Tottenham begin their Europa League campaign with a 'Battle of Britain' tie against Hearts at Tynecastle on Thursday night and despite Harry Redknapp's apparent distaste for the tournament his side start as odds on favourites to win the first leg. Paddy Power price them 4/6, while Hearts will be keen to show their English counterparts that Scottish football is still strong and they can be backed at 4/1, with the draw priced 5/2.
The English side had a taste of Champions League football last season and it is something of a 'come down' that they will be playing in the second tier of European football this year. Redknapp has indicated that he will look to rotate his squad during the tournament but his side still look far too strong for Hearts as Spurs are 1/10 to qualify, with Hearts an outside 5/1 punt.
Hearts can lay claim to a slight fitness advantageÂ as the Scottish Premier League started in July, although just a few weeks ago they were a club in turmoil. There was controversy as Paulo Sergio replaced Jim Jefferies as manager earlier in the season, despite Jefferies guiding Hearts to third in the league last year.
Sergio has overseen some decent results so far, not least the 3-0 win over a poor Aberdeen side at the weekend. John Sutton was on target twice that day and he is a 7/1 punt in the first goalscorer market this week.
The concern for Hearts will be a defensive injury crisis that has left them severely short at the back and the fact that they have kept just one clean sheet in their last five matches at home doesn't bode well. Spurs look good value to grab an important away goal and both teams to score can be backed at odds of 4/5.
Spurs took Europe by storm last year, scoring eleven goals in six Champions League matches, and over 2.5 goals in this week's match looks a decent punt atÂ 10/11 on.
Rafael van der Vaart was instrumental last year as the Dutchman scored 13 goals, despite waning towards the end of the season. The Dutchman looked back to his best in pre-season and it is well worth remembering that he scored first in nine Premier League matches last year, with PaddyPower.com offering tempting industry best priced odds of 5/1 for van der Vaart to score first against Hearts.
Redknapp will have to do without the services of Steven Pienaar, William Gallas, Jermaine Jenas and Ledley King through injury but they still possess enough quality to beat a Hearts side that have won just two of their last six matches at Tynecastle.
We fancy Spurs' extra quality to pay and they could wellÂ put the tie to bed on Thursday, despite their Premier League match with Everton being cancelled last weekend. They can be backed toÂ beat HeartsÂ with a handicap of -1 goal at 21/10, with the correct score of 3-1 looking particularly good value at 14/1.
Hearts v Tottenham Tips
Tip #1: Rafael van der Vaart to score first @ 5/1 with PaddyPower.com
Tip #2: Tottenham to win with a handicap of -1 goal @ 21/10 with PaddyPower.com
Tip #3: Over 2.5 goals in the matchÂ @ 10/11 with PaddyPower.com
To Qualify Odds
Correct Score Odds
12/1 Hearts 1-0
25/1 Hearts 2-0
13/1 Hearts 2-1
17/2 Draw 0-0
11/2 Draw 1-1
13/1 Draw 2-2
11/2 Tottenham 1-0
7/1 Tottenham 2-0
7/1 Tottenham 2-1
First Goalscorer Odds
5/1 Jermain Defoe
5/1 Rafael van der Vaart
5/1 Roman Pavlyuchenko
11/2 Peter Crouch
7/1 Gareth Bale
7/1 John Sutton
8/1 No Goalscorer
9/1 Niko Kranjkar
9/1 Stephen Elliot
9/1 Rudi Skacel
10/1 Luka Modric
Odds supplied by PaddyPower.com,Â who provideÂ over 100 other betting markets,Â including live betting in-running,Â on this match and all the week's Europa League matches.
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