AC Milan vs. RB Salzburg Preview & Pick: Back Underdog to Secure Surprise Result

AC Milan vs. RB Salzburg Preview & Pick: Back Underdog to Secure Surprise Result article feature image

DeFodi Images/Getty. Pictured: Nicolas Seiwald.

  • AC Milan and RB Salzburg face a crucial Champions League fixture on Wednesday.
  • How should you be betting the contest?
  • Here is where Anthony Dabbundo is projecting value.

AC Milan vs. RB Salzburg Odds

Milan Odds-190
Salzburg Odds+500
Over/Under2.5 (-156 / +128)
Day | TimeWednesday | 4 p.m. ET
How To WatchParamount+
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

There aren't a ton of matches with major Round of 16 implications in Wednesday's Champions League slate, but Milan's home match against Salzburg will decide second place in the group.

Chelsea have already clinched the top spot in Group E and will be joined by Milan if the Rossoneri win or draw at home against Salzburg.

The Austrian side will only advance with an outright victory, and they are solid underdogs to pull off the upset in this match.

Milan and Salzburg opened group play with a relatively even 1-1 draw. With it all to play for now on the final day of group play, the visitors are a bit undervalued in the market.

Let's get into the match.

Milan Facing More Regression

Milan won the league last year with quite a bit of fortune and finishing variance and they entered the season due to regress a bit in the league places. Thus far, they've largely done exactly that. Milan lost to Torino at the weekend and the Rossoneri sit third in the Scudetto race with the fourth-best underlying numbers in the Italian top flight.

The defense ranks fourth in non-penalty xG allowed and fifth in shots allowed. They also prevent big scoring chances really well. The biggest questions for Milan don't come at the back, but in attack.

Rafael Leão is in the midst of a breakout season as a wide forward. His ball progression and shot numbers have taken a huge step forward and that's given Milan a much needed boost to an otherwise unimpressive attack.

The Rossoneri are fourth in NPxG produced per match and fifth in big scoring chances created. Relying on the aging Olivier Giroud and the number of injuries across the attack has left them short on production when Leão isn't taking over the game.

One concerning hole for Milan is that they haven't dealt with pressure well in the league or in Europe. Chelsea played them off the pitch and forced a bunch of high turnovers with their press. The Blues are much better than Salzburg, but Milan are just 13th in pressure success rate allowed in Italy this year.

Salzburg's press should disrupt Milan and cause problems for a team not used to seeing a lot of pressing in Italy.

RB Salzburg Performing Above Expectations

Salzburg lost 2-1 to Chelsea last week to put them in this precarious position, but they've performed quite well in this Champions League group overall. Based on xG, Salzburg actually won the first matchup with Milan 1.3-0.9 when you compare the quality of chances created.

In two matches against Chelsea, Salzburg scored twice and created more than 2 xG. Milan didn't manage a goal against Chelsea in either match.

Despite Milan having more of the possession in that game between the two sides, Salzburg had more penalty area shots, kept a higher line and forced more high turnovers. They also had a lower passes per defensive action (PPDA).

If you compare Salzburg's numbers in the Austrian Bundesliga too, there's no reason to think that the side is any worse than it was last year when it advanced out of the group stage. They did lose some talent, but Salzburg's still 1.5 goals better than their opponent per match there.

You can't glean too much from the Austrian Bundesliga, but I'm encouraged enough by their performances against Chelsea and Milan to believe in them here.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

Milan's inability to cope with less time on the ball and handle increased ball pressure has hurt them immensely in the Champions League in the last two seasons. They had no answers for Liverpool and even Porto last year. This year, they were played off the pitch twice by Chelsea and outplayed in Salzburg.

Now at home, Milan is favored by a full goal. Milan is the better team based on the aggregates, but the matchup suggests Salzburg can disrupt Milan's passing and force Milan to try to win by going over the top and in behind. 

Outside of Leão, who is more of a dribbler than a runner, Milan don't have a ton of over the top pace in their front line.Salzburg may have only scored four goals in this CL group, but the xG numbers suggest it should be closer to seven.

Back Salzburg to keep this competitive and take the goal on the spread.

The Pick: RB Salzburg +1 (-120 or better)

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