Backing favourites is the way to approach the UEFA Champions League matches but, if one had to nominate one of the teams as the best of the bets, it would be Barcelona to get the better of Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou on Tuesday.
Barcelona failed to beat Atletico Madrid in any of their six meetings across all competitions during the season in which the Mattressers won the Spanish Primera Division but Barca have turned the tables on their rivals since then. Barcelona has won each of its six league and cup games versus Atletico and the Mattressers have imploded in two of those matches, ending a couple of clashes with nine players – however, one should note that the dismissals occurred after Barca had assumed control and established their winning leads.
One cannot think of a worse time to visit Camp Nou then just three days following a Barcelona home loss to a 10-man Real Madrid in which Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winning goal five minutes before the end. Saturday’s 1-2 Spanish Primera Division reverse was Barcelona’s first defeat in its last 40 games in various tournaments and one is expecting a positive reaction from Barca’s superstars against Atletico Madrid.
Containment is Atletico Madrid’s strength – for example, it has kept 19 clean sheets in its 31 Spanish Primera Division matches – but Barcelona has found the back of the net in 49 of its 52 games across all events and not since February 2015 have Barca failed to score on a home assignment. One cannot see Atletico shutting out Barcelona and, therefore, Barca rate as a fair wager at odds of -189 with Totesport, William Hill and Coral.
If one is looking to strike a bigger priced bet on Barcelona beating Atletico Madrid then one should consider backing Barca to win by a one-goal margin at odds of +250 with SkyBet. Each of Barcelona’s last five victories over Atletico have been by the most slender of margins and the Mattressers have not lost a match by two-plus goals since February 2015.
Real Madrid is the reason that Barcelona is likely to come out breathing fire versus Atletico Madrid and one likes the Meringues at odds of -137 with Bet365 and Paddy Power to win their UEFA Champions League game at Wolfsburg on Wednesday.
Saturday’s 2-1 Spanish Primera Division victory at Barcelona was Zinedine Zidane’s finest match as Real Madrid coach and the Meringues should have too much firepower for a Wolfsburg side that has regressed since selling its best player, Kevin De Bruyne, to Manchester City in August. That Wolfsburg has made it through to the UEFA Champions League last eight has considerably more to do with its soft draw – it was grouped with CSKA Moskva, Manchester United and PSV and it faced Gent in the first knockout round – than its quality.
Both Real Madrid and Wolfsburg have struggled against their respective major domestic foes but the Meringues have earned four points from their Spanish Primera Division road trips to Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, whereas the Wolves have lost their three German Bundesliga matches versus Bayern Munchen and Dortmund – two of them by wide margins.
Real Madrid is not the sort of team that is likely to play cautiously in a UEFA Champions League first leg away from home against a side such as Wolfsburg – the Meringues ran into Schalke in last term’s knockout stage and won the game in Gelsenkirchen 2-0. There is a gulf in class between Real Madrid and Wolfsburg and one expects it to show this week.
Finally, Manchester City’s English Premier League record in matches featuring top teams is dreadful and so the Citizens are unlikely to derive any job from their UEFA Champions League game at Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.
Manchester City is 1-3-9 in its 13 English Premier League matches versus sides positioned higher than 10th on the ladder, including being 0-3-4 in such away games. Vincent Kompany is only one of Manchester City’s probable absentees and he is far and away its best central defender. It is all about the UEFA Champions League for Paris Saint-Germain now that it has wrapped up the French Ligue 1 title and odds of -143 with Bet365 and BetVictor are more than acceptable.
Bayern Munchen is the other UEFA Champions League favourite but it did not make one’s list at odds of around -500 – Pep Guardiola’s team should defeat Benfica but it is coming off a German Bundesliga performance that was one of its worst.
Barcelona to beat Atletico Madrid
Tuesday 5th April, 19:45 GMT
Real Madrid to beat Wolfsburg
Wednesday 6th April, 19:45 GMT
PSG to beat Manchester City
Wednesday 6th April, 19:45 GMT
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