Real Betis vs CelticUEFA Europa League, KO: 17:45 Sep 16, 2021, Benito Vllamarín Stadium
CELTIC commence their Europa League group-stage campaign with a road trip to Real Betis on Thursday evening.
The Hoops' slow start to their summer transition came back to bite them as they were dumped out of the Champions League qualifiers by FC Midtjylland so they will have to settle for another tilt at Europe's secondary club competition.
That said, Ange Postecoglou's side have come a long way since that setback, with their Europa League play-off triumph over AZ demonstrating their marked improvement under the former Socceroos chief.
The Parkhead outfit warmed up for Group G curtain-raiser by bouncing back from their Old Firm derby defeat with a comfortable 3-0 win over Ross County on Saturday.
It's a trip to Spain up first for Celtic, where they face a Real Betis side who were a resurgent force Manuel Pellegrini last season, storming to a sixth-placed finish in La Liga.
The Green-and-Whites have made a slow start to the new season but they finally ground out their first win of the campaign on Monday night, with a 2-1 win at Granada.
Real Betis are back in the Europa League for the first time since 2018-19 and they are heavily fancied to hit the ground running at 13/18 with SBK.
Celtic have lost each of their last two away matches and the bookies odds suggest that trend will continue on Thursday evening, with the Bhoys big outsiders at 21/5 (SBK) while the draw is priced up at 3/1 (SBK).
Goals have been a regular feature in games involving Celtic this season and I suspect another entertaining encounter could be in the offing in southern Spain.
Both teams obliged in five of Celtic's six European qualifiers, not to mention the Bhoys have failed to bag a clean sheet when playing away from their Parkhead base this season.
However, Postecoglou's swashbucklers have scored in 11/12 matches this term and it's worth noting that the Hoops hit the back of the net in each of their six group-stage outings in last year's edition of the Europa League.
At the other end of the pitch though, Celtic leaked a lofty 19 strikes in last season's section and question marks continue to surround the Scottish giants brittle backline.
Meanwhile, Real Betis are without a shutout in four attempts this season so far, with BTTS banking on no fewer than three of those occasions.
With all things considered, the 20/23 (SBK) about both teams making the net bulge at Benito Vllamarín looks like an attractive betting proposition.
I'll also dip into the anytime goalscorer market where Real Betis' Nabil Fekir is perhaps worth a speculative punt at 3/1 with SBK to score anytime.
The Frenchman is capable of producing real moments of magic and the 3/1 (SBK) on the classy playmaker to notch looks a lovely price.
This UEFA Europa League match between Real Betis and Celtic will be played on Sep 16, 2021 and kick off at 17:45. Check below for our tipsters best Real Betis vs Celtic prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.