Champions League Group Stage Matchweek 3, pt. 2

This Season: 60-54-24 (+5.3 Units)
UCL Matchweek 3: 3-3-2 (+0.1 Units)

Tuesday was full of comebacks as Man City, Juventus and Bayern Munich all came back from one-goal deficits to win their respective matches. Real Madrid and Spurs both got much needed wins to stay alive in the race for the round of 16 while PSG and Spurs ran away with 5-0 victories.

Let’s dive into Wednesday’s matches, which is an arguably better slate than Tuesday. Let’s go!

Wednesday, October 23rd
12:55 pm EST

Zenit St. Petersburg @ RB Leipzig – This one was an easy decision the second I saw the odds. Leipzig are good and are better than Zenit, but putting a team who has only won one home game all year and who hasn’t won in their last four matches as a one-goal favorites is a mistake. Zenit may play in a worse league so their form might have to be taken with a grain of salt, but they’re undefeated through their first two Champions League games including drawing at Lyon 1-1. I like Zenit here as one-goal underdogs to keep things tight. Zenit St. Petersburg +1 (-110).

Chelsea @ Ajax (TV: TNT) – In one of the better matches of the day, the Blues of Chelsea will travel to Amsterdam to face an Ajax team who has not slowed down from their semifinal form from last year. They’re 2-0 in the group with two 3-0 wins and through 5 home matches this year in all competitions, they’re 5-0 with a +18 goal differential. They’re facing a Chelsea team who have won five straight but this will surely be their toughest test since their home defeat to Liverpool. I love Ajax on the pickem and moneyline as I think they’re a better and more put together team than Chelsea. Tadic and Ziyech have been on fire and they’ve done more than enough to make up for the losses of De Jong and De Ligt. Ajax Pickem (-130) and Ajax (+125).

3:00 pm EST

Liverpool @ Genk – Liverpool slipped a bit this weekend against United and will feel lucky to play a much lesser opponent this week in the Champions League. Many people will point to Genk’s home draw to Napoli, who beat Liverpool in Matchweek 1, as proof that they’re good enough, but Genk had no business being in that game. It was more on Napoli’s poor finishing than it was Genk limiting them. Luckily for the Reds, they’ll likely be returning Mo Salah whose absence clearly affected Liverpool on Sunday. I like Liverpool to take care of business here as it would be very unlike them and Klopp to have back to back let downs. Liverpool -1.5 (-125).

Napoli @ RB Salzburg – Salzburg seem like the real deal as they’re utterly dominating the Austrian Bundesliga and have outperformed expectations in the Champions League especially after almost coming back down 3-0 at Liverpool, only to fall 4-3. They’ve scored 9 goals through their first two games in this group and they’ll be facing a Napoli team who has 1 win in their 4 away matches this this season including their goalless draw at Genk where they couldn’t finish if their life depended on it. I’m going to be safe and take the home pickem here thinking that it could be a draw or Salzburg keeps their goal-scoring run going and they get the win. RB Salzburg Pickem (-105).

Borussia Dortmund @ Inter Milan (TV: TNT) – On paper this is surely the game of the day and maybe of the week in the Champions League. After Inter’s hot, undefeated start they have begun to cool down after losses to Barca and Juve and they almost let their 4-1 lead to Sassuolo slip this past weekend. Dortmund meanwhile have been kinda all over the place. They only have 1 loss through 10 matches but they’ve also had 4 draws. They’ll be without club captain Marco Reus, midfielder Mario Gotze and striker Paco Alcacer. There are too many question marks surrounding Dortmund and I think Inter are the type of team to stifle Dortmund’s attack and buildup play. I’ll take Inter as well-priced favorites. Inter Milan -0.5 (+120).

Barcelona @ Slavia Prague – El Clasico was supposed to be this Sunday but since it’s since been postponed, Barca can now focus on the task at hand. Although travelling to Prague is not easy and Prague even gave Inter trouble in Matchweek 1, I don’t think they have the firepower to keep up with Barca. Their front three of Griezmann, Suarez and Messi is really starting to heat up and they’ve put a run of really impressive results in their last five matches. I’ll take Barca here and I’ll even take them for 2 units. This one might get ugly especially if their back line concedes early and/or they can’t contain the greatest player to ever live. FC Barcelona -1 (-130), 2 UNITS.

Lyon @ Benfica – Neither of these teams have been all that impressive this season. Lyon are falling apart in the domestic French league while Benfica are 0-2 to start their Champions League campaign. This one really seems like a toss up to me and Benfica’s long list of injuries makes me hesitant to bet on them. I think this one has a high percentage of a draw but I’m also going to hedge that with Lyon as the underdogs. That way, the only result that would give me a loss is a Benfica win. Lyon +0.5 (-125) and DRAW (+250).

Valencia @ Lille – Lille are in must-win territory but will face a Valencia team who even though had a bad loss at home to Ajax a few weeks ago, have impressed in the last month or so. They went to Chelsea and won in Matchweek 1, they went to Bilbao and handed them a rare loss in Basque country, they’re undefeated at home in La Liga and just this weekend they went to Atletico and kept them to a 1-1 draw. Lille meanwhile have one win in their last seven matches, at home to last place in Ligue 1 Strasbourg. I’ll take Valencia on the pickem with a completely reasonable price of (-110). Valencia Pickem (-110).

That’s all for Wednesday’s matches! Enjoy and good luck to everyone.

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.

Twitter: @nicodegallo

Nico

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