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Dortmund has pulled itself away from the German Bundesliga relegation zone by winning three matches in a row but one cannot believe the odds that bookmakers are offering about BVB losing their UEFA Champions League game at Juventus.
Juventus, the Italian Serie A leader that is unbeaten in its last 21 matches across all competitions, is trading at odds of +110 with several bookmakers, including Bet365, Betfred and WilliamHill, to extend its unbeaten home streak that dates back to March 2013 with a victory over Dortmund. Odds against about Juventus, which has won 38, drawn nine and lost zero of its last 47 home games, defeating a flawed Dortmund team is far too big – Juve should be odds on.
Dortmund’s confidence must remain brittle in spite of its three German Bundesliga wins on the spin. None of the sides that Dortmund has beaten in recent weeks is ranked higher than 11th on the German Bundesliga ladder so BVB have been bashing some of the division’s lesser lights and conceding quite a few goals in the process – both Mainz and Stuttgart scored twice. Dortmund’s players appear to be an intelligent bunch – witness how they spoke with supporters after some of their most disappointing home performances – so surely they know that their recent victories, while important in terms of German Bundesliga survival, have come at the expense of teams that are not in the same class as Juventus.
Remarkably, Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League match will be the first meeting of Juventus and Dortmund since the 1997 final in which BVB upset the odds, beating Juve 3-1. One thinks that Juventus will avenge that loss 18 years ago.
Arsenal hit the jackpot when it drew Monaco in the UEFA Champions League knockout stage and one thinks that the high-scoring Gunners will have too much ammunition for their low-scoring guest at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.
French Ligue 1 has a reputation for being light on goals but Monaco is taking that to extremes. Monaco has scored just 26 goals in its 25 French Ligue 1 games, a tally that only four bottom-half sides have not matched or bettered. Admittedly, Monaco’s defence has conceded a French Ligue 1-low 19 goals but Leonardo Jardim’s team rode its luck throughout the UEFA Champions League group stage, progressing despite hitting the back of the net only four times in its six matches.
Arsenal has won each of its last nine home games across all competitions and Gunners fans would argue that their side really ought to be undefeated at the Emirates Stadium this season. Many bookmakers, including Boylesports and PaddyPower, are listing Arsenal at odds of -189 to beat Monaco in the firs leg of their UEFA Champions League tie – not as attractive as Juventus but quite good looking.
Anyone betting on the UEFA Champions League match between Manchester City and Barcelona at Etihad Stadium on Tuesday must note that Yaya Toure is suspended. With few exceptions, Manchester City’s performances without Toure have been poor so bookmakers are right to have installed Barcelona as the UEFA Champions League last-16 first-leg favourite. Toure is Manchester City’s most influential player and his absence from English Premier League games during the CAF Africa Cup of Nations may end up being the reason why the Citizens do not get the better of Chelsea in the championship race.
The value play in the UEFA Champions League match between Manchester City and Barcelona is Barca to win and both teams to score, which is available at odds of +325 with Bwin.
Barcelona to beat Man City and BTTS
24th February 19:45 GMT
Where to Bet: Bwin
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