CL Best Bets - Round of 16
March 12, 2018
By Toby Maxtone-Smith
Round of 16 Betting Results
UEFA Champions League Round of 16 - Second Legs
There are 12 teams left in this year’s Champions League as we approach the last week of last 16 matches. This week promises three close ties, while one was settled in the first leg.
Last week’s second legs saw two of Europe’s biggest clubs, Real Madrid and Juvetus, show all the experience necessary to progress through difficult ties. Real Madrid scored a highly impressive 5-2 aggregate win over antepost favourites Paris Saint-Germain, while Juventus staged an inspiring comeback to beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 after the London club had gone into the second leg as favourites following a 2-2 draw in Turin.
Otherwise Manchester City lost 2-1 to Basel, but a 4-0 win in the first leg made that irrelevant. The same goes for Liverpool’s 0-0 draw with FC Porto: they went one better and won 5-0 away from home.
Tuesday, Mar. 13
Games scheduled for 3:45 p.m. ET on FS1 & FS2
Manchester United vs. Sevilla
Sevilla were viewed as extremely unlucky to draw 0-0 in the first leg, with Jose Mourinho’s defensive tactics receiving plenty of criticism. It would be very tempting, therefore, to take Sevilla at 11/2, or at 2/1 to qualify given that an away goal makes things very awkward indeed for Manchester United.
However in the last three games, United have shown the battling spirit they were famous for at this stage of the season under Sir Alex Ferguson. Comeback victories against Chelsea and Crystal Palace were followed by a controlled victory over Liverpool. Sevilla lost 2-0 at Leicester last season to suffer elimination at this stage, a round of the competition which seems beyond them after falling at the same hurdle on three occasions.
United are value here.
Best Bet: Manchester United to win 2-0 at 13/2
Roma vs. Shakhtar Donetsk
Shakhtar Donetsk and Roma served up an excellent match in the first leg, with the Ukranian side edging it 2-1, and we could be in for more exciting football in the return match.
It was a true game of two halves, with Roma deservedly going in 1-0 up, but lucky to escape with a 2-1 defeat after Shakhtar dominated the first half as Roma’s defence creaked.
Roma have won just three of their last ten home Champions League matches, but their 3-0 win over Chelsea in the group stages showed that they can turn it on when the pressure is really on. And with Edin Dzeko up front the hosts are still a major attacking threat.
Nonetheless, Shakhtar’s first leg performance indicated that they will be threatening in the Stadio Olimpico, so a high-scoring game looks likely.
Best Bet: Roma to win and both teams to score at 21/10
Wednesday, Mar. 14
Games scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET and 3:45 p.m. ET on FS2 & FS1
Besiktas vs. Bayern Munich
This is the least interesting tie of the week. Besiktas, having surprisingly won a difficult group, were handed the rotten task of Bayern Munich in the last 16, and were duly dispatched 5-0 at the Allianz Arena, meaning they are 100/1 outsiders to make it through to the quarter-finals, in what would surely be the greatest upset in the competition’s history.
Bayern are taking a weakened squad to Istanbul, and even with the hopeless situation Besiktas are in, they will be playing for pride in front of an ultra-partisan crowd, hence the reasonably short 9/2 price available on the hosts.
But even a depleted Bayern team has enough depth to be far superior to the best Turkey has to offer. They are unlikely to push too hard for a big win, so a narrow 2-1 win is the best way to play this.
Best Bet: Bayern Munich to win 2-1 at 15/2
Barcelona vs. Chelsea
The most intriguing second leg of the week sees Chelsea retur n to the place were they staged one of their greatest ever unlikely wins, securing a 2-2 draw in 2012 with 10 men to knock Barcelona out in the Champions League semi-finals.
And despite fears among Chelsea fans that this tie would turn out much more one-sided in Barcelona’s favour, the Blues gave a good account of themselves at Stamford Bridge, and were unlucky to draw 1-1. Willian hit the post twice as well as scoring, while Barcelona’s goal came from Chelsea’s only defensive slip of the 90 minutes.
Barcelona took a while to get going at Stamford Bridge, and while they are likely to get into the swing of things quicker here, Chelsea have a knack of putting on good defensive displays when it matters. They need to score, but they will not go too attacking initially. A 0-0 draw at half-time might suit both sides, and at 12/5 it looks a good bet.
Best Bet: 0-0 at half-time at 12/5
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