After the first leg matches last week there are three betting markets that matter in deciding the Champions League semi-final line up.
At the risk of being presumptuous, surely no-one believes PSG can come back from the 3-1 defeat in the Parc des Princes to deny Barcelona their seventh Champions League semi-final in eight seasons. Even with Zlatan Ibrahimovic set to return for Tuesday’s second leg at the Noucamp, neutrals will be tuning in to see if Bayern Munich can pull off a great escape against Porto having lost by a similar margin in Portugal on Wednesday.
This coming Wednesday sees both games in the balance and I won’t be the only one flicking Sky channels to keep track of progress although it will be the Madrid derby that looks most fascinating. Juve go to Monaco knowing a clean sheet will see them through while Real Madrid face Atletico for the umpteenth time this season with the tie in deadlock.
Pep To Bounce Back: Bayern To Qualify
Pep Guardiola must draw on more than his tactical genius to guide Bayern through to the Champions League semi-finals. There is no coaching manual that can account for the defensive blunders that handed underdogs Porto a commanding first leg lead and his players need a kick in the pants as much as a game strategy before taking to the field at the Allianz-Arena on Tuesday night.
Defeat is unthinkable and Guardiola will have some of his missing players available. Fortunately with this Bayern Munich side anything is possible and punters will be backing the German champions to dig themselves out this hole.
Bayern are generally odds on to qualify and the best price is with SpreadEx who are going 21/20 for the Germans to get through.
There are a number of scenarios that will see Bayern qualify with correct score options like 3-0 at around 8/1 and 4-1 at 18/1 for punters looking for bigger odds and winning margins which fall somewhere in the middle.
Juventus Clean Sheet Will Wash Monaco Away
Arturo Vidal’s penalty put Juve in the driving seat and could end up being enough to see the Italians into the semis. Monaco had their chances to equalise but they haven’t scored enough goals in this Champions League campaign to give confidence they can turn this around.
Their game is based on defence and counter attack and now they must force the game. We are left to wonder how difficult they can make it for a Juventus defence that has conceded just once in the last eight games.
The total goals market looks the place to play and if Monaco don’t make an early breakthrough this could easily end up a stalemate. The most tempting odds can be found on BetVictor who are betting 9/5 under 1.5 goals.
Who Will Break The Deadlock In Madrid?
Something has to give in the Bernabeu on Wednesday when Real Madrid and Atletico go head to head for the seventh time this season. Madrid derbies never end goal less and watching the first leg to and fro at a hundred miles an hour it’s hard to believe the final score in the first leg was 0-0.
The two sides know each other inside out and to forecast the winner you may as well toss a coin in the air. A better bet is to have some fun on the goalscorer market where there are some reasonable if not over-generous odds.
Atletico keeper Jan Oblak was probably man of the match with a string of saves to keep his team in first game but surely it is too much to ask him to deny Real for another 90 minutes. Cristiano Ronaldo is an obvious choice for first goal scorer, he has a prolific record in the competition and has no greater motivation than his personal duel with Lionel Messi to become the top scorer in Champions League history. They are currently tied on 75 goals each.
William Hill are 10/3 Ronado to score first but Gareth Bale is an option to consider at 13/2 with the same firm. The Welshman missed the best chance of the game in the first leg but has a habit of scoring at crucial times for his Spanish club. He scored the first injury time goal in last season’s Champions League final that knocked the stuffing out of Atleti and had previously scored the winning goal in the Copa Del Rey final against Barcelona.