Red Star Belgrade vs TottenhamUEFA Champions League, KO: 20:00 Nov 6, 2019, Stadion Rajko Mitic
TOTTENHAM kick-started their Champions League campaign by romping to a 5-0 victory against Red Star Belgrade in north London a fortnight ago.
It was a much-needed shot in the arm for a Spurs side who threw away a two goal advantage against Olympiakos on the opening night of the group-stages before being trounced 7-2 by Bayern Munich at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on matchday two.
Consequently, Mauricio Pochettino's side currently sit second in Group B and should last season's Champions League runners-ups bag three points in Belgrade they will all but book a place in the last-16.
However, the Serbian champions will be a different animal in their own backyard to the one that was crushed in the English capital two weeks ago and as such the Lilywhites can ill-afford to take this clash lightly.
Vladen Milojevic's men had to negotiate four ties just to earn a spot in the money-spinning group-stages and they bloodied a few noses in last season's Champions League when they held Napoli at home before defeating eventual winners Liverpool.
What's more, the Belgrade outfit were victorious in their last European assignment at this venue against Olympiakos and in doing so Red Star signaled that they are not in this section just to make up the numbers.
A second home success for Red Star could blow the race for second-spot in Group B wide open, however, the bookmakers believe that outcome is improbable by pricing the home side at 9/2 (UniBet) and the draw is also deemed unlikely at 33/10 (UniBet) with the same firm.
A Tottenham triumph is odds-on at 8/13 (Ladbrokes) however, given Spurs' patchy away form both domestically and on the continent, that price does not appeal to me – even more so in the event that Tottenham's talisman Harry Kane is ruled out.
Illness forced Kane to sit out of Spurs' share of the spoils with Everton on Sunday and there are fears that he could miss this battle with Belgrade, however, should the striker prove his fitness then he could be worth backing at 4/5 (UniBet) to score anytime after hitting the net twice against Red Star two weeks ago – two of Kane's four group-phase goals thus far.
However, the hosts will have their moments inside the hostile cauldron that is the Stadion Rajko Mitic and given that Red Star are averaging over two goals per-game in the Serbian SuperLiga I fancy them to find the back of the net against a Spurs side who are struggling outside of north London.
Granted, Spurs possess superior quality, not too mention that they will be coming up against a ropey Red Star rearguard – and that perhaps explains why both teams to score looks slightly short at 4/6 (Betfred)
There is even less value in backing over 2.5 match goals at 4/7 (PaddyPower) however, combing over 2.5 goals and both teams to score looks a lot more attractive at Evens (William Hill) – a combination that would have landed in four of the six Group B fixtures that these two teams have contested collectively.
Spurs, despite marching all the way to last years final, have only won six of their last 22 European away days – none of which came in last season's group-stages – and closer to home the Londoners are without a league win on the road since January.
Indeed, Tottenham's travel sickness will be cured at some point and this tussle with Red Star could represent their best opportunity to date to start repairing their wretched away form.
However, the Serbian's will be a different preposition on home soil and that coupled with the ear-popping atmosphere that will await Potchettino's side is why I am going to side with Red Star with a one goal start on the asian handicap at 6/7 (BetVictor)
In doing so your bet would only lose if Red Star were to lose by two or more goals and if they were to lose by one goal your stake would be redeemed – a betting angle that would have banked profit in three of Red Star's last four home games in Europe's elite club competition.
This UEFA Champions League match between Red Star Belgrade and Tottenham will be played on Nov 6, 2019 and kick off at 20:00