Champions League Round of 16 Value Plays
The Champions League Round of 16 wraps up this week and includes a crucial matchup between Barcelona and Chelsea on Wednesday.
- Sevilla at Manchester United (Tuesday 3:45 p.m. ET)
- Shaktar Donetsk at Roma (Tuesday 3:45 p.m. ET)
- Bayern Munich at Besiktas (Wednesday 1 p.m. ET)
- Chelsea at Barcelona (Wednesday 3:45 p.m. ET)
Finding value in the opening legs proved to be very successful, as we hit on Real Madrid +120, Sevilla +0.5 goals, Shaktar Donetsk +165 and Tottenham Win/Draw, and only whiffed on FC Porto vs. Liverpool.
In the second leg matches so far, I’ve hit on the Liverpool/Porto Draw +320, Juventus +285 to win and Juventus +210 to advance, but missed on the Real Madrid/PSG Draw.
Here are betting breakdowns and value plays for the Round of 16 second leg matchups.
Sevilla at Manchester United (Tuesday at 3:45 p.m. ET)
Moneyline Odds: Man Utd -155, Sevilla +526, Draw +296
Sevilla held Manchester United 0-0 in the opening home leg, but will have plenty of work to do in the second leg at Old Trafford. Both clubs could be missing key contributors as Sevilla’s Jesus Navas (calf) is out, and Man United’s Paul Pogba (quad) is doubtful. Manchester United come into the match with confidence, winning three straight Premier League matches. Sevilla, on the other hand, have lost two La Liga matches since their Champions League draw, and just lost 2-0 at home to Valencia over the weekend.
Surprisingly, public bettors like the road team to get a result, with nearly 50% of tickets taking Sevilla to win. Despite the heavy support on the Spanish side, their odds have actually increased from +466 to +526 since opening. This is a rare spot where you can fade the trendy road underdog and take a strong Manchester United team at short odds to win at home. I’ve already taken Manchester United at -140, but still think there’s value at -155. The Red Devils will also have Marcus Rashford available in the second leg, a valuable piece of their lineup who was out for the first leg.
Opening odds to advance: Man Utd -275, Sevilla +235
Current odds to advance: Man Utd -225, Sevilla +185
Shaktar Donetsk at Roma (Tuesday at 3:45 p.m. ET)
Moneyline Odds: Roma -135, Shaktar +390, Draw +315
I loved Shaktar Donetsk to beat Roma at home in the opening leg, and although they went down 1-0, they came back for a crucial 2-1 victory. For the second leg matchup, public bettors have been heavy on Roma to get a result, with more than 70% of tickets on them to win at home. This is no surprise considering they need to win to have a chance to advance, and they’ve yet to concede a home goal in the Champions League this year. However, their odds have moved from -155 to -135 since opening, signaling sharper money on Shaktar Donetsk and the draw.
I don’t typically like to be on the same side as the public, and this match is no different. I’ll gladly fade the home favorite and take the draw at +315, which would be enough to see Shaktar advance to the quarterfinals.
Opening odds to advance: Roma -240, Shaktar +200
Current odds to advance: Roma -112, Shaktar -108
Bayern Munich at Besiktas (Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET)
Moneyline Odds: Bayern -165, Besiktas +450, Draw +355
Bayern Munich rolled 5-0 at home over Besiktas to put this matchup out of reach. I’m not sure how much motivation Bayern will be playing with, and bettors seem to be skeptical as well — their odds have dropped from -185 to -165 since opening. Even if Besiktas shock the Germans at home with a win, it won’t be enough to get them into the quarterfinals. Despite some reverse-line movement on Besiktas, I don’t feel good enough to place a wager on them, so I’ll be passing on this match entirely.
Opening odds to advance: Bayern -795, Besiktas +500
Current odds to advance: Off Board
Chelsea at Barcelona (Wednesday at 3:45 p.m. ET)
Moneyline Odds: Barcelona -256, Chelsea +671, Draw +392
Chelsea actually played a really solid opening leg at home but only managed a 1-1 draw, which likely isn’t going to be enough to move on to the quarterfinals.
In the second leg in Spain, I like Barcelona to win at -256, as they’re getting just 33% of tickets compared to nearly 50% on Chelsea to win. Barcelona’s Leo Messi (pictured above) is “rested” after sitting out this weekend’s La Liga match as his wife gave birth to their third child. He finally scored against Chelsea in the opening leg, snapping a career-long goalless skid against the West London club, and I expect him to find the score sheet again in the second leg. All the pressure will be on Chelsea on the road, and an early Barcelona goal could doom them.
