Derby weekend was absolutely brilliant as Barcelona, Lazio, Juventus and Chelsea won their respective derbies while the North London Derby and more importantly the Merseyside Derby had draws. Here’s how it breaks down for a few of those teams:
Barcelona’s win gives them a seven point lead over Atletico and a twelve point lead over Madrid in La Liga, giving them a stranglehold over the league.
Juve’s win give them a sixteen point lead over their weekend opponents Napoli, basically guaranteeing them the Serie A title.
And lastly, Liverpool’s draw to Everton along with Manchester City’s win against Bournemouth give City a one point lead atop the Premier League with nine matches to go.
This Season’s Record: 154-134-37 (-0.5 Units)
Matchweek 29 Record: 8-3-2 (+4.9 Units)
It’s been a solid few weeks but now a new challenge awaits as we reach the second leg of the Champions League Round of 16. Second legs can be weird since there is already a score going into the match, making it tougher for bettors to find value. Some teams will play differently to hold a lead on aggregate and others will ditch their styles and tactics to try to make up ground if they’re already down. So it can be better to bet on the score from Leg 1 rather than the teams, to try and pin point what will happen in the second leg. Let’s see what we can cook up…
Tuesday, March 5th
UEFA Champions League
3:00 pm EST
Tottenham (3) @ Borussia Dortmund (0) – Dortmund have some serious ground to catch up on here as they need three goals just to put it in extra time and an away goal from Spurs mean they would need FIVE GOALS to go through. They’re in pretty horrible form as they’ve also let their Bundesliga lead slip and are 1-4-2 (W-D-L) in their last seven matches overall. But Spurs haven’t been much better. They’re winless in their last three, 0-4 in their last four away matches and are coming off of two massive fixtures (without wins) in the last week. So all of this puts me in somewhat of a pickle since neither of these teams seem good to bet on but here’s why I like Dortmund. They know they have a mountain to climb and will surely be going for goals, their home ground is an absolute fortress going 13-4-0 this season in all competitions and Spurs will surely absorb the pressure which suits an attacking team like Dortmund. I like Dortmund to win but probably not to advance here as I think a three goal deficit might be too tough to salvage. I’ll take them as small favorites though. Borussia Dortmund (-0.5, -105).
Ajax (1) @ Real Madrid (2) – Ajax showed in the first leg that they can hang with the defending champions, but the two away goals to Madrid somewhat doomed them in the big picture. They will now need the exact same scoreline from the first leg (2-1) to go their way this time just to force extra time, a tall task for any team in the world against Real Madrid. But Los Blancos will be without captain Sergio Ramos, they’re coming off of two straight home Clasico losses in the same week and they only have one win from their last four matches going 0-3 at home during that span. I don’t think Ajax can win this but they’re definitely good enough to cause trouble against a weakened and vulnerable Real Madrid side. It’s the perfect situation for Ajax to come in and steal a result, even with the difficulty of keeping a clean sheet in Madrid. I’ll side with Ajax on the one-goal spread because I see there being a better chance of a draw than a two-goal win to Madrid. Ajax are hard to break down and will likely make things tough for Madrid to extend their lead on aggregate. Ajax (+1, -115).
Wednesday, March 6th
3:00 pm EST
Roma (2) @ Porto (1) – Porto’s away goal in the first leg will have them feeling confident as all they’d need is a 1-0 win to get through to the Quarterfinal. But that can be a tough task against a Roma team who likes to score goals and scoring any away goals could crush Porto’s chances at advancing. Both of these teams lost matches against their biggest rivals in their respective leagues over the weekend and will be looking for answers here in the second leg. I liked Porto in the first leg but they couldn’t hold on to the draw, giving in to Roma’s quality on the attack. I think this match is too close to call and should be a pickem, yet they’re giving Roma the tag as underdogs. Yes Porto is a tough place to go and get a result, but Roma have more quality and outside of their tough derby loss on Saturday, they’ve been in tremendous form. Before that loss on Saturday they only had one other defeat in their previous eleven. Also, putting Roma as underdogs in a match they they can advance by only drawing gives them a huge advantage on the spread as they’d cover with a draw. I’m going to take the points here. Roma (+0.5, -120).
Manchester United (0) @ PSG (2) – PSG obviously have the huge upperhand here with a two-goal aggregate lead and two away goals in their pocket. They’ve almost certainly punched their ticket to the Quarterfinal unless United can win 2-0 to force extra time or score three goals without PSG scoring more than one, which would miraculously put them through. Yes it’s hard to preview this without mentioning that in 2017 PSG were on the losing side of the biggest comeback in Champions League history where Barcelona had to win 6-1 in the second leg to advance (PSG won the first leg 4-0 at home). But this team will do everything in its power to not let that happen again, especially against a not as good United team (in comparison to that Barcelona team). They’ll be without Neymar and they’ll likely not use Cavani unless they have to but they beat this United team handily in Leg 1 without them, mostly in part by Mbappe’s brilliance. PSG will just look to go out there and win the match knowing that they can’t give United the slightest chance with an away goal. United will push forward but that will just give PSG the ability to counter, allowing Mbappe to attack open spaces with his pace going the other way. I honestly think we see another 2-0 match in favor of the Parisians. PSG (-1, -120).
That’s all for this week’s Champions League preview! Enjoy the matches and I’ll see you later this week for the Matchweeek 30 preview.
Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.