Champions League Tournament Odds Update Ahead of Round 16
Champions League Round of 16 Preview
It's one of the more exciting times every year for us footy fans as we get to watch the drama unfold all over again. What makes this Champions League season a little different is that in England, Spain and Germany the title races have all but been decided meaning some teams have the luxury of resting players for this competition. Before we dive into each matchup let's look at whom the books have favored to take it all...
And what this chart tells me is just how fantastic a season Manchester City are having and just how underappreciated Lionel Messi is. Draws eventually determine much of how this competition unfolds. If you are Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City, you've already dodged one bullet because of the favorbale matchup they drew.
On play alone it's hard to see an argument of someone defeating Manchester City over two legs. However at somepoint if they will draw a match up against another big team who has been on this stage many times before. Will City, a team full of players not used to making deep Champions League runs, be able to cope with the pressure? Will Pep Guardiola be able to change his tactics in anyway to handle the challenges a Bayern Munich or Barcelona would pose?
At less than 3/1 Manchester City have little value but at 11/2 Barcelona seem to have a ton of value. At 9/2 Bayern Munich also look to have sneaky value. After the return of Jupp Heynckes, this team has their sights set on returning to ultimate glory.
Game Line Selections
BASEL vs MANCHESTER CITY
Basel's only chance is to get a result in the first leg at home. Even a draw will give them a glimmer of hope that they can go to the Etihad and park the bus.
Perhaps they can look back to their 1-0 win at home over Manchester United on Matchday 5. But they will find the other team from Northwest England a different beast.
By possession stats, Man City completed the most passes of anyone in the group stage and held the ball for nearly 60%. Basel were 29th out of a possible 32 teams in terms of passes completed and averaged only 44% possession.
This alone tells us that over 180 minutes of action Man City will have the lion's share of the ball. How much defending can the Swiss giants be expected to do. The only teams that have beaten Man City this season have been Liverpool, and Shakhtar, teams that did not sit back, and gave them a proper go.
City win this one going away. Only value play I see for the 1st leg is City -1.5 (Even)
JUVENTUS vs TOTTENHAM
This one could go either way. Juventus with the first leg being at home will try to get the win but won't risk leaving themselves open to do so. Italian teams don't stress going away for the 2nd leg tied nil-nil.
Tottenham have already gone to Real Madrid and came away with a draw so they have a little experience away from home on these big European nights under their belt.
In any event, I love the Under 2.5 goals (-145) for a large play this Tuesday. With two even matched sides, this is likely more of a 180 minute chess match.
PORTO vs LIVERPOOL
And conversely, I love the Over 2.5 goals (-130) for the 1st leg of this tie. Liverpool under Klopp have given us some entertain nights in the Champions and Europa Leauge. This matchup with Porto looks destined for more fun.
Porto's 6 group games had a total of 25 goals. Liverpool's 6 group games had 29 goals. According to Squawka, the Red's created more chances in the group stage than any other team and of the 16 teams that adavnce they've created the most defensive errors.
No need to overthink. At that price I have to pounce.
REAL MADRID vs PSG
Few round of 16 matches ever have had the short and long term implications that Real Madrid-PSG will have. For starters, whichever coach loses this matchup may as well pack his bags and say his goodbyes because they will surely be sacked. These organizations have no patience for failure, even if your name is Zinedine Zidane and you've won this competition 2 years in a row.
And take it from someone who has bet against Real Madrid many, many times in the Champions League in the last half decade - it's not a profitable endeavour. They have been awful this season and we have seen the Neymar inspired PSG be absolutely scintillating at times.
That's also another funny situation. Neymar has just arrived, and already is being booed by certain members of the fan base. On the pitch he's been playing great but behaving like a spoiled brat, and rumors have already emerged of him wanted to leave for, you guessed it, Real Madrid.
In some happier news former Galactico Angel Di Maria, who was basically an afterthought in this team, has returned to world class form.
I say all of this to say that I have no clue what's going to happen in this matchup. I'll just have my popcorn ready.
BAYERN MUNICH vs. BESIKTAS
My rules with Turkish teams are as follows; Bet them at home, and fade them away. My rules for Bayern in the Champions League has generally followed the same pattern.
With the first leg in Germany I feel like Bayern will win this comfortably. Bayern Munich -2 (-115) and over 3 (-135) should get some serious consideration.
CHELSEA vs BARCELONA
Much like the Manchester City-Basel matchup, possession and passing stats suggest that Barcelona will have the ball for much of this game with Chelsea looking for counter attacking opportunities. As Barcelona have only conceded 1 goal in this competition, the few chances Chelsea do wind up creating won't be tap ins.
Furthermore with the first leg being at Stamford Bridge and Chelsea in bad form, their only shot is to keep Barcelona off the scoreboard.
I lean Under 2.5 goals (-105) and perhaps may place a small wager on the Draw at (+250) in hopes they can summon their stubborn defensive form once again.
SHAKHTAR DONETSK vs. ROMA
Once again with the 1st leg being played in the Ukraine in the middle of February the home side has a huge advantage. Shakhtar has the chops to advance over Roma but need to take a lead back to the Italian Capital. They've beaten Italian leaders Napoli and a weakened Manchester City team at home in the Champions League this season, so Roma will not intimidate them.
In fact nothing will intimidate this club. They play 700 miles away from the City of Shakhtar due to conflicts with Russia. The loyal fans who make the journey will create a very hostile environment. And I'm no meteoroligist, but it will probably be very cold.
Shakhtar Draw no bet (-125) makes all the sense in the world.
SEVILLA vs MANCHESTER UNITED
And with that being said Sevilla Draw no bet (+120) makes a ton of sense as well.
Sevilla as a European outfit live for these nights and don't shy away from the name. They'll give Manchester United everything they have. But what will Manchester United give?
Historically Mourinho plays the 1st legs away from home cagey and goes for the draw. I could see a gameplan where Manchester United don't commit many bodies forward which I don't see working out well for them.
If you don't give Sevilla anything thing to worry about they'll keep piling on the pressure and swarm you until they breakthrough. United may get the draw they come for, but it won't be easy by any stretch.
You can follow me on twitter @zahir_gilani
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