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Celtic vs. Real Madrid Betting Preview: Updated Champions League Odds, Picks, Prediction

Celtic vs. Real Madrid Betting Preview: Updated Champions League Odds, Picks, Prediction article feature image
Credit:

David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images. Pictured: Real Madrid standout Vinícius Júnior.

  • Reigning title holder Real Madrid hits the road to face Celtic in Tuesday's Champions League action.
  • Los Blancos are huge road favorites, but handicapper Anthony Dabbundo explains why he thinks the hosts can scratch out a result.
  • Check out below to find out how he's betting the Scottish Premier League juggernaut.

Celtic vs. Real Madrid Odds

Celtic Odds +440
Real Madrid Odds -170
Draw +330
Over/Under 2.5 (-156 / +128)
Day | Time Tuesday | 3 p.m. ET
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Odds updated as of Tuesday afternoon via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

The defending Champions League title holder kicks off its 2022-23 campaign Tuesday when Real Madrid visits Glasgow to take on Celtic.

Los Blancos was last seen in this prestigious European tournament upsetting Premier League giants Manchester City and Liverpool, en route to their record 14th UCL title.

Celtic hasn’t played in this elite competition since the 2012-13 edition of the event and Celtic Park is sure to be a difficult environment for the visitors with Real Madrid hitting the road for this match.

The defending Scottish champions are not to be overlooked, as their underlying numbers in the Europa League last season suggest they’re more than capable of competing with the Spanish giant, especially on home soil.

The Champions League often sees some shock results in the group stage and the price is definitely overvaluing Madrid off its title run.

Celtic

This is Celtic’s first trip to the Champions League in 10 years, but the Scottish side did compete in the Europa League group stage last season. In six matches against Bayer Leverkusen, Real Betis and Ferencváros, the club finished with an even expected-goal difference. In two matches against Real Betis — another Spanish side — Celtic drew even with it on a 6-6 aggregate total and barely lost on xG overall.

Celtic also had a dominant season in the Scottish Premier League, averaging 2.6 xG per match and only 0.9 xG allowed. That suggests it will certainly have some defensive issues in the UCL, but it also should be able to produce some attacking threat to the sides from the bigger leagues in this competition.

Most of the main group of players that provided so much success last season are back in the fold as well, which provides reason to think the club will maintain the level it showed last season.

By The Numbers

  • 6.9 — In four matches against Leverkusen and Betis last season, Celtic has managed this number of expected goals.
  • 4-0 — Celtic beat archrival Rangers by this scoreline in the Old Firm Derby this past weekend in their latest showdown.
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Real Madrid

Real Madrid won the Champions League last season in one of the more historically fortunate runs. Los Blancos came from behind in the second half of all of the second leg matches of the knockout stages.

Against Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City, late goals and drama rescued Real Madrid from elimination. The club finished the tournament with 21.6 xG for and 19.6 xGA overall. That’s slightly above average in terms of creating and allowing chances.

Los Blancos actually scored 28 goals and conceded 14 in their matches, which shows how well they ran variance wise at both ends of the pitch.


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Karim Benzema and Vinícius Júnior were stellar in their finishing, but it’s unreasonable to expect that to continue at the rate it did. The biggest question mark with Real Madrid isn’t the goals though. It’s how it prevents them.

Despite midfield upgrades, Real Madrid still has the same defensive issues it had during the last campaign. The defense finished in the bottom half of La Liga based on xGA and yielded the 13th-most big scoring chances per match.

That was last season, but the early returns from Spain aren’t that encouraging either. Los Blancos conceded in all four of their league matches to date despite a pretty mediocre slate of opponents. That said, Celtic can find success based on how it performed last year in the Europa League and just how dominant it has been in Scotland.

By The Numbers

  • 0.9 — Real Madrid conceded about one xG per match in the UCL group stage last season.
  • 15 — Real’s defense ran ridiculously hot last season, conceding just 31 goals from 46 xGA in Spain, which was this number for goal over-performance.
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Betting Analysis & Pick

The market continues to show too much love for the defending champion and I’m going to keep looking to play against it at these inflated prices. Real Madrid is the better side and has all of the pedigree and history, but the defense is leaking too many goals to justify it being this much of a road favorite against a Celtic side that has plenty of scoring threats.

Fellow Action Network handicapper BJ Cunningham projects Real Madrid at less than 50% to take all three points from this contest. Plus, the Scottish top flight represented itself well in Europe last year, with Rangers making it all the way to the Europa League final.

A more compact Celtic defense could keep Real Madrid in check enough to get a home result.

The Pick: Celtic +1 (-120 or better)

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