Champions League Last 16: The Key Numbers To Win Big
It's crunch time in the world's most anticipated club soccer competition. 32 teams have become 16, and arguably only the best teams in Europe remain. Each matchup in the Round of 16 features a two leg tie, where matches are played at the home stadium of each team and the aggregate score determines who progresses to the quarter-finals. It sure makes for compelling viewing.
As the tournament moves forward, the playing field becomes more and more even, and it is tough to determine who will progress. The Round of 16 features a number of matchups that will ensure at least one or two of the world's best teams will not reach the final eight.
Italian giants Juventus take on Harry Kane's Tottenham, who have already defeated Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid in the competition. Chelsea and Barcelona will lock horns, meaning only one of Lionel Messi and Eden Hazard will appear in the next round. Perhaps the biggest battle will be between champions Real Madrid and heir apparent PSG. Ronaldo vs Neymar. Wow.
So how do you pick a winner when the best clubs collide? Research. We have compiled a list of as many relevant statistics from the group stage as possible and have outlined them below so that you can bet with confidence.
This season has produced the highest number of goals ever scored in the Champions League group stage. Liverpool and PSG led the way (both scored at least twenty individually) as the tournament recorded 306 goals in the opening 96 matches, an average of 3.19 per game or one every 28 minutes. Could this have an impact on the number of goals in the second round?
The average number of goals scored in the Champions League knockout round over the last five seasons is 84. As you can see, the 2016/17 competition produced an incredible elimination phase that accounted for 112 goals at 3.86 per match, although this followed a group stage where the rate was the lowest during this time period (just 2.79 goals per match).
Since the 'Champions League' was launched in 1992/93, only the 2016/17 season has produced an average of more than three goals per match. Just 69 goals from the final 29 matches in this year's knockout stage would mean that figure is met for a second consecutive year.
From a betting perspective, we believe the trend of high-scoring fixtures is set to continue. When faced with a typical line of over/under 2.5 goals, you will win more bets than you will lose if you tip the overs.
Team Goal Scoring Analysis
As mentioned above, it is PSG and Liverpool who have led the way in the goals department, although there are a number of clubs who also averaged at least two goals per match in their opening six. Reviewing the number of goals both scored and conceded is critical when trying to determine the chances of a team winning and losing, and especially if you are looking into the asian handicap, goal line or both teams to score markets.
GS: goals scored | GC: goals conceded | GD: goals difference |
Avg. GS: average goals scored per game | Avg. GC: average goals conceded per game
|Team||GS||GC||GD||Avg. GS||Avg. GC|
It is interesting to note that PSG set the record for most goals in the group stage, while Barcelona equalled the record for least conceded.
The Round of 16 match between PSG and Real Madrid is likely to feature plenty of goals based on the above data, and the Liverpool vs Porto fixture is also anticipated to be full of goals based on both sides' ordinary defensive record and impressive attacking performances.
On the other hand, Shakhtar Donetsk and Roma would surprise very few if their tie featured few goals.
When Are Goals Being Scored?
If you're a fan of live betting you will definitely enjoy the next section. We've compiled a breakdown of goals scored in the 2017/18 group stage based on the time of match at which they occur.
There are two things that stand out from the above data. The first is that there are more goals scored on average in the second half than the first half. This is useful to note especially if you are looking at the doubles market (halftime / fulltime score) or the likelihood of teams scoring in both halves.
The second point of interest is how many goals are scored in stoppage time at the end of the match. Further investigation leads us to the fact that injury-time goals occur approximately once every eight matches, or roughly every 30 minutes of play. This means the chance of a goal in stoppage time is almost exactly the same as one occurring in regulation time. Don't be sucked in by the popular opinion that teams are more likely to score at the conclusion of a match.
Highest Scoring Players
Cristiano Ronaldo will head into the knockout phase as the overwhelming favourite to win the tournament's golden boot, a feat that he has managed for the past five consecutive seasons. He managed to overcome an eight goal deficit at the same stage of the last UEFA Champions League, and with a three goal advantage over his nearest rivals it looks likely that he will manage an incredible sixth-straight honour.
However, much will depend on Real Madrid's huge clash with PSG in the Round of 16. Edinson Cavani and Neymar both sit on six goals, and if the French side can shock the team from Madrid, it will blow the golden boot race wide open. Lionel Messi looked to have the award sewn up last year, however his team's failure to score against Juventus and subsequent elimination in the quarters allowed Ronaldo to pounce.
The top contenders are as follows:
|Player||Team||Goals Scored||Matched Played||Avg. Goals per game|
|Wissam Ben Yedder||SEV||5||1.2|
Philippe Coutinho is also on five goals however is no longer eligible for 2017/18 Champions League football after his transfer from Liverpool to Barcelona. If you are bold enough to bet against PSG, your best bets are either one of Cavani and Neymar, as PSG would surge into favouritism if they can knock off the defending champions.
Active Champions League Streaks
While the knockout stages are somewhat of a new ball game, it's also worthwhile to note the Champions League form of the top chances.
- Longest Current Winning Streak: Bayern Munich (4 games)
Bayern won five out of their six matches in the group stages, losing only to a record-breaking PSG side. They will be buoyed by their final matchday win over the Parisians, and with a tie against Turkish side Besiktas on the horizon they should fancy their chances of making it six on the trot.
- Longest Current Home Winning Streak: Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham (4 games)
PSG and Tottenham joined Barcelona and Manchester United as the only teams to secure three home wins in this year's Champions League, although the pair also won their last home game in last year's tournament.
- Longest Current Unbeaten Streak: Liverpool (8 games)
Yes, believe it or not it's Liverpool who holds the best active undefeated run in the Champions League. Real Madrid was the last team to beat them, way back in November 2014. One could argue that the team should have won all six games in this competition, but the best compliment you can give to the Reds is that they have not looked like losing a match at any stage.
It's certainly going to be an exciting few weeks. Make sure you check back for all the latest odds and more news about the UEFA Champions League.
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