Champions League Group Stage Round One Betting Tips, Preview and Predictions
September 04, 2017
Champions League Group Stage Round One Betting Tips
The opening Champions League group stage games are set to kick off on Tuesday 12th September and we at Freebets.com have picked out two games where we believe tremendous value lies.
The first fixture we are looking at is at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea are up against FK Karabakh. The Azerbaijani champions unbelievably knocked Danish champions FC Copenhagen out of the qualifying rounds, becoming the first club from the nation to ever reach the Champions League group stage. Their first challenge is a trip to English Premier League winners Chelsea, who ended the transfer window by spending a combined £58m on right back Davide Zappacosta and Danny Drinkwater.
Chelsea have a sensational amount of talent in their ranks, including several youngsters they held onto. It could be a case of shuffling the pack for the visit of Karabakh, with expected bit-part players like Drinkwater, Andreas Christensen and Willian seeing gametime. One name who is out of contention is Diego Costa, who stayed at the Blues despite being linked with moves to Atletico Madrid, AC Milan and a plethora of Chinese clubs throughout the transfer window, but wasn’t registered for the Champions League.
The Blues have a tremendous record at home in Europe, while the divide in quality should become evident in this opening encounter. We feel that the -1 handicap is of value at 2/5 with Betfair, given that -2 is odds against at 11/10 with most bookmakers. It’s not implausible that Chelsea break the minnows down further, but feel comfortable backing Chelsea to win by two more goals or more with some key players possibly rested – including Eden Hazard, who is just recovering from injury.
Our second pick comes Atletico Madrid’s trip to Italy to face Roma. Roma have undergone surgery during the summer, seeing manager Luciano Spalletti leave for Inter Milan and bringing in ex-Sassuolo boss Eusebio di Francesco as his replacement. The Giallorossi have allowed Antonio Rudiger, Mohamed Salah and Leandro Paredes all to leave for big fees, whilst losing loan keeper Wojciech Szszecny to Juventus.
Nine signings have come in with those funds, although it doesn’t appear that Roma are as a strong an outfit now. A late collapse at home to Inter Milan in Serie A led to a 1-3 loss in their second game of the season.
A transfer ban has meant that visitors Atletico Madrid have been unable to strengthen in the summer, but Diego Simeone did exceptionally well to hold onto his stars regardless. Antoine Griezmann and Jan Oblak in particular had been linked with big money moves away, but both are still Atleti players as the window closes.
An opening day draw against Girona will have disappointed Simeone, but they followed that up with a defiant 1-5 thrashing at Las Palmas to dismiss any doubters. Los Colchoneros have been truly exceptional in the Champions League in recent years, reaching the Quarter-Finals at a minimum in the last four seasons.
Roma’s standard isn’t dissimilar to AC Milan who they faced in 2013/14, where Atleti came out 1-0 winners in a game that should’ve saw a much higher victory for the visitors. We’re confident that the 15/8 on Atletico to win with Coral represents good value.