Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:02 AM

CL Best Bets - Wednesday

UEFA Champions League - Matchday 2

Group Table

The Banker: Barcelona to win at Tottenham Hotspur at 1/1

Tottenham caused quite a stir in last year’s Champions League by topping a group involving Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund. But after their opening round defeat to Inter Milan, a repeat looks unlikely.

That is particularly true given the state in which they approach their match at home to Barcelona. When they beat Real Madrid at home, it was Dele Alli who was among the main heroes, but he is injured for this match. Crucially Christian Eriksen is also unavailable after failing to recover from abdominal strain which sidelined him at Huddersfield.

Mousa Dembélé is also out, and so Tottenham will be fielding almost a reserve midfield against one of the best teams in Europe. This is particularly problematic given Eric Dier’s poor start to the season.

While Barcelona have some defensive worries with Samuel Umtiti and Sergi Roberto both out, Lionel Messi should be well rested after starting from the bench in Barça’s last match.

Spurs were outclassed the last time they came up against a top class attack - the 2-1 defeat to Liverpool - and a repeat here is likely.

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 1-3 Barcelona

The Solid Bet: Inter Milan to win at PSV Eindhoven at 29/20

Inter Milan were behind for long periods against Tottenham in their first Champions League match in five years, but their comeback to win 2-1 will have given them enormous confidence, and there is now a good chance that they can qualify from a difficult-looking group.

They face PSV Eindhoven away from home. PSV, the Dutch champions, will regard this as their easiest game of the six, but they were outclassed by Barcelona and are outsiders here at 2/1, with Inter 29/20.

Luciano Spalletti is treating this competition very seriously: Inter rested the bulk of their first choice players for the 2-0 win against Cagliari at the weekend. They have won five of their last six matches in all competitions.

PSV have made a good start to their domestic season. Their 3-0 win over Ajax was a particular highlight. But they were so far behind Barcelona on the opening night that it is hard to see how they can compete with Europe’s best. Inter can claim a vital win here.

Prediction: PSV Eindhoven 1-2 Inter Milan

The Outsider: Lokomotiv Moscow to beat Schalke 04 at 11/4

CSKA Moscow’s shock 1-0 win over Real Madrid on Tuesday night taught us not to underestimate Russian teams at home, and their city rivals Lokomotiv can make it a perfect week for Russian teams in the Champions League by seeing off Schalke 04.

Schalke were very impressive last season, finishing a clear second in the Bundesliga behind Bayern Munich, but the departure of main man Leon Goretzka to the champions has hurt them badly and they find themselves in the relegation zone after six matches. They have won just two of their opening matches in all competitions.

Lokomotiv, however, are weakened by the absence of key striker Fyodor Smolov, who missed a penalty in Russia’s World Cup shootout defeat to Croatia. Experienced midfielder Igor Denisov is also likely to miss out.

Although Lokomotiv were outclassed by Galatasaray in a 3-0 defeat on matchday one, they may find things easier going on home soil. Schalke look unworthy favourites at 6/5, and Lokomotiv are value to claim an important win.

Prediction: Lokomotiv Moscow 1-0 Schalke 04

The First Goalscorer: Marco Reus for Borussia Dortmund vs Monaco

Borussia Dortmund top the Bundesliga table after six matches and are a perfect three from three at the Westfalenstadion, scoring 14 home goals, including a 7-0 thrasing of Nürnberg. They are 4/11 favourites to beat Monaco on Wednesday night, and it is easy to see why.

Monaco have made a desperate start to their Ligue 1 season. They lie 18th with just one win from eight matches and have already lost to heavyweights Bordeaux and Marseille. Their only win came way back on 11th August away to Nantes.

Marco Reus looks the best bet to score first here at 4/1. He has already scored four times in the league this season, including three in his last four matches - games in which Dortmund racked up an incredible 11 goals. He has been blighted by injuries in the last two seasons but looks back to his best, and he can lead the charge for Dortmund in what looks like a high scoring game.

Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Monaco

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