Man Under Pressure: We are looking at the shots on the Barcelona keeper in the Champions League as value and feel there is lots of it.
Several bookmakers have gone to town on the UEFA Champions League semi-final ties between German and Spanish sides but some of them may end up regretting their statistics markets.
No offence to Dortmund and Real Madrid but it is the matches between Bayern Munchen and Barcelona that have football fans away from the Ruhr Valley and Spanish capital licking their lips in anticipation. The UEFA Champions League semi-final draw was always going to throw up a genuine blockbuster and the tie between the German Bundesliga title winner and the Spanish La Liga champion-elect promises to be a ripper.
BetVictor, the online bookmaking firm of legendary British bookmaker Victor Chandler, has come up with odds on the number of shots on target that Bayern has against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg at the Allianz Arena. The market is trading at odds of around 5-4 for fewer than seven, evens for more than seven and 5-1 for seven exactly. There seems to be value in the over option.
Bayern has had 90 shots on target in its 10 UEFA Champions League games this season so it is averaging nine per match, with its home mean being 10.4. Barcelona has given up 55 shots on target in its 10 UEFA Champions League games, with its home and away means being almost identical. There does not appear to be any reason to take the odds of around 5-4 about Bayern having no more than six shots on target and, with Barca’s defensive record away from home being nothing short of terrible – they have kept only one clean sheet in their last dozen matches – eight or more shots on target by the home team looks overpriced at odds of around evens. The German side has gone over the seven-shots-on-target line in each of five UEFA Champions League home games versus Arsenal, BATE, Juventus, Lille and Valencia this term.
BetVictor has set its Barcelona shots-on-target line at six, which at first glance looks quite low. However, while Barca is averaging 9.1 shots on target for UEFA Champions League matches this season and 8.2 away from Camp Nou, Bayern Munchen’s defensive numbers are out of this world. Bayern is giving up a paltry average of 4.8 shots on target per UEFA Champions League game and only 3.8 at the Allianz Arena.
Instead of backing both Bayern Munchen and Barcelona to go over BetVictor’s shots-on-target lines, play it simple with a punt on more than two goals in the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg in Germany. The odds on offer are surprising big, with around 4-5 freely available. Bayern has scored in all bar one of its matches this term and that is across all competitions. Bayern drew a blank against Arsenal and it had the excuse of leading 3-1 from the first leg in London. Barca have scored in all bar two of their games this season, with Benfica at Camp Nou and Milan at the San Siro being the only teams to shut out Tito Vilanova’s side.
Finally, while Bayern is juicily priced at odds of around 7-5 to get the better of Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg, one can inflate those odds through using some of the aforementioned statistics. It seems likely that both teams will score in Germany so, if one fancies Bayern, why not back it to win 2-1, 3-1 or 3-2? The odds about those results are around 9-1, 20-1 and 28-1 respectively and dutching them produces a 9-2 wager.
Dortmund and Real Madrid meet for the third time in this term’s UEFA Champions League after being grouped in the first phase alongside Ajax and Manchester City. Dortmund had the better of the late 2012 clashes, beating the Meringues 2-1 in Germany and drawing 2-2 in Spain, so perhaps the bookmaking fraternity is not affording sufficient respect to Jurgen Klopp’s side in all of its match and tie markets.
There is likely to be no shortage of goals in the Dortmund versus Real Madrid encounter at the atmospheric Signal Iduna Park given the respective records of the two sides – neither has racked up a lot of clean sheets, irrespective of venue, competition or opponent – so a bet on the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg going over the commonly framed 2.5 goal line seems in order at odds of around 8-11.