After what seems like an eternity since we last saw Europe’s top competition in action, the Champions League returns this Wednesday and Thursday morning with the first four Round of 16 games! Given that we are struggling to find any value in the Manchester City vs FC Basel game, we’ll take a look at the other three match-ups and give our betting tips below.
In one of the more intriguing matchups of the Round of 16, Italian giants Juventus will face off against Tottenham for the first time ever in a competitive match. The first leg of the tie will be played in Italy, which is daunting prospect for the Spurs. Juventus are incredibly undefeated in their last 22 Champions League games at home. Which is their longest streak in the competition. They haven’t been beaten at Juventus Stadium in the Champions League since 2013.
Juventus have been near perfect in the Serie A this season, with a 20-2-2 record through their opening 24 games. They trail Napoli by just one point in second place but lead the 3rd placed team in Inter Milan by 14 points. Tottenham went through a rough patch in the middle part of the EPL season, falling as low as sixth place, but now find themselves just one point adrift of the top four and four points behind Manchester United in 2nd place after a decent stretch of games.
Juventus will be hit by a couple of key injuries for the match, most notably star midfielder Paulo Dybala. They’ll also be without Blaise Matuidi, Juan Caudrado, Andrea Barzagli and Benedikt Howedes, which will bring their depth into play. Juventus are one of the strongest defences in the world and as mentioned above, they rarely lose at home. Spurs have been in great scoring form of late with Harry Kane scoring seven in their last seven games. We like both teams to find the back of the net at least once here.
Liverpool will look to continue their great EPL form when they face FC Porto away from home at the Estadio do Dragao on Thursday morning. The Reds have won seven of their last 10 games and lost just one in that span to jump above Chelsea into 3rd place on the EPL table. They have scored a mammoth 61 goals so far this season, which is second only to Manchester City, and the front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane has been fantastic.
While the Portuguese Primera Liga is only 21 games deep, FC Porto sit atop the table with a 17-4-0 record so far. Their record in recent Champions League games is not so good, however, as they have lost their last three knockout stage games, conceding nine goals and scoring only one in the process.
Liverpool are uneaten against Porto through for games in all competitions with two wins and two draws. The Reds scored 23 goals through the group stage of the Champions League and conceded just six on their way to topping Group E. We think they should be too strong for Porto, even away from home.
Inarguably the matchup of the Round of 16 sees giants of world football Real Madrid and PSG squaring off this Thursday morning. PSG have dominated the French top league so far, maintaining a 21-2-2 record through their opening 25 games. Their Champions League form has been even better though. Through the group stages, PSG won their first five games with a 22-1 goal difference before losing a dead rubber to Bayern in the last round.
Real Madrid weren’t good enough to top Group H, getting nudged out by Tottenham by three points to set up the meeting with PSG. They have been pretty lacklustre in La Liga as well, currently sitting 17 points behind leaders Barcelona with just 12 wins from their 22 games. It’s been one of the sloppier years for Real Madrid but they will be looking to make an impact in the Champions League now that their domestic hopes are likely dashed.
The two teams have played six times in all competitions, with a perfect 2-2-2 record through the six games. Madrid start as slight favourites at home, but it’s hard to look past the play of PSG at the moment. Real might have been sloppy in the La Liga because they are setting their sites on the Champions League, but we have to look to the form here and back the French.
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