Champions League Semifinal: Second Leg Value Plays

Champions League Semifinal: Second Leg Value Plays article feature image

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There’s been no shortage of drama throughout this year’s Champions League tournament and hopefully we’ll get more fireworks through the final.

In the opening legs of the semifinal, Real Madrid beat Bayern Munich, 2-1, in Germany, and Liverpool defeated Roma, 5-2, in England. The second legs of the semifinal will take place Tuesday and Wednesday for a chance to reach the final on May 26th in Kiev, Ukraine.

Odds to advance to final

Real Madrid and Liverpool were the favorites to advance to the Champions League final prior to the semifinal, and they’re now both bigger favorites to meet. With a 2-1 aggregate lead in their matchup, Real Madrid are -450 to get to the final with Bayern offered at +300. Meanwhile, Liverpool take a 5-2 lead into Rome for the second leg and are massive -1600 favorites to finish them off. At +900, Roma will need to pull off another miracle to advance.

Odds to win Champions League

Real Madrid impressively keep rolling through this tournament and are nearly odds-on favorites to win the title at this point. Once again Roma are the biggest longshots at +3300 after they were as high as +25000 just three weeks ago.

After analyzing the betting market for the semifinal second legs, I’ve picked out value plays in both.

(All odds via Pinnacle at time of publication. All betting percentages are offshore market consensus. You can find the latest odds and public/sharp info with a Sports Insights membership.)

Second Leg Matches

Bayern Munich at Real Madrid (Tuesday, 2:45 p.m. ET)
Moneyline Odds: Real Madrid +110, Bayern Munich +225, Draw +310

In the opening leg in Germany, Bayern Munich went up, 1-0, in the first half, but both Arjen Robben and Jerome Boatang left the game early with injuries. The Germans conceded right before halftime and eventually lost the match, 2-1. Unfortunately both Boatang and Robben will miss the return leg in Spain, as will Kingsley Coman and Arturo Vidal.

As for Real Madrid, they’ll be without both Isco and Dani Carvajal due to injuries and Nacho is still unlikely to feature as well. Both clubs did field plenty of reserves in league play over the weekend in order to rest players for this week’s action.

Goals have been flying in recently for both Real Madrid and Bayern Munich Champions League matches – there have been at least three goals scored in eight straight Real Madrid games, and there have been at least three goals scored in 14 of Bayern’s last 15 games (via For Tuesday’s meeting between the two clubs, the O/U has been set very high at 3.5 goals so bettors should expect plenty of scoring opportunities.

The moneyline odds for the second leg are very similar to the first leg with the home side being slight favorites to win (+110). There are similar betting patterns in each leg as bettors are more than willing to take the road team (and higher payout) to win straight-up. Real Madrid cashed for public bettors in the first leg at +265 odds, and Bayern Munich will look to do the same in the second leg at +225 odds.

I did feel good about my Bayern bet in the opening leg but multiple injuries in the first half to key players obviously altered their game plan and formation. Despite getting out to a 1-0 lead, they weren’t able to hold on and now find themselves having to win in Spain.

Much like public bettors around the market, I’m not willing to count out Bayern Munich. They’re still flying under-the-radar since all of the attention is focused toward Real Madrid, and they’re one of the few clubs who can overcome injury issues.

At +225 odds, I like the value on Bayern to win the second leg. They should get plenty of opportunities against Real Madrid and will obviously need to capitalize on those chances. I’m hoping to see a 2-1 scoreline in regular time which would mean extra time and potentially penalty kicks to determine who makes the final.


Liverpool at Roma (Wednesday, 2:45 p.m. ET)
Moneyline Odds: Roma +156, Liverpool +158, Draw +304

Liverpool went up, 5-0, over Roma at Anfield in the opening leg but gave up two late goals to make the final score 5-2. Those road goals are critical because a 3-0 or 4-1 Roma win in the second leg means the Italians would advance, just like they did against Barcelona in the quarterfinal. It will be another monumental task to overcome, but the goals at least leave some hope and intrigue for the second leg, especially playing at home.

Another positive in Roma’s direction is on the injury front. While Roma barely have any new concerns (just Karsdorp and Defrel are out), Liverpool are dealing with a plethora of health issues. Midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was injured in the first leg and will miss the rest of the season, and they’ll again be without guys like Lallana, Matip and Can.

Perhaps their biggest concern, striker Sadio Mane, was held out over the weekend with a hamstring issue but may be fit in time for Wednesday. Bettors should always be aware of injury statuses’ as they can change the odds, or even just the perception of the odds.

For the second leg in Italy, Roma are actually the small “favorites” to win (+156) and make this semifinal competitive. The betting market doesn’t believe a draw is in the cards as it’s being offered at the longest odds of +304.

To little surprise, public bettors are hammering Liverpool to win on the road as the +158 payout is much too tempting. However, I’m not sure if those same public bettors bothered watching Roma beat Barcelona, 3-0, last round. The Italians were dominant and held Barcelona completely in check. If they can do some of the same things against an opponent like Liverpool, we could be in store for another miracle.

At the very least, Roma can win the match at home even if they don’t advance. I’m going the contrarian route for Wednesday and fading the public by taking Roma +156 to win the second leg.

You can also follow me on Twitter (@ArsenalDMC) for the latest soccer news and updates.

Cover photo features Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos piggybacking on Marcelo