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CL Best Bets - Semifinals
UEFA Champions League Semifinals - First Legs

And then there were four. The quarterfinals of the Champions League produced some stunning surprises from the most unlikely of circumstances. After the first four matches, the line-up for the semifinals looked pretty much set, but Roma’s comeback against Barcelona changed all that, upending the better for the whole competition.

Manchester City looked like staging a comeback against Liverpool before the Reds roared back to win the second leg 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium, while Real Madrid came within a whisker of being taken to extra time after taking a 3-0 lead against Juventus back to the Spanish capital. Even Bayern Munich could only get past Sevilla by one goal.

Real are 15/8 favourites, followed by Liverpool and Bayern at 9/4 apiece, with Roma the outsiders at 9/1.

Tuesday, April 24
Games scheduled for 2:45 p.m. ET on FS1

Liverpool vs. AS Roma

Anfield’s reputation as a European fortress has been strengthened by Liverpool’s Champions League displays so far this season, but in Roma, the English side may have found a team that will not crumble under the pressure.

Bookmakers make Liverpool over three times more likely to win the competition, and that is no reflection of the small gap between the two sides, and even with Liverpool’s fearsome attack and their knack of winning matches in the first half hour, it is impossible to get behind them at quotes of 8/15.

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Liverpool have scored in 22 of their 25 home games this season so they will expect to take a lead to Rome for next week's second leg.

But this promises to be no walkover. It was not only against Barcelona that Roma proved their European credentials. In a 3-3 draw away and a 3-0 win at home to Chelsea, they proved that they can mix it with Europe’s elite and come out on top. Roma deserved to qualify against Barcelona and are underrated here.

Their defence lacks pace, a quality much needed against the likes of Mo Salah and Sadio Mané, but they have moved to a three at the back system to compensate for this, and even if Liverpool get past the defence, keeper Alisson is a superb shotstopper.

They can make it an uncomfortable night for Liverpool.

Best Bet: Roma +1 at 11/10
Wednesday, April 25
Games scheduled for 2:45 p.m. ET on FS1

Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid

Just when you thought Real Madrid’s La Liga form was an aberration and that they were showing their true, winning colours in Europe, they came along and almost surrended a 3-0 lead to Juventus, with only a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty saving their blushes.

Real were as good in Turin as they were bad in Madrid, making the tie very hard to judge. Perhaps the one conclusion we can draw is that they are not as rock solid as we thought.

Bayern and Real are the best two teams left in the competition. Had Bayern drawn Roma they would have been favourites to win the competition.

Real are slight favourites to qualify at 4/5, with Bayern at 19/20, and I think it is worth taking the chance on Real putting in another devastating away Champions League performance and winning in Bavaria. They have won eight of their last 10 away games in this competition, including a 2-1 win at Bayern last season with Cristiano Ronaldo taking centre-stage.That run includes wins at Juventus, PSG, Borussia Dortmund and Napoli.

Bayern have not reached a Champions League final since 2013, despite being one of the three or four favourites in every season since then. Real could have the edge here, and it is worth backing them at 14/5.

Best Bet: Real Madrid to win at 14/5



  
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