Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:02 AM

CL Best Bets - Tuesday

UEFA Champions League - Matchday 2

Group Table

The Banker: Real Madrid to beat CSKA Moscow at 3/5

Spanish teams tend not to travel well in Russia - one of the longest possible trips for any team in UEFA competitions to make. CSKA Moscow have drawn three – including one draw against Real – and have won one of their four matches against La Liga opposition.

But many of those matches came in November and December, when conditions are about as un-Spanish as possible, and at any bigger than 1/2 Real Madrid look a value bet to win here.

They are missing several key players through injury. Marcelo, Isco and Gareth Bale are all unavailable, while Julen Lopategui has confirmed that Sergio Ramos will be rested. But Real’s 3-0 home win over Roma on matchday one showed that they will have far too much class for this group.

Real’s midfield trio of Luka Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos will create huge numbers of chances while limiting the possibilities of CSKA getting on the scoresheet.

CSKA could only draw away to Viktoria Plzen last time out in a game they really needed to win to have much chance of qualifying. They should be overwhelmed here.

Score Prediction: CSKA Moscow 0-2 Real Madrid

The Solid Bet: Manchester City -1.5 vs Hoffenheim at 1/1

An easy looking draw may not turn out to be that simple for Manchester City after their shock opening day defeat to Lyon. Pep Guardiola’s men were lethargic in that loss, but have followed it up with convincing wins over Cardiff and Brighton in the league and Oxford United in the League Cup.

Had City beaten Lyon, Guardiola may have taken this game as a chance to rest key players ahead of Sunday’s titanic showdown at Liverpool, but he cannot afford to do that now.

Instead their approach will be to get the job done quickly before taking off their most important players.

Hoffenheim, in their Champions League group-stage debut season, are missing five centre-backs, and there seems little prospect of them repeating their impressive result on matchday one when they drew away to Shakhtar Donetsk.

The German side have not kept a clean sheet this season, and City should be able to get their European campaign back on track with a comfortable win.

Prediction: Hoffenheim 0-3 Manchester City

The Outsider: Valencia draw no bet at Manchester United at 11/4

A defeat here for Manchester United after their 3-1 reverse at West Ham would be an unmitigated disaster and could leave Jose Mourinho fighting for his job at the weekend against Newcastle.

This match will be high on tension - and likely low on goals. The result is everything for United, and he would gladly settle for an ugly 1-0 win. But confidence in the “Special One’s” long term prospects are fading fast, and it would not be a surprise if Valencia dealt United yet another blow here.

Valencia have had a dodgy start to the season and were winless in seven games until they edged past Real Sociedad 1-0 on Saturday. That result lifted them up to 11th in La Liga and they are under early pressure in the Champions League after losing 2-0 at home to Juventus on matchday one. This matters hugely to them too.

Their defeat to Juventus was particularly disappointing given they played against 10 men for 61 minutes, but they had far more shots than their opponents, and it would only take a slight improvement in finishing for them to seriously trouble United here.

United were knocked out of the Champions League by La Liga opposition in Sevilla last year. They won 2-1 at Old Trafford, and that same scoreline might be the shrewd bet here.

Prediction: Manchester United 1-2 Valencia

The First Goalscorer: Junior Moraes for Shakhtar Donetsk at Lyon at 13/2

Lyon and Shakhtar Donetsk should produce a cracker in France here. Lyon can afford to play freely after their win against Manchester City, while naturally attacking Shakhtar are in need of points after dropping two at home to Hoffenheim.

Shakhtar look slightly better value here. Lyon played very intelligently against Manchester City, but it was a match where they were never expected to dominate, and there is a chance complacency could set in against Shakhtar, who are very experienced in the Champions League. And in Junior Moraes, the Ukrainian side have a regular goalscorer who is great value to get on the scoresheet first at 13/2.

The Brazilian has scored nine in ten in the Ukrainian league this year, including one in his side’s 6-1 demolition of Karpaty Lviv last time out. He looks an inspired signing on a free transfer from deadly rivals Dynamo Kiev, and he could be the difference here.

Prediction: Lyon 2-2 Shakhtar Donetsk

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