Champions League Group Stage Matchday 3

This Season: 40-36-17 (+4.5 Units)
Matchweek 7: 4-3-5 (+0.9 Units)

UEFA Champions League
Tuesday, October 1st
12:55 pm EST

Club Brugge @ Real Madrid (TV: TNT) – There is a clear disparity in quality here and it’s a real opportunity for Madrid to get their first 3 points of the group here. Although Real Madrid had a very stale draw at Atletico this past weekend and got their doors blown off at PSG last matchweek in the Champions League, I think they’ll be happy to see a less intimidating opponent Tuesday in Madrid. Brugge haven’t lost all year in both the Belgian league and in their sole Champions League match, but they are yet to play a team with real quality like Real Madrid and walking into the Bernabeau in the Champions League and getting a result is one of the harder things you can do in the sport. I’ll take the severely undervalued Real Madrid here in what should be a spread of 2 and not 1.5. Real Madrid -1.5 (-120).

Shakhtar Donetsk @ Atalanta – Both of these teams had disappointing starts to their Champions league campaigns as Atalanta went to Dinamo Zagreb and got wiped 4-0 while Shakhtar hosted Man City in a 3-0 loss. Atalanta looked utterly lost in their first match against Zagreb as they conceded three goals in the first half alone. But since that loss they are 2-1-0 with wins at Roma and Sassuolo and a draw against Fiorentina where they went down 2-0 and fought back to a 2-2 draw. I like Atalanta at home here, even if it’s not in their normal stadium due to rennovations, in their first ever home Champions League match. Atalanta -0.5 (-125).

3:00 pm EST

PSG @ Galatasaray – This one is going to be one of the more interesting matches on Tuesday. Going to Istanbul, facing Galatasaray and getting a result is one of the harder tasks to achieve in the Champions League. PSG will have to do it without a fully fit Mbappe, Neymar, Cavani and possibly without Icardi and Chuopo-Moting who are doubts and manager Thomas Tuchel mentioned possibly changing formations. That’s not good news when you’re going into one of the most hostile environments in all of Europe. Galatasaray also boast a really stout defense which posted a clean sheet at Brugge in Matchday 2 and a few familiar names such as Falcao, Babel, Nzonzi, Seri, Muslera and more. I’ll take them as home underdogs here expecting PSG to have trouble without their stars and in a possible new formation. Galatasaray +1.5 (+105).

Olympiacos @ Red Star Belgrade – Olympiacos covered against Spurs after coming back down 2-0 at halftime two weeks ago while Red Star fought hard at Bayern, keeping it 1-0 for 80 minutes only to fall 3-0. But similar to Galatasaray, going to Belgrade is not easy as they even defeated the eventual European champions Liverpool and drew Napoli last year in the group stage. If you don’t believe me look at the photo above and check out this link of the tunnel leading to the field with graffiti and SWAT police (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57RGGDTHbFA). Although I love Olympiacos this year, I can’t fade Red Star with a positive pickem line here at home. Red Star Belgrade Pickem (+115).

Bayern Munich @ Tottenham (TV: TNT) – The big match from the weekend includes the finalists from last season, Tottenham, and the five-time champions Bayern Munich. Spurs seem to be in a bit of trouble as they’re 2-4-2 in their last eight matches in all competitions and they have had some seriously inconsistent performances. Their only wins this season were home to Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Southampton. That doesn’t inspire confidence against a Bayern team who could easily make a run to the Final this season. Bayern Munich -0.5 (+110).

Dinamo Zagreb @ Manchester City – This spread is the biggest Champions League spread this week by 1.5 points, as Man City sit as 3-goal favorites at home. City haven’t been as perfect as many expected them to be this year and are battling key long term and short term injuries. The most notable absence will be Kevin De Bruyne who missed training on Monday due to a groin injury he picked up against Everton. Zagreb meanwhile are coming off of a big win against Atalanta two weeks ago and are a team who will likely not submit to Man City’s early pressure. I think it could take City some time to find a groove in the first half and the 3-goal spread is just too many goals for me to lay on the favorite. I’ll take the points expecting a 2-3 goal game. Dinamo Zagreb +3 (-115).

Bayer Leverkusen @ Juventus – Juve are on a three-match win streak but it hasn’t all been perfect for them this season. Those three wins weren’t extremely convincing, came against three possible relegation candidates in Serie A and they’ve had a few draws that could have been wins (at Fiorentina and Atletico Madrid). They’re still figuring things out under Sarri and I think they know how big of a match this is since they’re already behind in a group they could possibly win. Meanwhile Leverkusen have been inconsistent all season but in their two big matches this season (at Dortmund and home to Lokomotiv Moscow) they have not played well and didn’t come close to covering. I trust Ronaldo and crew to cover a 1-goal spread here at home in a match they should absolutely win. It could easily push but I think Juve have more upside with the possibility of them winning by more than a goal than Leverkusen do of getting a draw. Juventus -1 (-110).

Atletico Madrid @ Lokomotiv Moscow – Atletico are coming off of a very poor performance in the Madrid Derby and are now 1-3-1 in their last five matches. Another stat of note with Atletico is the fact that they’ve only won by more than one goal once this season, making this 1-goal spread very unappetizing for them. Not only that, but travelling to Moscow from Madrid with two days of rest is going to be very difficult. Lokomotiv are also coming off of a big win at Leverkusen in Matchday 2 and a big win against Zenit at home this past weekend. I’m going to stay safe here and take the points, expecting this to be a closer matchup than some people would expect. Lokomotiv Moscow +1 (-130).

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.

Twitter: @nicodegallo

Nico