What a few days of soccer we had over the weekend. City lose their first match of the Premier League Season to Chelsea, Dortmund won their Derby over Schalke, River Plate won the Copa Libertadores and Atlanta United won MLS Cup in the most impressive atmosphere in the soccer world all weekend.
But most importantly let’s see how I fared this weekend.
This Season’s Record: 95-84-23 (+2.0 Units)
Matchweek 16 Record: 6-5-0 (+0.7 Units)
We turn our attention to the final matchweek of the Champions League Group Stage, usually a very treacherous matchweek to bet on. Some teams have it all to play for, some teams have nothing to play for and some matches have winner-take-all implications. Due to that I may have a few less picks than usual, as I have to try to pin down the best value bets.
Tuesday, December 11th
3:00 pm EST
Napoli @ Liverpool – The implications on this one aren’t very simple, yet the line makes things much easier. Here’s how it breaks down. Napoli sit atop on 9 points, PSG in second on 8 points and Liverpool in third with 6 points. If PSG win (which should very much happen), Liverpool can only go through with either a 1-0 win or a win by two or more goals (3-1, 2-0, 4-2…). Both teams know this and Napoli have the least to lose. They can and will sit back and hit Liverpool on the counter, which is where they thrive already. Also, they don’t even need to win to get through and if they score a goal, it throws a wrench in Liverpool’s plans. With the likelihood of this being 1-0 or a much closer high-scoring match, I love Napoli at +1. Napoli (+1, -115).
Atletico Madrid @ Club Brugge – Atletico sit in the drivers seat to win the group as all they have to do is win this match and they win Group A. If they draw, they have to hope for a Dortmund loss at Monaco which is probably unlikely. I love Atletico at -1 with great odds and something to play for versus a Brugge team who doesn’t match up well with them at all. Atletico (-1, +115).
Wednesday, December 12th
3:00 pm EST
Hoffenheim @ Manchester City – Man City suffered their first league loss since April 7th, snapping a loss of 21 straight league matches without one. Guardiola’s teams tend to bounce back after a loss and they have something to play for in this match. Other than their pride, they have a chance to guarantee top spot with a draw and you know they are going out there to make a statement. Last time they lost a match, they came back and won 5-0 three days later. I love City to have a big bounce back match here at home to lock up Group F. Manchester City (-1.5, -125). **UPDATED ODDS AS OF 9:30 AM 12/12**.
Manchester United @ Valencia – Somehow Manchester United have a chance to win Group H with a win and a Juve loss or if they surpass the current differential of 2 goals (both have clinched qualification to Round of 16). Pogba is expected to be back in the lineup which should give them a good boost against a Valencia team who are already out of the competition. To add to that, United have won both of their away group stage matches this season and I think they have a lot of value on the pickem line with some good odds. Manchester United (Pick, +105).
Juventus @ Young Boys – The only thing I know about Young Boys is that they are NOT good. They are 0-1-4 with a -9 goal differential in the Champions League this season and got absolutely mopped by Juventus the first time they played. I don’t care who’s home or away, Juventus know they basically need to win this match if they want to win Group H and I think they will be just fine here. A -1 line is just preposterous, hence the heavy juice of -125, and I think they cover easily here. This will be my 2 unit play of the week. Juventus (-1, -125) 2 UNITS.
Other matches of note:
Tottenham @ FC Barcelona – Spurs need to win at Barcelona in order to make it out of the group if Inter find a way to win at home to PSV, which is the likely result. If Inter draw, then a draw for Spurs will put them through but they have to have the mindset of winning this match. Should be a good one!
PSG @ Red Star Belgrade – As we know PSG really need a win here, and it should happen. But in this spot you can never rule out an upset and it will be intriguing to see how this one shapes out and affects Liverpool/Napoli.
That’s all for this week’s Champions League matches! Good luck to all and I hope you enjoy the matches.
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Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.