The second set of Champions League fixtures takes place this week, and after Barcelona’s hearts were broken on Valentine’s night in Paris you have to wonder how these matches will pan out.
English hopes are represented by Manchester City, who face a tough assignment against Monaco, and Leicester City, who might need one of Donald Trump’s walls if they are to take anything from their trip to Sevilla.
Here are the pick of this week’s Champions League betting tips:
Bayer Leverkusen vs Atletico Madrid Betting Tips
Last year’s beaten Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid will be looking to go one better in 2017, but first they will have to overcome this potentially tricky assignment.
Bayer Leverkusen’s Bundesliga form may leave a lot to the imagination, but their record in the group stage of this competition was exemplary: they were undefeated in their six Group E outings, and recorded victories over both Spurs and Monaco. They should not be underestimated.
The main source of their domestic woes on home soil is that they concede too many shots on goal: 4.09 per 90 minutes to be precise. That has led to 16 goals conceded in 11 home starts and a formline that reads W5 D2 L4. That’s not going to be good enough to beat Atleti, so they will need to find that extra gear again or else.
Diego Simeone’s side are rather more circumspect on the road, and the fact they conceded just two goals in their Champions League group speaks volumes.
A side that concedes plenty of goals at home against one that ships very few on the road? Atletico are worthy favourites and look an excellent price at 11/8.
Manchester City vs Monaco Betting Tips
There is real scope for backing Monaco in some capacity here, and certainly goals are expected.
The Ligue 1 leaders are the highest scoring side in Europe’s top divisions; they have bludgeoned 76 goals in just 26 starts! Remember, we’re not blown away by Manchester City’s defence, still, and so we would fancy the French side to score at least once.
How many will the Citizens bag though? They average nearly 6.00 shots on target per 90 minutes at the Etihad, and so the omens are good. They put three past Barcelona too lest we forget, and there is real scope to net given that Monaco have conceded in each of their last three games on the road in Ligue 1.
To be able to back Over 2.5 Goals & Both Teams to Score at odds against (21/20) is nigh-on a miracle. Back it while you can.
Porto vs Juventus Betting Tips
Juventus’ great strength is ultimately what will probably see them win this tie: defending on the back foot.
The Italians concede very few goals: 2 in 6 in the Champions League group stage and 17 in 25 in Serie A. They have won their last six league games in a row and were unbeaten in the group phase of this competition (W4 D2 L0). Really, there isn’t anything not to like about them.
Porto are in great form too domestically (W6 D0 L0), but when making the step up to Champions League level they have been found wanting. Without the ludicrous 5-0 dead rubber win over Leicester, they only managed to score four times in five games, conceding just three.
Juve will be happy enough with a tight, low-scoring encounter here, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see this one peter out. Both Teams to Score (No) is the smart play here at 4/5.
Sevilla vs Leicester City Betting Tips
Leicester, dear Leicester. What chance can we give them here? Even accounting for an improved performance from their league form, the signs aren’t good for the Premier League champions; they are way off the mark required to hurt the Spaniards, especially away from home.
Sevilla’s home record in La Liga for the past few years: W23 D2 L3. Since 2015 they have beaten the likes of Juventus, Borussia M’gladbach and Luton, to nil, in the Champions League on home soil as well.
Sorry Foxes fans, this won’t be pretty. We’re backing Sevilla with a -1 handicap at 11/10.