Opening odds to advance: Barcelona -300, Chelsea +250
Current odds to advance: Barcelona -450, Chelsea +325
Previously written previews for second leg matchups…
Real Madrid at PSG (Tuesday, March 6 at 2:45 p.m. ET)
Moneyline Odds: PSG -105, Real Madrid +265, Draw +325
Real Madrid were +120 to beat PSG in the opener and they took care of business at home, winning 3-1. In the return leg at PSG, the Spanish giants are fortunate that they won’t have to face former Barcelona nemesis Neymar, who underwent ankle surgery and will be out the remainder of the season. His absence dropped PSG’s odds to win their home match from -125 to -105, and bettors have lost faith as well. Currently just 42% of bettors are taking PSG, while a whopping 46% have taken Real Madrid at big plus-money odds.
We’ve barely seen any line adjustment on the draw, where the odds are around +325 around the market. Only 12% of bettors around the offshore market have taken the draw, which is a bit surprising considering the result would be good enough for Real Madrid to progress, so that’s the angle I’d be going for.
Opening odds to advance: PSG -130, Real Madrid +110
Current odds to advance: PSG +250, Real Madrid -300
Porto at Liverpool (Tuesday, March 6 at 2:45 p.m. ET)
Moneyline Odds: Liverpool -185, Porto +640, Draw +320
Liverpool won the opening leg 5-0 on the road at FC Porto, but the match stats weren’t considerably lopsided:
Possession: Liverpool 55%, Porto 45%
Shots on Goal: Liverpool 6, Porto 3
Offsides: Liverpool 0, Porto 3
Corners: Liverpool 1, Porto 6
Since that thrashing, Liverpool have kept rolling to 2-0 and 4-1 wins in the English Premier League. However, over that span Porto have also won 5-0, 3-1, 5-1, and 2-1 in the Portuguese Primeira Liga. While the first leg blowout may have put this match-up out of reach, I wouldn’t count out Porto to get a result in the second leg with no pressure on the road. Although Liverpool clearly has more overall talent and class, the lack of motivation may make this game a little tighter.
At the time of publication, Liverpool had attracted nearly 75% of the betting action with another 15% on FC Porto. Again, bettors are looking past the draw at +320 odds with just 10% of the tickets. They know that either Porto need to win to have a chance to advance, or that Liverpool will keep rolling after their first leg blowout. The draw isn’t the most exciting to root for, and is being overlooked, but that’s where I’m heading at +320.
Opening odds to advance: Liverpool -237, Porto +195
Current odds to advance: Off Board
Juventus at Tottenham (Wednesday, March 7 at 2:45 p.m. ET)
Moneyline Odds: Tottenham +118, Juventus +254, Draw +259
The opening match between these two clubs may have been the best of the Round of 16 so far. Tottenham got a crucial 2-2 draw on the road at Juventus after falling behind 2-0 in the first half, and are now -250 favorites to advance to the quarterfinals. Can bettors trust Spurs to finish the Italian giants off?
A 1-1 draw would be enough for Tottenham to advance, and even a 2-2 draw would send the game into extra time (since both teams would be tied 4-4 on aggregate with the same number of road goals). However, I’m looking elsewhere for a value play in this match.
I’ll admit that Juventus are a bit of a trendy road dog getting 48% of tickets, and the line value may be gone now, but I was able to grab Juventus at +285 odds last week. Sharp money continued to flow on them, dropping down to the current odds of +254. I obviously still expect them to win, but you may be better off waiting to see if the odds tick back up before the match.
I also wouldn’t look past Juventus at +210 to advance to the quarterfinals, and +3000 to win the Champions League Title. It’ll be a tough task to get a result at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday night, but they have the experience and talent to surprise the hosts.
Opening odds to advance: Juventus -135, Tottenham +115
Current odds to advance: Juventus +210, Tottenham -250
Basel at Manchester City (Wednesday, March 7 at 2:45 p.m. ET)
Moneyline Odds: Man City -700, Basel +2200, Draw +820
Manchester City cruised to a 4-0 road victory in the opening leg, and I don’t think anyone expects Basel to be competitive in the second leg, including oddsmakers. The Citizens are massive -700 favorites to earn the victory at home, and their odds to advance are off the board completely. Man City are also the favorites to win the Champions League Title at +345 odds. They’ll probably find a way to get their reserves/younger guys more playing time in this match so the -700 odds are steep, but they’ll still be too much for Basel to handle. I’m laying off this game completely and would expect Man City to win by a goal or two.
Opening odds to advance: Man City -1200, Basel +700
Current odds to advance: Off Board
(Cover image is of Barcelona’s Leo Messi)