The Champions League has finally returned this week, starting an almost 8-month journey of 32 teams to see who the best club team in Europe is. The last two years Spanish giants Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo have taken the crown for their record 10th and 11th titles and will look to reclaim the title again for an unprecedented and almost impossible 3-peat.
The groups that stand out are clearly Group H (Real Madrid, Tottenham, Dortmund, Apoel) and Group C (Atletico, Chelsea, Roma, Qarabag). Both groups are considered Groups of Death, with Group H looking like the more treacherous one. Here are some quick predictions for the overall tournament:
Winner: Barcelona (No Neymar, No Problem)
Dark Horse: Napoli (Don’t be shocked if they make the semis or even the final)
First English Team Out: Tottenham (Won’t win games at home in Wembley against Dortmund and Real Madrid)
The groups look like this:
I’ll keep this one short and sweet with my picks to win the groups (top 2 advance: group stage lasts until December with each team playing each other twice, Home/Away) that are playing on Tuesday and the respective games:
Tuesday 2:45 ET:
Winner: Manchester United
Basel @ Manchester United (-2)
CSKA Moscow @ Benfica (-147)
Winner: Paris Saint Germain
Runner-Up: Bayern Munich
Anderlecht @ Bayern Munich (-2)
Paris Saint Germain (-455) @ Celtic
Winner: Atletico Madrid
Qarabag @ Chelsea (-2½)
Atletico Madrid (Pick -115) @ Roma
Atletico Madrid is known for shutting down offenses and getting crucial away points in the Champions League. Roma are a tough test though as the Stadio Olympico in Rome is one of the tougher places to play, but the Roma side if anything has been weakened since last year. Atletico will come in strong and get the points they need to get on the right foot in the group stage. Atletico 1-0.
Juventus @ Barcelona (-164)
Woaaahhh nelly here we go. A rematch of the 2015 final and a very, very tough test for both sides at the start of the campaign. The key to winning the group in the Champions League is to take your home points, and none are more crucial than the 3 points up for grabs for Barcelona. They will get their group stage started off right with a tight, but decisive victory against Juventus. Barca 2-1.
Sporting Lisbon (Pick -105) @ Olympiakos
PARLAY: Bayern (-1250), Man U (-600), PSG (-455), Chelsea (-1000) = (-150)
That’s all for Tuesday’s games as I’ll be back before Wednesday’s games to recap and give predictions. Enjoy the matches!
Stay kickin’ it. Peace.