Everton v Hajduk Split
Thursday August 17, 20:05

Despite the loss of star striker Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United, there seems to be plenty of optimism in the blue half of Merseyside. Ronald Koeman has won over fans with his no-nonsense management style and his sense of purpose, and financial backer Farhad Moshiri has proved he's willing to open the chequebook (they keep telling him no-one writes cheques anymore, but he won't listen).
The prodigal son Wayne Rooney has returned, and he headed home a fine winner in Saturday's 1-0 win over Stoke in the Premier League opener. Davy Klaassen's work-rate and leadership in midfield should make him a fans' favourite, and the switch to a three-man defence should give new centre-back Michael Keane a platform to show what he can do.
Defensively Everton are looking strong. Three games, three clean sheets. Ruzomberok were beaten 1-0 in both legs of the previous qualifier, and new Toffees keeper Jordan Pickford is yet to concede a goal.

Hajduk Split
On a Game of Thrones tour in Dubrovnik once, our guide Robert found out I was a football journalist, and proceeded to talk more about Hajduk Split than House Lannister. This was indicative of the passion that flows through Croatian football, and although they aren't the European force they once were, Hajduk can't be dismissed.
HNK have already taken some impressive scalps in this tournament. They knocked out Bulgarian stalwarts Levski Sofia, and then beat Danish side Brondby. They finished third in the Croatian top flight last term, and this season they have hoovered up ten points from their first five league games. Spanish coach Joan Carrillo has had a positive impact since arriving last year.

Match Odds
Everton are pretty short here at 1.27, and given that Hajduk aren't a bad side and have a bit of form in this competition, that's not a price to excite. If there's a bit of liquidity in the market closer to the kick-off, it might be worth looking at the price to give Hajduk a -1.5 start on the Asian Handicap.

Over/Under 2.5 Goals
Now this market really does have a price to get the juices flowing. Unders is trading at a chunky 2.18 here, and that seems very generous. Everton haven't conceded a goal yet,and haven't scored more than once in any of their matches.
Hajduk kept clean sheets in both legs against a decent Brondby team, and I'll be a bit surprised if they roll over at Goodison Park.
I'm going for unders.

Recommended Bet
Back Under 2.5 Goals at 2.18

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