Predictions and Best Bets for UEFA Champions League Qualifiers – August 17, 2021

| August 16, 2021 9:45 am PDT

We’ve come to the final stage of the UEFA Champions League qualification, in which 12 teams are competing for six available spots in the 2021-22 tournament.

The first leg of the round starts this week, with three games scheduled for Tuesday, August 17, 2021.

Those are, namely:

  • Sheriff Tiraspol (MDA) vs. Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)
  • Salzburg (AUT) vs. Brondby (DEN)
  • Monaco (FRA) vs. Shakhtar Donets (UKR)

I will now preview all those matchups, providing some (hopefully useful) betting predictions. When done, I’ll also provide my selection of the best UEFA Champions League bets for this Tuesday.

Once you digest my UEFA Champions League predictions and picks, feel free to place some bets at the best mobile betting soccer apps.

Dinamo Zagreb to Beat Sheriff Tiraspol

These two have met six times in history, each time in the Champions League qualification. In their past four meetings, the Croatian heavyweight was the winning side each time.

However, the most recent of those duels happened more than eight years ago. Are things different in 2021?

Well, yes and no.

What’s different is that most players who featured in the previous Sheriff Tiraspol vs. Dinamo Zagreb will not feature in Tuesday’s game.

What’s still the same is that the Croatian team is still much stronger than the Moldavian side.

Same as always, Dinamo Zagreb is relying on youngsters who will (most likely) move to elite European teams in a few years. Playmakers Luka Ivanusec and Lovro Majer are probably the best two examples.

This year, however, Dinamo Zagreb also has plenty of experienced players on the roster. One such player is their captain, Arijan Ademi, who’s played 49 Champions League games in his one-decade-long career.

There’s also Mislav Orsic, whom Tottenham fans remember as the guy who singlehandedly knocked the Spurs out of the 2020-21 Europa League with a hat-trick.

And what about Sheriff Tiraspol? Do the Moldavians have some awesome players on their roster? Well, not as awesome as Dinamo, that’s for sure.

To illustrate the difference between these two teams, here’s an interesting fact. The highest-valued Sheriff Tiraspol player, Hansel Zapata, has a price tag of $1.18 million. There are 22 players in Dinamo Zagreb who are valued more than that.

In fact, Dinamo’s most valuable player (goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic) is 15 times more expensive than Zapata.

Now you see why I think Dinamo will win this game with ease.

Salzburg to Beat Brondby

The owners of Salzburg – energy drink company Red Bull – have big ambitions for the upcoming season. Evidence of this, is that they’ve already spent a lot of money on new signings.

Their biggest transfer of the summer is Kamil Piatkowski, a 21-year-old Polish defender. He came from Rakow for a $5.9 million fee.

You may not think of it as a huge amount of money, but for Austrian standards, it’s a huge deal. In fact, it’s the highest transfer fee paid by an Austrian club in 2021.

That wasn’t the only big transfer Salzburg made this summer. Argentine midfielder Nicolas Capaldo also arrived in Salzburg. To get his signature, the Austrians had to pay $5.3 million to Boca Juniors.

Finally, Salzburg also captured the signature of Croatian forward Roko Simic, for which the club had to splash out $4.72 million.

Speaking of transfers, the record for the highest fee ever spent by an Austrian team is held by Salzburg, who paid $13.20 million two years ago – the player they signed was Swiss forward Noah Okafor.

The top 13 highest-paid transfers of the Austrian league were all made by Salzburg. Of those 13 players, eight are still playing for this club.

Now a 21-year-old, Okafor is slowly turning into Salzburg’s key man, although he’s far from being the team’s top scorer in the 2021-22 season. Instead, it’s Karim Adeyemi, who’s two years his junior.

The German teenager looks like Salzburg’s most dangerous man at the moment, with five goals in the Austrian league in just five matches. With so much attacking power, Salzburg needs to be thought of as a big favorite against Brondby.

Another reason is that the Danes have been in a dreadful form. This team is without a win in the 2021-22 season – Brondby’s last victory in a competitive game happened back in May.

Monaco and Shakhtar Donetsk to Draw

Oddsmakers favor Monaco to win this game, with the odds moving in this team’s favor from 1.72 to 1.61 (from -139 to -164 – if you prefer the American format).

Sure, Monaco is a fantastic team, with some fantastic players, but Shakhtar mustn’t be underestimated. The thing about Shakhtar is that all they seem to care about is the Champions League.

This team played in the group stage of this competition each time in the past four years. In fact, they failed to qualify for the Champions League only once in the previous ten seasons.

Shakhtar’s Record in the UEFA Champions League in the Past 15 Seasons
Season Result
2011-12 Group stage
2012-13 Group stage
2013-14 Group stage
2014-15 Round of 16
2015-16 Group stage
2016-17 Qualification round 3
2017-18 Round of 16
2018-19 Group stage
2019-20 Group stage
2020-21 Group stage

Not only will they be super-motivated against Monaco, but Shakhtar players will probably have confidence on their side.

They’ve been playing really well lately, winning five of the previous six games in all competitions.

Two of those wins happened against Genk in the previous round of the Champions League qualification. Shakhtar beat the Belgian heavyweight 4-2 on aggregate.

It’s been a whole different story when Monaco is concerned.

Although Les Monégasques beat Sparta Prague fairly easily (5-1 on aggregate), they’ve been horrible in the French Ligue 1. In the two games of the domestic league, Monaco won only one point, losing to relegation candite Lorient on Friday evening.

Best Bets for UEFA Champions League Qualifiers on Tuesday, August 17

If you make a parlay bet with Dinamo Zagreb and Salzburg winning their games, as well as add Monaco vs. Shakhtar draw, the odds should be somewhere in the ballpark of 13.00 (+1200).

Not too bad, but there might be an even more lucrative option. If you’re open to experimenting with other betting markets, consider the following bets:

Dinamo Zagreb to Win to Nil3.00
Salzburg -2.52.45
Monaco vs. Shakhtar Donetsk – BTS1.80

So, why those three?

First of all, I think Dinamo Zagreb will be the dominant force against Sheriff. The Croatian players will keep the ball in their possession for most of the time, not allowing the opposition to create too many goal chances.

The reason why I think Salzburg will win with at least three goals difference is that this team is famous for playing an attacking style of soccer.

Finally, the logic behind picking BTS (both teams to score) in the Monaco vs. Shakhtar game is that both teams are very powerful in the final third.

Proof of this is that we saw Monaco scoring a goal in three of the four competitive games played this summer. Furthermore, the last time Shakhtar failed to score a goal was in April.

Want more picks and odds to peruse? Stop by our sports betting picks page for endless betting advice.

Zarko Naric
Zarko Naric

Zarko Naric – the World's Greatest Sportswriter, according to his grandma.

Zarko started writing for in 2019, covering sports like soccer, tennis, and basketball,  as well as some more niche sports like cycling, for example.

In addition to writing news, picks, and blog pieces focused on sports, Zarko’s also been covering politics, TV/music contests, and so on.

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