Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:00 AM

CL Best Bets - Wednesday

UEFA Champions League - Matchday 6

Group Table

The Banker: Real Madrid vs. CSKA Moscow

The Champions League has been a rare bright spark in Real Madrid’s dismal season so far, and they have already sewn up Group G with a game to spare. There is still something to play for for their opponents, CSKA Moscow, who need to better Viktoria Plzen’s result against Roma to qualify for the Europa League.

Real’s only defeat came away to CSKA Moscow, who scored an early goal and somehow managed to keep their illustrious opponents out for the rest of the match. But Real are improving under temporary manager Santiago Solari, having won their last four games. Despite everything, they are only five points behind the La Liga leaders Barcelona and will go into 2019 on the hunt for trophies.

In three of those last four victories, Real did not concede. CSKA barely threatened after their early goal in Russia, and a bet on Real to win to nil at 11/10 looks an appealing selection.

Tip: Real Madrid to win to nil at 11/10
Prediction: Real Madrid 3-0 CSKA Moscow

The Solid Bet: Manchester City vs. Hoffenheim

Manchester City still need a point to guarantee top spot in Group F, where they have looked more vulnerable than in the Premier League. They are three points ahead of Lyon but lose the head-to-head with the French side. Hoffenheim, their opponents, are bottom but can edge into the Europa League if they win and Shakhtar Donetsk lose.

Hoffenheim's Champions League matches have produced 4.4 goals each on average, and they have been scoring and conceding freely in the Bundesliga as well. They troubled Manchester City in the reverse fixture, which City turned around to win 2-1.

City lost their first league game of the season away to Chelsea, and while the performance was not bad, Pep Guardiola will be looking for a reaction tonight. Although he will field a weakened team, do not expect any let up in intensity from City. If they score early and Hoffenheim’s chances of finishing third are extinguished, expect the English champions to rack up a big scoreline.

Tip: Manchester City -2.5 at 27/20
Prediction: Manchester City 4-1 Hoffenheim

The Outsider: Ajax vs. Bayern Munich

Ajax have been a revelation in this year’s Champions League, and they can finish the group stage in stunning style by beating Bayern Munich and topping the section.

Ajax come into this match on the back of a 15-match unbeaten run, 13 of which were wins. This run also includes a 1-1 draw in Munich in the reverse fixture - a game where Ajax looked the team more likely to get the three points. Bayern’s inconsistent start to the season seems to have ended, and they were mightily impressive in a 5-1 thrashing of Benfica in their last Champions League game. However despite a good recent run of results, they still look defensively uncertain.

Despite not actually winning the Eredivisie last season, Ajax have put together an excellent young squad that will no doubt be picked apart by clubs in bigger leagues in the summer. At 14/5 they look good value to seal a famous win against Bayern Munich.

Tip: Ajax at 14/5
Prediction: Ajax 2-1 Bayern Munich

The First Goalscorer: Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Lyon

Shakhtar Donetsk take on Lyon in the key clash in Group F. Lyon qualify with a draw. They win the group if they win and Manchester City do not win against Hoffenheim. For Shakhtar, it is a simple win-or-bust situation. And though Lyon have looked the more impressive team in this year’s competition - the two sides’ contrasting results against Manchester City being the most clear example - Shakhtar have the firepower to give Lyon a scare.

Their main man is Junior Moraes. The Brazilian has scored 14 times in 17 games in the Ukrainian league, including three in his last two matches. He has also scored twice in the Champions League. Shakhtar are always an attacking team anyway, and Moraes should get quite a few chances in a match Shakhtar desperately need to win.

At 9/2 he is a good bet to score first.

Tip: Junior Moraes to score first at 9/2
Prediction: Shakhtar Donetsk 2-2 Lyon

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