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Soccer Weekly Free Picks, Predictions Odds

Feb. 24, 2021
Toby Maxtone-Smith
Soccer Expert

Champions League Round of 16 First Legs Action

The UEFA Champions League Round of 16 continues on Tuesday Feb. 23 and Wednesday Feb. 24 as eight more teams will be in action.

Champions League Round of 16 Score Predictions

Wednesday, Feb. 24

Atalanta 2 Real Madrid 1
Borussia Mönchengladbach 0 Manchester City 3

Tuesday, Feb. 23

Atlético Madrid 0 Chelsea 0
Lazio 1 Bayern Munich 3

Champions League Round of 16 Best Bets

Wednesday, Feb. 24

Atalanta vs. Real Madrid

Score Prediction: Atalanta 2 Real Madrid 1

Tip: Atalanta to win at 13/10

Given the vast gulf in resources between Atalanta, an unfashionable provincial Italian side, and Real Madrid, arguably the biggest club in world football, it is extraordinary to see Atalanta 13/10 favourites.

But that is justified. Real are very hard to fancy, both in this tie and to win the competition.

They are overly reliant on Karim Benzema for goals, with youngsters Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo failing to fully convince yet, and their record in this competition since Cristiano Ronaldo left is very poor.

Atalanta almost made last year’s semi-finals, and there is a sense this year that they have become more streetwise, as shown by their decisive win at Ajax to qualify for the knockout stage.

Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. Manchester City

Score Prediction: Manchester City 3 Borussia Mönchengladbach 0

Tip: Manchester City -1.5 at 5/6

With the Premier League title all but sewn up there is real pressure on Manchester City to get to at least the final of the Champions League.

They will face tough tests along the way, but Borussia Mönchengladbach represent a fairly kind draw. The German side were impressive in the group stages but their defence looks way off the level needed to keep City out.

Amazingly they have not kept a single clean sheet in the league all season.

City will want to get this tie won in the first leg, and it was clear that they were conserving energy for this match during their 1-0 win at Arsenal on Sunday.

They have the squad to rotate without weakening their side.

A comfortable away win is the bet.

Tuesday, Feb. 23

Atlético Madrid vs. Chelsea

Score Prediction: Atlético Madrid 0 Chelsea 0

Tip: Under 1.5 goals at 7/4 (WIN)

Chelsea’s seven games under Thomas Tuchel have yielded just 11 goals, and given that they play against Europe’s foremost defence in Bucharest, Atlético Madrid, a low-scorer looks extremely likely.

That the first leg is happening at a neutral venue is a big reason why Chelsea are favourites for the tie, but home advantage has been negligible in Europe this year with no crowds.

Atléti top La Liga, and although their form has slightly dipped of late, they certainly make more appeal than Chelsea to qualify at 11/10.

However this might be a rare case where both sides are reasonably content with a 0-0, so backing few goals is probably the safest way to go.

Bayern Munich vs. Lazio

Score Prediction: Bayern Munich 3 Lazio 1

Tip: Bayern Munich to win and both teams to score at 2/1 (WIN)

Bayern are one of the two clear favourites for the Champions League but Lazio may be playing them at a decent time.

The German giants have taken only one point from their last two league games, even conceding three in a draw with lowly Arminia Bielefeld.

Lazio can definitely get on the scoresheet here, although Bayern’s superior experience and Lazio’s defensive naivety in Europe should mean an away win.

Bayern are going at 2.8 goals per game domestically; Lazio hit three at Atalanta and won the Rome derby 3-0 over the last month.

Bet on an entertaining Bayern win.

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