Confounding expectation is a nice skill to have when nobody fancies you to do well, and once again Leicester City find themselves nicely labelled as the David to Atletico Madrid’s Goliath in their Champions League quarter-final clash.
You can back the Foxes at 12/1 to win in Madrid and 3/1 to progress from the tie to the semi-finals, and while it will take all of their giant killing prowess to do so you do wonder if the bookmakers have undervalued the Premier League champions once again.
Atletico’s record in the Champions League is outstanding – two final appearances in the last three years – but there is a feeling they haven’t quite been at their best for large swathes of the 2016/17 campaign. Leicester, meanwhile, are improving at exactly the right time.
There are similarities here of course with the Foxes’ last 16 clash with Sevilla. They went to Spain and managed to grab an away goal, before besting their opponents in front of 32,000 passionate home fans. A similar template could play out on Wednesday.
The only downside you suspect is that Atletico don’t play an expansive style of football; so Leicester’s opportunities for the counter attack will be limited. But the Spaniards have only netted eleven in their last eight Champions League outings, and so the Midlanders’ chances are far greater here than many give them credit.
Can they add another incredible scalp to their fantastic recent history? The jury’s out on that, but backing them at 6/5 with a +1.25 Asian Handicap in this first leg is a no-brainer.
Continental Giants Ready to Battle It Out
This is the greatest club football competition on the planet, so you expect there to be some high profile contests when the tournament reaches its business end.
Even so, the rest of the quarter-final line-up is enough to make even the neutral observer salivate in expectation. We’ve Juventus vs Barcelona and Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid to savour, plus the potential goal-frenzy of Borussia Dortmund vs Monaco; does it get any better than that?
Juventus are unbeaten in eight Champions League matches this season, conceding just two goals in the process. They’ve only lost once at home in this competition in their last 18 starts, and are a perfect P16 W16 in Serie A matches in front of their own fans this term.
Have Barca got their work cut out? You bet.
As punters it is natural to expect them to find a way though, and that will probably come in the second leg at the Nou Camp; just cast your minds back to the PSG tie for further evidence of what this team is capable of.
There are many betting permutations for punters to consider here, but to be able to back Juventus in the Draw No Bet market for this first leg in Italy is magnificent.
We won’t dwell on this Dortmund vs Monaco clash for too long as it feels like a genuine ‘50/50’ affair that is likely to frustrate as many outright punters as it is to delight winning bettors, but for goal-seekers this fixture appears packed with possibility.
Combined, 12 of their 16 Champions League outings this term have yielded three or more goals, and that has to be the trend to follow in here. Indeed, Over 3.5 Goals at 23/20 will entice plenty.
And finally to Bayern vs Real in another ‘pick ‘em’ encounter. This is another that suggests that the team who performs better in their home leg will win the tie. Bayern are unbeaten in 20 at the Allianz Arena and have won 16 in a row there in the Champions League, so the omens are good for the Germans.
Can we write off a team that contains Cristiano Ronaldo? We’d be foolish to, but his side’s away form in the Champions League (W2 D3 L1) isn’t all that great, and with their last four continental away days yielding Both Teams to Score and Over 2.5 Goals, that’s the trend for punters to follow here at a not unreasonable 19/20.