UEFA Champions League: Betting tips for second leg of quarterfinals
The UEFA Champions League quarterfinals continue this week as Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Benfica, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Chelsea, AC Milan and Napoli battle it out for a chance to advance to the semifinal.
So, what is the best advice for bettors looking to get in on the Champions League action this week? Paul Carr and Dalen Cuff break it all down for you here.
Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook
Napoli (-135), AC Milan (+380), Draw (+255)
AC Milan lead 1-0
Paul Carr: Regression has caught up with Napoli at the wrong time. After playing well and finishing hot all season, the Serie A leaders have two goals in their last four games, well below their (still disappointing) 4.1 expected goals. A big factor has been the absence of Victor Osimhen, who returned for the final 17 minutes of Saturday’s scoreless draw against Verona. Even if Osimhen is back at full strength, he’ll face a decent Milan defense that has surrendered more than 1.3 expected goals twice in 13 games since February. I anticipate another defensive struggle, and I’ll take under 2.5 goals at -135.
Dan Thomas: This is all about Victor Osimhen. He has been immense all season and it’s no coincidence that his injury coincided with a dip in Napoli’s form. He’s back for this tie and I think his mere presence will life the players and the crowd. Napoli (-135) to go through.
Chelsea (+185), Real Madrid (+140), Draw (+240)
Real Madrid lead 2-0
Carr: Frank Lampard hasn’t fixed the Chelsea attack. The Blues have lost all three games under their interim manager, getting outscored 5-1 and outshot 53-28. Real Madrid won’t allow many good chances and will do Real Madrid things to find a goal or two. After winning 5-2 at Liverpool in the first leg last round, Real Madrid limited the Reds to nine shots and 0.6 expected goals while grinding out a 1-0 victory. Look for more of the same here, and a routine Real Madrid win (+140).
Cuff: Chelsea are in shambles from the on-field product to the owner’s box. Paul laid out all the recent numbers. Madrid is out of the running in La Liga, the Championship League is their singular focus. I’m not trying to get too creative here either, Madrid wins this game +140.
Thomas: Football is a funny old game, but Chelsea advancing would take it to another level. They have been a disaster this season. Complacency could be the only thing that could bite Madrid but overall you have to go for a Madrid (+140) win.
Bayern Munich (+170), Man City (+140), Draw (+265)
Man City leads 3-0
Carr: This is the sort of match that can get weird in the second leg, with Man City holding a 3-0 lead and content with even a two-goal loss. After City’s dominant display in the first leg and Bayern’s dysfunction since then, I lean toward a City win (+140), perhaps in throttling fashion, making under 2.5 goals tempting at +135. I don’t think I could handle rooting against goals in a Bayern-City game though, and this will be a stay-away for me.
Cuff: City is just flying right now and I don’t think they are stopped by a Bayern team struggling to find their way since Thomas Tuchel took over. Coupled with the 3-0 deficit the Bavarians are in, I don’t think they’re going to just play to not get embarrassed. At home, they will still try to make a game of it and try to take the game to City but I think to no avail. City to win +140.
Inter Milan (+109), Benifca (+250), Draw (+235)
Inter Milan leads 2-0
Carr: Inter are in the midst of a bizarre stretch in which they have one point in their last five Serie A games, with two goals on 13 expected goals in that span. Conversely, in three UCL knockout games, Inter have outscored opponents 3-0 despite allowing 5.3 expected goals. I still think Benfica are as good or better, and they’ll be pressing for a goal while Inter parks the proverbial bus. I don’t mind under 2.5 goals (-130), but I’m taking a shot on Benfica to win this one (+250), in part because Inter is fine with a 1-0 Benfica win.
Thomas: This is going to be fun. Benfica have no choice but to go for it and I think they are good value for the win.
Former ESPN senior researcher Paul Carr is director of content for TruMedia.
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