CL Best Bets - Round of 16
March 5, 2018
By Toby Maxtone-Smith
Round of 16 Betting Results
UEFA Champions League Round of 16 - Second Legs
The second legs of the last 16 of this year’s Champions League start on Tuesday night, with the eight matches spread over two weeks. Three of the eight ties are effectively over after huge wins for Liverpool, Manchester City and Bayern Munich. But that does not mean there are no betting opportunities, with rotation expected from all three of those teams.
Manchester City remain the 3/1 favourites, and will have the benefit of facing the semi-finals and final (should they reach them) having coasted their way through the end of the Premier League season. Next in the betting are Bayern Munich and Barcelona at 5/1 apiece. Real Madrid come next at an appealing 11/2. The rank outsiders (excluding teams with no chance of making it to the quarter-finals) are Sevilla at 150/1.
Tuesday, Mar. 6
Games scheduled for 2:45 p.m. ET on FS1 & FS2
Liverpool vs. FC Porto
When Liverpool play well, they are one of the most fearsome attacking forces in Europe. And they showed just what they can do at their best in a stunning 5-0 demolition of Porto at the Estadio Dragão, making the second leg at Anfield as low-key a match as it is possible to find at this stage of the competition.
Jurgen Klopp is unlikely to make wholesale changes for this match, but he can easily afford to tweak his line-up, and with Porto manager Sergio Conceição bringing a strong squad to Anfield, it might be worth getting on Porto to leave England with a goal. They have scored 15 goals in their four games since that home humbling by the Reds and their main striker Vincent Aboubakar is fit to start. Liverpool have scored 105 goals already this year, but questions remain over their defensive capabilities.
Best Bet: Both teams to score at 3/4
Paris Saint-Germain vs. Real Madrid
This is where the real action will be on Tuesday night.
Real Madrid showed the mentality of champions to dig out a 3-1 win in the first leg against PSG in a tie they were outsiders to win. And it would take a brave man to bet against them seeing this stage through in Paris, especially given that Neymar is missing for PSG.
Real are 15 points adrift of Barcelona in La Liga, and so their season revolves entirely around the Champions League. They are not likely to be too defensive here, as an away goal would make PSG’s task far harder. But the first leg was cagier than some expected with PSG retreating into their shell in the second half.
It should be another fascinating match with opportunities at both ends, but given Real’s experience, PSG’s big injury and the fact that Real do not need to chase the game means the draw looks the value bet.
Best Bet: Draw at 10/3
Wednesday, Mar. 7
Games scheduled for 2:45 p.m. ET on FS1 & FS2
Manchester City vs. Basel
Fresh from vanquishing London’s two biggest clubs in three consecutive games, Manchester City face the formality of their second leg with Basel in a tie that was decided by their 4-0 win in Switzerland.
The Premier League leaders are expected to complete a resounding aggregate win and it is evens that over 3.5 goals are scored in the game with City 1/7 just to win.
As is the case in the Liverpool v FC Porto match, Pep Guardiola will tinker with his team, rather than select a totally second string side. But one man who is likely to get a start is Gabriel Jésus, who has had to be content with a place on the bench thanks to Sergio Aguero’s superb form.
Yet his record this year remains impressive, and as a loan striker he will receive more chances than most against a Basel side that could not cope with CIty in the first leg. At 7/2 he is good value to score first.
Best Bet: Gabriel Jesus to score first at 7/2
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Juventus
Spurs hold the upper hand in this tie after impressively coming back from 2-0 down to claim a hugely valuable 2-2 draw in Turin. Against a team that had conceded just once in 15 previous matches, Spurs took the game to Juventus and were fully deserving of their result.
All this means that, realistically, Juventus have to win at Wembley, which 5/2 to do in normal time. They are 2/1 to qualify. However this does not mean Juventus will be too attacking. With the stakes so high, it is more likely that Massimiliano Allegri will have Juventus playing the best way they know: cautiously. With Gonzalo Higuain injured, this approach is even more understandable.
While Tottenham are best when they are on the front foot, they know that they can simply hold Juve to a 0-0 draw to qualify. The signs are that this will not be as open a game as the first leg, and betting on 0-0 at half-time at 7/4 looks the smart way to go.
Best Bet: 0-0 at half-time at 7/4
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