CL Best Bets - Wednesday
December 6, 2017
By Toby Maxtone-Smith
UEFA Champions League- Matchday 6
Tonight is the last night of the Champions League group stages, with lots still to play for in Groups E to H.
In Group E, a Liverpool win at home to Spartak Moscow guarantees that they win the group, while Sevilla simply need to beat Maribor to qualify. If Sevilla win and Liverpool do not, Sevilla win the group.
In Group F, Shakhtar Donetsk only need a draw at home to Manchester City to qualify, while Napoli need to win away to Feyenoord and hope Shakhtar lose. Besiktas have already won Group G. They travel to Red Bull Leipzig, who need to better FC Porto’s result at home to Monaco.
Group H, meanwhile, is all but setled. Tottenham Hotspur have won the group. Real Madrid will finish second, and all that needs to be sorted is who comes third and qualifies for the Europa League out of Borussia Dortmund and Apoel Nicosia.
Wednesday Dec. 6 - Games Scheduled for 2:45 p.m. ET
The Banker: Sevilla to beat Maribor to nil at 5/6
Sevilla need to win to qualify, and they are 1/4 favourites to do so against Maribor, whose two points against Spartak Moscow now look likely to deny the Russian side a place in the last 16.
Both those matches ended 1-1, but they were Maribor’s only goals in the group. Otherwise, they have looked toothless going forward and leaky at the back - they lost 7-0 at home to a rampant Liverpool side on matchday 4.
Sevilla won the reverse fixture 3-0, and they are a super-professional side in Europe, a team you can always rely on to get the job done. They have conceded a mean 14 goals in 14 games in the league this year, and at 5/6 to beat Maribor to nil they are a good bet.
The Solid Bet: Napoli -1.5 away to Feyenoord at 11/10
Napoli need to win at De Kuip and hope Manchester City do them a favour by beating Shakhtar Donetsk. Although it might all end in tears for the Italian side, with Man City likely to rest several key players, you can rely on Napoli to get the job done here - possibly in style.
Napoli have been one of the most exciting attacking sides in Europe over the last two years, and even though they are without winger Lorenzo Insigne they can still give Feyenoord a hiding
The Dutch champions’ results in this year’s competition are a sad demonstration of how far behind the big European leagues the Eredivisie has fallen. They have appeared limited going forward and have conceded 13 goals in five games.
The Outsider: Monaco to win away to FC Porto at 9/1
Porto have everything to play for in this repeat of the unlikely 2003/04 Champions League final, while Monaco are guaranteed to finish bottom. A win would guarantee Porto qualification, while a draw combined with Red Bull Leipzig failing to beat Besiktas, as well as both Porto and Red Bull losing, would also see them through.
Monaco’s poor tally of two points in this year’s competition after reaching last season’s semi-finals was, in many ways, predictable. Their squad was decimated in the summer.
Nonetheless they still have a top-class striker in the form of Radamel Falcao and there is little point in manager Leonardo Jardim curbing Monaco’s attacking instincts with not even a Europa League spot to play for. It is possible that the lack of pressure means that Monaco play more freely, and at 9/1 they are value to cause an upset.
The First Goalscorer: Bernard for Shakhtar Donetsk against Manchester City at 14/1
Shakhtar Donetsk only need a point to upset the odds and qualify ahead of Napoli. They face a Manchester City side already guaranteed to win the group. With Man City likely to rest several players, it is worth looking to the home team for a good first goalscorer bet.
The career of Brazilian winger Bernard has never quite recovered from his selection as Neymar’s replacement in Brazil’s 7-1 defeat to Germany in the 2014 World Cup. He struggled to adapt to life in Ukraine initially, despite Shakhtar being a common destination for Brazilians. But he has bagged six in his last nine for games for Shakhtar, and is playing with supreme confidence.
He's great each-way value at 14-1 and would even be worth a bet at around 8/1.
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