The Champions League is back with the last 16 first leg matches taking place over the next 2 weeks. Our blogger takes a look at the action taking place Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.
Juventus and Spurs meet in what should be a very tense first leg on Tuesday night. The Italian side are even money to win the contest with the draw 9/4 and Spurs coming back to 32/10 at the time of writing. Juventus are in cracking form and have won their last 11 matches in all competitions, most reasonably beating Florentino 2-0 away on the weekend. They have won 6 out of their last 7 home League matches and have not conceded a goal in the last 5 home League games. They booked their spot in the last 16 of the Championship League by finishing 2nd to Barcelona in Group D and in their home game with Barcelona they played to a goalless draw.
Spurs are coming off a derby victory over Arsenal on the weekend and they topped their group which included the likes of Real Madrid and Dortmund, winning 5 and drawing 1 of their matches. Spurs are on a 12-match unbeaten run in all competitions and they were undefeated on the road in the group stages of the Champions League, winning 2 and drawing 1, with the draw coming at Real Madrid.
Tuesday night’s other fixture sees Tournament favourites, Manchester City (33/10) take on FC Basel on the road – click here for outright betting. City are in rampant form in the EPL where they have all but wrapped up the title and they topped their group in the Champions League with 5 wins and a loss in 6 matches. Bookmakers are expecting one-way traffic in this game and home side Basel are 15/2 with the draw at 4/1 and City are short at 7/20. Basel were runners-up to Manchester United in their group and they did beat Manchester United 1-0 when they hosted them.
FC Porto take on Liverpool in what should be an intriguing encounter on Wednesday night and the betting suggests that Liverpool are the favourites and they are priced at 27/20 with the draw at 5/2 and the home team Porto at 2/1. Porto are on an unbeaten 15 match run in all competitions and they have won their last 9 games in a row domestically. They were runners-up in a relatively weak Champions League group and they won 2 of their 3 home matches. Liverpool had a comfortable 2-0 win over Southampton in the EPL on Sunday and they topped their Champions League group ahead of Sevilla with 3 wins and 3 draws, 2 of those draws came on the road. Porto are priced at 125/1 and this is certainly not the worst of draws for Liverpool who are currently 14/1 to lift the trophy.
8/1 shots Real Madrid meet 5/1 second favourites PSG on what is certainly the tie of the week for me. Madrid were 2nd in their qualifying group behind Spurs and they took 7 points from a possible 9 at home. They haven’t been at their best in the League of late and they have only won 2 out of their last 6 home matches in all competitions. PSG topped their group on goal difference over Bayern Munich despite losing 3-1 away to Bayern in their final match of the group stages. Their home form was excellent with 3 victories and they scored at least 3 goals in each match. They are dominant in the French League and are worthy favourites to progress to the last 8.
Juventus v Tottenham – click here to bet
Over 2.5 goals at 12/10.
These first round fixtures can often be high scoring as the away team looks for an invaluable away goal and the home team try to grab an advantage. Juventus have played some excellent football but so has Spurs and this could be an entertaining affair.
FC Basel v Manchester City – click here to bet
Handicap, Manchester City (-1) at 9/10.
City will be looking to make a statement early on in the knock-out rounds and given their current form it is hard to look past a comfortable City win and this bet would have arrived in 2 of their 3 group matches on the road.
FC Porto v Liverpool – click here to bet
Over 3.5 goals at 17/10.
This bet would have arrived in all 3 of Porto’s home games in the group stages and in 2 of Liverpool’s away games and while Liverpool kept a clean sheet in the League on the weekend, these are few and far between and I think we will see goals at both ends.
Real Madrid v PSG – click here to bet
The draw at 11/4.
This maybe a cagier affair than bookmakers are suggesting with over 2.5 goals quoted at 9/20. Still given the sides respective strike forces I am not prepared to go unders here and will instead bet that we get draw in the game, a result which would keep both teams very much alive heading into the second leg.
Prices correct at the time of writing but are subject to change