Celtic vs LazioUEFA Europa League, KO: 20:00 Oct 24, 2019, Celtic Park
CELTIC's failure to qualify for the Champions League group-stages came close to igniting an early season crisis in Glasgow's east-end, however, the Bhoys now find themselves flourishing in the Europa League ahead of their first-ever meeting with Lazio.
After picking up a precious point away at Rennes on matchday one, the Hoops have since won their opening home game of the section, on a night where they gained revenge on their Champions League conquerors CFR Cluj.
Consequently, Celtic currently occupy top spot in Group E and they will be aiming to cement their place at the summit when they lock horns with Lazio on Thursday night.
What's more, after hammering in six goals at home to Ross County on Saturday, the Glasgow giants are once again leading the way in the Scottish Premiership following a performance that left Neil Lennon and the Parkhead faithful purring.
After hitting the Staggies for six, Celtic have now banged in 16 goals in their last four outings in their own backyard and such imperious home form does not bode well for a Lazio outfit who are winless away from home since August.
Simone Inzaghi's men were caught cold by Cluj on week one when they suffered a shock 2-1 reverse in Romania, however, the capital club bounced back from that setback by squeezing out a 2-1 success in the Stadio Olimpico against Rennes three weeks ago.
Domestically, Lazio currently lie seventh in Serie A following a thrilling 3-3 draw with Atalanta last weekend – a game that epitomised everything about the Italian outfits inconsistent start to the season.
The Romans were put to the sword in the first half and trailed 3-0 at the interval, before going on to stage a stunning comeback that saw them snatch a last-gasp goal and a share of the spoils.
Lazio's unpredictability can perhaps be attributed to the bookmakers struggling to separate these two sides with both a home and an away win priced at 8/5 (PaddyPower), while the draw is slightly higher at 12/5 (PaddyPower) with the same firm.
A draw was the outcome in Lazio's last road trip – an entertaining 2-2 with Bologna – courtesy of a double from red-hot striker Ciro Immobile – who also bagged a brace in the aforementioned goal-fest with Atalanta.
The Italian international is Serie A's top goalscorer this season and he will tempt plenty of punters at 17/10 (PaddyPower) to make the net bulge on Thursday night.
Indeed, those odds are enticing, however, I'm more attracted to the 19/10 (Betway) that is available for Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard to add to his tally of 10 goals in 18 appearances thus far.
I successfully tipped Edourad to score against Cluj and given that the Hoops hitman tends to flourish in big fixtures, I fancy the French forward to find the back of the net against a fragile Lazio backline that have only managed one clean-sheet in their last nine outings.
Lucas Leiva was suspended last weekend when Lazio shipped three goals in the space of 14 minutes and Inzaghi will be hoping that the Brazilian anchorman can plug some gaps and help protect the Rome sides ropey rearguard against free-flowing Celtic.
Levia has been a regular recipient of cards during his career – the former Liverpool man has had his name taken four times in seven appearances this season – and given how much fluency Celtic are playing with a present, I like the look of the 2/1 (UniBet) on offer for the tough-tackling midfielder to have his name taken under the lights of an ear-popping Celtic Park.
Whether or not a partisan Parkhead support can inspire their side to victory remains to be seen – and I certainly wouldn't back against the hosts on their own patch where they have won six of their last eight games in the Europa League.
However, I'm more attracted to the goals markets for this encounter due to the fact that both teams have been hitting the net with frequency in their respective divisions – domestically Celtic are averaging 3.1 goals per-game and Lazio two goals per-game.
Backing both teams to score looks reasonable at 7/10 (Bet 365) as does opting for over 2.5 match goals at 4/5 (Bet Victor) however, combining those two bets will take your odds up to 5/4 (Bet 365) – a combination that appeals and one that would have generated profit in each one of Lazio's last two Europa League and Serie A encounters.
This UEFA Europa League match between Celtic and Lazio will be played on Oct 24, 2019 and kick off at 20:00