Next week sees the start of the first legs in the knockout stage of the Champions League. We take a preview of the games being played on Tuesday and Wednesday and offer betting suggestions.
AC Milan v Manchester United
AC Milan had an impressive run of 9 victories in 10 games prior to their recent loss to city rivals Inter. Subsequent draws against lowly Bologne and Livorno – games they would have been expected to win – implies that the team have collectively taken their “eyes from the ball”. AC and their fans will no doubt relish the visit of Manchester United, but Sir Alex will be fully aware that his team is playing their best football of the season at present, and this is a fantastic opportunity to come away from Italy with a result.
- Verdict United win
Lyon v Real Madrid
One of the meanest defenses in the group stages of the competition (Lyon – 3 conceded from 6) meets the team with the most prolific goal scoring stats (Madrid – 15 scored from 6). This is a close game to call. Lyon have an excellent recent domestic record, whilst Madrid have been far from impressive on their travels in La Liga this season. History favours the French in previous meetings between the two clubs and, with the influential Karin Benzema likely to be missing on the return to his former club, Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini will be satisfied if “Los Galacticos” can return to the Bernabéu on level terms.
- Verdict Draw
Bayern Munich v Fiorentina
Bayern are in the “form of their lives” at the moment. A succession of impressive victories has left them in joint top position of the Bundesliga, and a superb display away to Juventus saw them reach the knockout stages of the competition. Fiorentina, by contrast have achieved nothing domestically since eliminating Liverpool from the Champions League in December, and they languish mid-table in Serie A. Despite impressive away form during the group stages, Fiorentina have never recorded a victory in Germany, and we believe they will return to Italy empty handed.
- Verdict Munich win
FC Porto v Arsenal
FC Porto have been scoring goals for fun recently. Sixteen goals from their last 5 games have seen them elevated into third position in Liga Sagnes and into the semifinals of the Portuguese Cup. By contrast, Arsenal have not been able to consolidate their fine run over Christmas, having been dumped out of the FA Cup by Stoke and achieving poor results against Aston Villa, Manchester United and Chelsea prior to their narrow win over a poor Liverpool side on Wednesday. Arsene Wenger is desperate to bring some glory back to the North London club but without an acknowledged striker will find it hard going in Portugal.
- Verdict FC Porto Win
Suggested betting strategy – Odds Available
- Manchester United +0.5 (Asian Handicap) 5/6
- Real Madrid +0.5 (Asian Handicap) 4/5
- Bayern Munich to win 90 minutes 4/7
- FC Porto to win 90 minutes 7/4
- 4 x 1 point win trebles
- 1 x 1 point win accumulator
Advanced bet/lay strategy
Impressive group winners Bordeaux are widely anticipated to see off Champions League outsiders Olympiakos over their two matches in the knockout stage (more on each teams´ merits next week). However, Bordeaux are currently listed at 29/1 on Betfair (generally 25/1 with high street bookmakers).
Assuming they progress to the quarterfinal stages, and considering that at least two of the teams below them in the betting will be knocked out, this price should shorten quite sharply – particularly if the French team are impressive in their disposal of the Greeks.
Consequently, we would suggest a 10 unit bet at 29/1 and then lay off for 15 units should they qualify for the last eight, where we anticipate the price on offer will be around 19/1 or less. This will generate a 5 point profit irrespective of which team lifts the Champions League Trophy on 22nd May.
If you have any questions regarding this particular strategy, please do not hesitate to contact us.