Valur v Maribor – UCL Qualifiers Betting Preview and Prediction
The 1/8 finals of Champions League qualifiers will provide us with a match between Valur and Maribor, who will go head to head on July 10th at Hlídarendi, the home stadium of Valur.
Valur chasing their 3rd consecutive title
Valur entered the 2019 season of Úrvalsdeild league as the reigning champions, with two back-to-back titles to their name from 2017 and 2018. With high expectations from fans and team owners alike, Valur were expected to once again start the season strong and finish on top. However, the “Valsarar ” did not live up to the expectations just yet. Currently ranked 5th in the league with an underwhelming 5-1-6 record, Valur are 13 points behind league leaders KR Reykjavik, who have lost only 1 match halfway into the season. While there is nothing positive to say about the team’s performances in the first half of the season, they have at least improved recently, by winning 4 out of their last 5 matches. They took down Vestmannaeyjar (5:1), Grindavik (1:0), Kopavogur (1:2) and most recently KA Akureyri. On a different note, Valur lost to KR Reykjavik (3:2).
Maribor ready to start their season
Unlike Valur, who are mid-season, the Slovenian league starts on the weekend, meaning Maribor will be 100% fit for the upcoming fixture. Still, they took their time to prepare for the UCL qualifications by playing 5 friendly matches, which did not end the way they planned. Out of 5 fixtures, Maribor only won two, against two well-known opponents from their domestic league Dravinja (10:0) and Gorica (4:1). Their strong performances, however, did not translate to the fixtures against Akhmat Grozny (3:2), Cracovia (1:2) and Slovacko (0:1). Seeing how the reigning Slovenian champions dominated the Slovenian teams, but failed miserably against teams of arguably higher quality, makes us believe they are not at the level they were back in 2017 when “The Purples” appeared in the group stage of the Champions League.
Verdict & Prediction
On one side we have got Valur, who have improved drastically compared to their performances in the first half of the season, and on the other, we have got Maribor who have not yet started their domestic season but still managed to produce disappointing results in their friendly matches. While there is no denying Maribor will have an advantage of entering the fixture rested, this might not be enough for them to walk away victorious.
A 10:0 win against Dravinja does look really good on the paper, however, we can’t simply overlook the quality or better yet, the lack of quality Dravinja possesses, making the 10:0 result less impressive as it may seem at the first glance. Additionally, Maribor will play the first fixture away from home, in rainy Reykjavík, where Valur have not lost a single match in the last 3. Bookmakers seem to agree Maribor will enter the upcoming fixture as the favourites, however, with the recent improvement of Valur and home ground advantage, we believe the hosts possess enough quality to keep this one levelled or even walk away as the winners.
Prediction: Valur +0.50 Asian Handicap (same as Double Chance bet on Valur)
Odds: 1.74 Pinnacle