FC Astana v FK Spartaks Jurmala Betting Tips: Home side to get the job done

15:00/Jul 18

Football writer Thomas Giles previews the upcoming Champions League qualifier between FC Astana and FK Spartaks Jurmala.

This match is quite finely balanced with Astana currently holding a 1-0 advantage over Spartaks Jurmala. However, this will undoubtedly be a tough match for the Latvian side.

Astana have been in fantastic form in this 2017 Kazakh season and they currently top the Kazakhstani Premier League, looking like they will win their fourth consecutive title. This is particularly evident given their recent run which has seen them win their last six matches on the bounce.

Stanimir Stoilov’s side have been particularly good at the back in recent times with five clean sheets in their last six matches in all competitions. Furthermore, their record of just 14 goals conceded in 20 league games so far this campaign is the joint-best in the division. Usually when a team has such a strong defence, we see the attack suffer somewhat, however, this is not the case for Astana who have also been excellent in the final third. Their domestic goal tally of 44 is the joint-best in the Kazakh top flight.

The Blue and Yellows have been tremendous on home soil for a long time and last suffered consecutive home league defeats all the way back in 2011/2012 and, even then, there was a five-month gap between the two fixtures. Additionally, despite the Kazakh league being weak in comparison to other European leagues, Astana have been sublime on home soil in European competitions with no home Champions League defeats in their entire history.

Spartaks Jurmala won their maiden Latvian title in 2016 and, at the moment, they are doing a good job of defending it as they currently sit top of the division after 11 games of the 2017 season. Although they have played in the Europa League qualifiers before, this is Spartaks’ Champions League debut.

When you look at the statistics, you will notice that the Latvian Virsliga is quite low-scoring. With this in mind, the fact that Marek Zub’s men have found the back of the net 18 times in 11 outings (by far the highest total in the league) is impressive. Having said that, even though this may be impressive by Latvian standards, they are clearly struggling to bring this goalscoring form to European football.

The Red-Whites are actually undefeated in their last away league matches, however, they have traditionally struggled in European away games with two losses in three previous matches and no clean sheets. Unsurprisingly, Astana

Unsurprisingly, Astana are the favourites here and therefore it has been quite difficult to find any value in the market. Having said that I think 2-3 Goals Exact at a profitable 23/20 is a good shout. Astana are likely to put the Latvian side to the sword on home turf, however, as we rarely see thrashings in these early Europa League qualifiers, I do not think they will be scoring more than two or three goals.

Single: Pending
FC Astana v FK Spartaks Jurmala
18.07.2017 15:00 BST
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