But Atletico have long been masters at shutting teams down and similar tactics can be expected here – it is simply the Simeone way.

After making a strong start to life in a Chelsea shirt, former Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata will be keen to ruffle the feathers of Atletico you’d expect but I can’t get away from the tempting 15/2 about there being no goalscorer – a result which would certainly suit Blues boss Antonio Conte.

Whatever you think of that, under 2.5 goals certainly looks a strong play at 8/13.

Eden Hazard

Anderlecht v Celtic (1945 BST, BT Sport ESPN)

After their 5-0 thrashing at home to Paris Saint-Germain two weeks ago, it would be easy to write Celtic off as Champions League also-rans but this game offers them a chance at redemption.

Anderlecht have made a poor start to their title defence in Belgium, one which has already cost boss Rene Weiler his job.

They’ve won just three of eight Jupiler League matches this far. Throw in their 3-0 Champions League defeat at Bayern Munich on matchday one and they’ve conceded two or more goals in five of their nine games.

They played with 10 men for the vast majority of that game in Munich after a red card for Sven Kums which leaves the midfielder suspended for this one. Target man Lukasz Teodorczyk is also a doubt, so the problems are building up for the hosts.

Celtic, on the other hand, have quickly responded to their PSG hammering.

They’ve since reached the League Cup semis in Scotland and at the weekend won the Old Firm derby – always a perfect tonic for a game such as this.

Dedryck Boyota and Moussa Dembele both missed the PSG loss but are now back which boosts the Hoops at both ends of the field and they look capable of at least causing problems for a team in a bit of a mess right now.

Celtic are 4/5 in the double-chance market and 8/5 draw no bet but it’s the both teams to score price of 4/6 I like the best.

Dembele, Scott Sinclair and Leigh Griffiths should all be relishing facing a leaky backline but whether they can keep the goals out at the other end, where they remain without Erik Sviatchenko, has to be open to question.

Best of the rest

PSG v Bayern Munich (BT Sport Extra) is the pick of the night’s eight games in the competition and it could well see one of them put down a real marker in terms of their potential to become European champions.

We all know about the amounts spent in Paris this summer and the fact it has now produced a three-man attack to rival the one feared for much of the last three years at Barcelona.

Neymar has left Catalonia to join PSG, while teenager Kylian Mbappe has also arrived from Monaco. The pair play either side of Edinson Cavani in a frontline which will be hard for any team to keep out.

That said, Montpellier managed to do just that at the weekend, although you can argue PSG had one eye on this game – Neymar did not play on the Mediterranean coast.

Clearly the new-look PSG face their biggest test thus far but at odds-against they look tantalisingly big – it’s not a price you will get about them at the Parc des Princes too often this season.

This is a Bayern team whose stars are aging and they are trying to integrate new talent of which there is doubtless plenty.

But that will have its problems and some have already surfaced this season. They are failing to set the pace in the Bundesliga having been beaten 2-0 away to Hoffenheim, a side Liverpool saw off fairly comfortably in the play-off round of this competition, while at the weekend they blew a 2-0 lead at home to Wolfsburg and ended up drawing 2-2.

Yes, they remain a side carrying plenty of threat – having scored in 10 of Bayern’s 11 games so far, Robert Lewandowski is still the biggest – but this PSG team may just be the real deal and taking them at odds-against to really prove they are a big danger in this season’s Champions League looks the way to go.­­­

Recommended bet

2pts Aleksandr Golovin to be carded v Man Utd at 4/1

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Posted at 1705 BST on 26/09/17.

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