There’s another week of great Champions League betting in store, but it could be a tough one for punters with three very evenly-balanced ties. Like Liverpool and Manchester City last week, Bayern Munich are all but through after their 5-0 demolition of Besiktas, but the likes of Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester United, Roma and Sevilla have it all to play for.
Chelsea and Barcelona drew 1-1 at Stamford Bridge in the first leg to leave the return match at the Nou Camp on a knife edge. The Catalan club are obvious favourites but the Blues have drawn on their last four visits to Barca, so it is by no means a foregone conclusion. David de Gea performed heroics to help Manchester United draw 0-0 away at Sevilla, and although they are also favourites to win on home soil, the lack of a first leg away goal could make the Red Devils vulnerable. Roma are in a worse position than the sides mentioned as they trail 2-1 from their first leg against Shakhtar Donetsk. The advantage of that away goal is offset by the defeat, but it is yet another tie which is well-poised.
We’re avoiding the Bayern Munich dead rubber this week and concentrating on the three games which are all up for grabs.
Despite Chelsea’s good recent history at Barcelona, we’re going out on a limb and backing Barca to beat a -1.5 Asian Handicap at odds of +119 with BetVictor.
Messi & Co. had a lot of the ball at Stamford Bridge in the first leg but were largely subdued by an organized and effective Blues’ side. Willian hit the post twice for Chelsea before giving them a deserved lead, but Leo Messi hit back to claim the draw and an all-important away goal.
Antonio Conte will be aiming for another night of tactical discipline, but the task is far harder at the Nou Camp and Chelsea’s recent travels do not inspire confidence. The Blues have lost the last four away games in a row and find themselves four points adrift of the top four in the Premier League. Those defeats have come at Arsenal (Carabao Cup), Watford, and both Manchester City and United. It is evident that three of those sides are among the top clubs in the English top-flight and Chelsea have come up short against each of them. In the group stages, Chelsea came from behind to snatch an excellent 2-1 win at Atletico Madrid away from home, but they were also humiliated 3-0 away at Roma just a few weeks later.
Barcelona are cruising at the top of La Liga and look to have the title almost wrapped up but the Champions League remains a key target – especially after watching bitter rivals Real Madrid win the last two in a row. As you would expect, Barca’s home form has been impeccable this season. They are yet to lose at the Nou Camp this term and have won 11 of 13 in La Liga on home soil. During the group stages, they beat Juventus 3-0, Sporting 2-0, and Olympiakos 3-1, covering the Asian Handicap on each occasion.
More straightforward, the next bet is Manchester United to win their tie at Old Trafford against Sevilla at odds of -164 with 888Sport.
After the 2-1 win against Liverpool in the Premier League over the weekend, Jose Mourinho’s men are a clear second in the table, four points ahead of third-placed Spurs. That brought up United’s 5th home win in a row – a sequence which also includes a 2-1 win over Chelsea. Those games are good markers ahead of this one, and a similar level of performance should see the Red Devils through.
Sevilla’s best chance of success in the tie overall would have been to take a lead in the first leg but they simply couldn’t find a way past de Gea. They will be much more on the back foot on Tuesday night and will need to rely on swift breaks to try and find goals. The Spanish side has been better on the road this term than in recent seasons, but during the group stages they drew at Liverpool and Maribor, and were thumped 5-1 away at Spartak Moscow.
Finally, in search of big odds and a decen payout, we’re backing Roma to win a match in which both teams score at odds of +210 with Betway
Both found the net – as tipped here – in the first leg but it was Shakhtar who ran out the winners with a 2-1 victory. Both sides are prolific goalscorers and it would be no great surprise to see more goals when they meet on Tuesday night.
The task for Roma is simple – they must win in order to qualify. A single goal victory would take them through on away goals, a 2-1 win would take the game to extra-time, but if Shakhtar score more than once, Roma would need a two-goal victory to overcome the away goal rule. The Ukranian side will be doing their best to find the net in this match to create a situation where Roma need to score at least two. It could be one of those matches where the pendulum swings back and forward as either team moves into the ascendancy, but Roma are fancied to make home advantage count.
Barcelona -1.5 to beat Chelsea (Asian Handicap)
Wednesday 14th March, 19:45 GMT
Manchester United to beat Sevilla
Tuesday 13th March, 19:45 GMT
Roma to beat Shakhtar and both teams to score
Tuesday 13th March, 19:45 GMT
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