CL Best Bets - Quarterfinals
April 9, 2018
By Toby Maxtone-Smith
UEFA Champions League Quarterfinals - Second Legs
The first legs of this year’s Champions League quarterfinals yielded four decisive results. Of the four winners, Liverpool are the longest odds to go through at 1/6. Usually this stage of the tournament contains some of the tightest ties; not this time, it seems.
Liverpool had one of their great European nights in a 3-0 win over Manchester City, while a Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Real Madrid beat Juventus by the same scoreline. Bayern Munich survived an early scare to come back and win 2-1 away to Sevilla, while Barcelona dispatched AS Roma 4-1.
Barça and Real Madrid are now joint favourites at 9/4, with Bayern Munich available at 10/3 and Liverpool 11/2. Manchester City are 16/1 to come back against Liverpool and then go on and win the whole thing, with none of the other teams given a sniff in the betting.
Tuesday, Apr. 10
Games scheduled for 2:45 p.m. ET on FS1 & FS2
Manchester City vs. Liverpool
In the space of just four days, Manchester City’s miraculous season suddenly looks set to come to a pedestrian end. They put in a poor display to lose 3-0 at Liverpool, with Pep Guardiola’s team selection coming in for criticism, before spurning the chance to win the title at home to their bitterest rivals, Manchester United, who turned around a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2.
That lack of an away goal at Anfield is what is likely to finish City off here. Liverpool know that, to beat Manchester City, they have to attack, and the 3-0 scoreline from the first leg is unlikely to deter Jürgen Klopp from this principle.
With City having conceded three times in both of their last two games, it is unlikely that Liverpool will fail to hit the back of the net. If they do, City would need five. They remain a better team than Liverpool, who would of course gratefully take a narrow defeat. City to win with both teams scoring looks like the bet here.
Best Bet: Manchester City to win and both teams to score at 6/4.
AS Roma vs. Barcelona
Barcelona look to have done the hard work in their quarter-final and the second leg against Roma should be a formality at the Stadio Olimpico.
They have already shown a fair amount of caution away in Europe this year: they dug out a 0-0 draw away to Juventus and seemed happy with a 1-1 draw away to Chelsea in the last 16. This suggests that the odds-on price about Barcelona might be too short in a match they do not need to win. And Roma showed their expected flashes of excellence going forward in the Camp Nou.
Barcelona are a much more functional team under Ernesto Valverde, and in Roma they face an opposition who will not roll over for them despite the bleak circumstances. The Italian side can regain some pride and claim a draw.
Best Bet: Draw at 7/2
Wednesday, Apr. 11
Games scheduled for 2:45 p.m. ET on FS1 & FS2
Bayern Munich vs. Sevilla
Bayern carry a slender lead back to Bavaria for the second leg Sevilla. But this is a side with a formidable home record in both domestic and European competitions this season, so the thin lead is as good as a massive lead. Sevilla, a spirited but ordinary team by the standards of the Champions League quarter-finals, will consider their chances blown after surrendering a 1-0 lead in the first leg.
Bayern have hit five or more in four of their last six home games in all competitions, including a 6-0 thrashing of Borussia Dortmund. Though Sevilla might be a more organised unit than Dortmund, it is not hard to foresee a comfortable home win here, especially given that the first leg margin of victory was narrow enough that Bayern cannot risk fielding a weakened team. They should win easily.
Best Bet: Bayern Munich -2.5 at 6/4
Real Madrid vs. Juventus
After finishing second to Tottenham Hotspur in the group stages, those with short memories were writing off this Real Madrid side as contenders for this year’s Champions League.
Now they have turfed out one-time favourites Paris Saint-Germain, and now look almost certain to eliminate Juventus, Los Blancos are favourites for the competition and look back to their old selves.
Juventus are a magnificent team at this level, but they are not suited to chasing a deficit away from home, least of all after a 3-0 loss. Should this game stay goalless for the first half an hour, it is likely that Juventus will know that their chance has gone, allowing a confident and in-form Real side to start to dictate the play. They look good value to win here - and good value to win the whole thing.
Best Bet: Real Madrid to win at 8/13
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