The culmination of the 2015/16 football season is creeping closer and closer – tissues at the ready – but fear not, because some of the very best action is still to be played out.
The semi-final stage of the Champions League is always a tense and turgid affair; why wouldn’t it be, given how high the stakes are? But we’ve got two intriguing clashes to enjoy in this next week or so, and there’s plenty of betting potential contained within both.
Manchester City vs Real Madrid
This is a clash of the history boys versus the history makers: Manchester City have never reached this stage of the Champions League/European Cup before, while Real Madrid boast the record for most wins in this tournament at ten. Will that play a part in the outcome of this tie?
The downside for Manuel Pellegrini’s men is that they have had to sacrifice a Premier League title tilt to get to this stage, but at least that has afforded him the opportunity to rest key players. No such luck for Real, who are very much in the hunt for what appeared at one stage an unlikely La Liga crown.
In a series of bizarre coincidences, the first leg of this tie looks likely to finish in a 2-1 scoreline. But to whom?
Let’s take City first. Of their last 19 Champions League matches at home (this is a random number but this is the most relevant data sample), the Mancunians have won eight, drawn six and lost five; scoring in 17 and conceding in 16. So far, so BTTS.
But if we take it further we note that they have scored 1.74 goals per game on average in those 19, conceding 1.41 goals in the process. Rounded up/down, that suggests a correct scoreline of 2-1 in City’s favour. Indeed, three of Man City’s five losses in the competition came by a scoreline of 1-2. Spooky.
Now, let’s take a look at Real Madrid’s record on the road. In their last 19 matches in the Champions League they have won eleven, drawn three and lost five. They have scored in 15 of the 19 and conceded in 10; with an average of 2.11 per game scored and 1.11 conceded. Again, if we round those figures up/down we can imply a correct scoreline of 2-1 in Real’s favour.
In their last ten away matches in all competitions, Real have won seven, drawn two and lost one. Three of those seven wins came via a 2-1 scoreline.
So, the 8/1 available on Real to win 2-1 here looks ever so tempting….
Atletico Madrid vs Bayern Munich
Bewildered and befuddled: that’s how to respond to the news that Atletico are priced at 2/1 to win this match. They have won 17/20 in all competitions on home soil and 12/15 in the Champions League alone.
Bayern, meanwhile, have won 9/15 on the road in all competitions in 2015/16 (still impressive, we’ll grant you that), but – and here’s the crucial part – they have won just 3/10 in the Champions League away from home; tasting defeat on four occasions. This season alone, they have been beaten at the Emirates by Arsenal and could only muster a draw against a Benfica side shorn of their two best players.
So why are the Spaniards priced so nicely? No idea. But that 2/1 for them to win on Wednesday – or even the 7/4 on them to qualify, knowing they can score an away goal in the second leg – should be added to your betslip pronto.