MATCH PREVIEW: CELTIC 1-0 ZENIT (EUROPA LEAGUE – PLAY OFFS) FREE BETTING PICKS FOR TODAY, FEBRUARY 15

League: Europa League – Play Offs – 1/16-finals
Match: 21:05 Celtic – Zenit
Prediction: Over 1.5 Goals
Average odds: 1.31
Bookmaker: bwin
Result: 1:0 LOST

MATCH PREVIEW

This will be Zenit’s first ever trip to Glasgow, and only the second time the Russian side has taken on Scottish opposition – their first occasion was memorable, with Zenit beating Rangers in the UEFA Cup final of 2008.
Celtic dropped out of the Champions League after finishing third in the Group Stage, but as one of the best third-placed teams, they were consigned to face a Europa League (EL) group winner.
For their part, Zenit won their EL group in dominant fashion, with 16 points from a possible 18 – the best return of all of the group winners.
Zenit are a step above Celtic’s usual opponents in their domestic league. However, with no winter break Celtic should be match fit, and are also unbeaten in eight home matches.
The home side will need to keep it tight at the back, but this has not been the case in Celtic’s EL home ties. The Glasgow side’s last home clean sheet in Europe (without an opposition forfeit) was back in February 2011 against Utrecht.
Players to watch: Zenit defender Branislav Ivanovic, winner of the EL with Chelsea in 2013, currently has a pass completion rate of 86%. He has voiced his desire to win this game and recently declared: “I’m part of a big, ambitious club. We have a new team with a lot of potential.”
At the other end, Zenit striker Aleksandr Kokorin needs to score at least twice to move up to the top of the EL goalscoring charts.
Stat attack: Zenit have wasted no time in recent outings, with the St. Petersburg side scoring first in four out of their last five games. They have also scored a first-half winner in four out of their last five.
Celtic’s record against Russian opposition is good, with The Bhoys having a decent record so far (W3, D2, L1) and a goal difference of +3.