Madrid to make a Real mess of Liverpool

Backing odds-on favourites on the road in UEFA Champions League games is something from which one shies away but sometimes it is worth bending one’s punting rules.

Liverpool is playing Real Madrid in UEFA Champions League Group B action at Anfield and the Reds, which should have lost their English Premier League road match versus Queens Park Rangers on Sunday, are begging one to oppose them.

As Luis Suarez prepares to make his Barcelona debut in El Clasico later this week, his replacement, Mario Balotelli, looks like the biggest waste of money since bottled water. Balotelli has yet to score an English Premier League goal for Liverpool and, at the other end of the field, another expensive Reds recruit, Dejan Lovren, is struggling also.

Anfield is famous for its European nights and the visit of Real Madrid for the first time since the Reds thrashed the Meringues 4-0 in 2009 is the undoubted highlight of this week’s UEFA Champions League program. At odds of 1.85 with William Hill, Real Madrid represents excellent value to gain revenge for its heavy loss five years ago.

Liverpool has kept just one clean sheet in its 11 matches across all competitions this season – the Reds won 3-0 at Tottenham in the English Premier League – so one does not like its chance of shutting out Real Madrid’s attack.

Real Madrid has won each of its last seven games across all competitions, scoring 32 goals in the process, including at least five goals in four of those matches. Compare the UEFA Champions League Group B scores of Real Madrid and Liverpool against pool rivals Basel and Ludogorets and the Meringues come out well ahead of the Reds, with the Anfield mob losing 0-1 at Basel and requiring a stoppage-time Steven Gerrard penalty kick to finally put pay to Ludogorets at home.

Liverpool has not produced one convincing home performance since Suarez joined Barcelona in the aftermath of his FIFA World Cup disgrace, whereas Real Madrid is close to being the world’s hottest club team. The opportunity to support Real Madrid at not far off even money is too good to miss.

One thinks that there is no shortage of value on the UEFA Champions League coupon, with Roma and Zenit appealing at big odds to beat Bayern Munchen and Leverkusen respectively.

Bayern Munchen is trading at ridiculous odds for its UEFA Champions League Group E game at Roma. Yes, Bayern Munchen has won five matches on the spin, it has not conceded a goal for 748 minutes and it is unbeaten in 11 games. But Bayern Munchen’s six away matches this term have included a 0-2 loss at Dortmund, a 0-0 draw at Hamburg and a 1-1 draw at Schalke, plus it failed to defeat either Manchester United or Real Madrid on the road in the latter stages of last season’s UEFA Champions League tournament.

And it is not as though Roma’s recent record is shabby. Roma has lost only to Juventus this term – 2-3 in Turin, with Juve netting its winning goal in the 86th minute – and it has won each of its last five home games. Indeed, Roma has lost just once at home since the beginning of last term.

William Hill is outrageously offering odds of +300  that Roma beats Bayern Munchen in the Eternal City. Why, 888sport and Unibet are offering odds of -118  that Roma does not lose to Bayern Munchen. Both odds are higher than they should be.

One loves Leverkusen and its devil-may-care approach under Roger Schmidt but one cannot believe that Boylesports is offering odds of +380  that the German Bundesliga team trips up at home to UEFA Champions League Group C rival Zenit.

Zenit has demonstrated on many occasions, both in domestic and continental competitions, that it is, arguably, more effective on the road than it is playing on home soil.

One can see Zenit experiencing joy on the counter attack at Leverkusen and, based on the four results in UEFA Champions League Group C so far, one would argue that Zenit has gone slightly better than Leverkusen. One does not have an issue with Leverkusen being the favourite but it is far too short.

Tips Summary

Real Madrid to beat Liverpool
22nd October 19:45 GMT
Odds:  -118
Where to Bet: William Hill

Roma to beat Bayern Munich
21st October 19:45 GMT
Odds:  +300
Where to Bet: William Hill

Zenit to beat Leverkusen
22nd October 19:45 GMT
Odds:  +380
Where to Bet: Boylesports

Champions League
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