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Champions League Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Our Projections & Best Bets, Including Chelsea vs. Real Madrid (April 5-6)

Champions League Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Our Projections & Best Bets, Including Chelsea vs. Real Madrid (April 5-6) article feature image
Credit:

Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images. Pictured: Manager Thomas Tuchel of Chelsea.

We’ve made it to the quarterfinal stage of the Champions League after some incredible drama in the Round of 16 stage of the competition.

Here are the quarterfinal matchups that kick off this week around Europe:

Quarter-final time! 😀

Who will take a first-leg advantage? #UCL

— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 4, 2022

The most intruging matchups have to be a rematch of last year’s semifinal between Chelsea and Real Madrid, along with a showdown between the reigning Premier League champion (Manchester City) and current La Liga title holder AtlĂ©tico Madrid.

If you are reading this article for the first time, I will be putting out these projections every week there are Champions League matches until the end of the tournament. If you’d like to read more about how I determine my projected lines and totals using an expected-goals model, you can read about it here.

For Champions League, my projections factor in UEFA Coefficients for every country represented in the competition. The projections also factor in the talent of each squad based on their total transfer value on TransferMarkt. That way, the projections can account for the strength of the domestic league each club plays in and talent level of each club.

You can use these projections to identify betting value on current lines, plus follow me in The Action Network App to see any bets I make during the week.

Champions League Projections

Man City vs. Atlético Madrid

Man City Odds -275
Atlético Madrid Odds +725
Draw +375
Over/Under 2.5 (-140 / +100)
Day | Time Tuesday | 3 p.m. ET
How To Watch CBS | Paramount+ | fuboTV
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

The pace of this match is going to be incredibly slow. Atlético Madrid is going to sit back in its 4-4-2 formation like it did against Manchester United, allow Manchester City around 70% of the possession and look to exploit it on the counterattack, which I believe is a game plan that can work.

Even though City dominated Sporting, which also played out of a 4-4-2 setup, it only created 2.9 expected goals over the two legs. Additionally, the Cityzens just faced Burnley this past weekend, who play a very similar style to Atlético Madrid and only generated 1.9 xG in their 2-0 victory.

My guess is AtlĂ©tico is going to play cautiously in the first leg at Etihad Stadium and try to win the tie in Madrid. So, even though Manchester City is going to be spending pretty much the whole match in their the Spanish side’s half of the pitch, I’m not sure it’s going to create a boatload of quality chances.

Atlético has only conceded a total of 22 big scoring chances in 30 La Liga matches, plus they allowed just one big scoring chance in the two legs with Manchester United.

*(graphic via fbref.com)

Manchester City is also not the type of team that’s going to exploit AtlĂ©tico Madrid when it’s out of position on defense. Manager Pep Guardiola’s team has the slowest sequence time and direct speed of anyone in Europe’s top-five leagues. The Cityzens are averaging 68% possession in the EPL this season.

So, with Atlético Madrid sitting back in a low block and forcing Manchester City to beat it with a ton of low-quality chances, I believe we are going to see a low-event type match. Also, both defenses are yielding less than 0.90 xG per match on the domestic front this season.

I have 2.33 goals projected for this contest, so I like the value on the total staying under 2.5 goals at +105 odds via Caesars and will make it my top pick.

Pick: Total Under 2.5 Goals (+105)

Villarreal vs. Bayern Munich

Villarreal Odds +450
Bayern Munich Odds -165
Draw +310
Over/Under 2.5 (-175 / +125)
Day | Time Wednesday | 3 p.m. ET
How To Watch Paramount+ | fuboTV
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Bayern Munich is overvalued in this road spot . Now, Villarreal hasn’t been in good form in La Liga of late, losing back-to-back road matches to CĂĄdiz and Levante. However, the Yellow Submarine is going to play the same style that RB Salzburg utilized in the first leg against the Bavarians, except it has more threatening attackers than the Austrian side.

Villarreal completely dominated Serie A power Juventus over their two-leg tie, winning the xG battle by a 3.4-1.6 aggregate margin.

Now, this is a massive step up in competition and Bayern could blow Villarreal out of the water, but the German giant has had some questionable results as of late, like losing to Bochum, drawing RB Salzburg and settling for a home tie with Bayer Leverkusen.

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If you’re going to give Bayern problems, you have to be able to play through its high press and press it back effectively, which Villarreal is capable of doing. Manager Unai Emery’s side is third in PPDA and fourth in Offensive PPDA in the Spanish top flight.

The Yellow Submarine also did a fantastic job against Juventus preventing the Italian club from getting into the penalty area, allowing only 31 total touches in the 18-yard box over the two legs. That’s another thing you have to be able to prevent Bayern from doing, considering they’re averaging 41.1 touches in the penalty area in the Bundesliga this season, per fbref.com.

Additionally, Bayern has a +1.69 xGDiff per 90 minutes, while Villarreal is sitting at +0.49 overall. When you adjust for UEFA coefficients (La Liga 21 points higher than Bundesliga) and the home-field advantage, the Bavarians sitting at -180 moneyline odds is a tad too high.

That said, I love Villarreal getting +1 on the spread line in the neighborhood of -115 odds to get a home result in the first leg.

Pick: Villarreal +1 (-115)

Chelsea vs. Real Madrid 

Chelsea Odds +105
Real Madrid Odds +260
Draw +240
Over/Under 2.5 (+100 / -140)
Day | Time Wednesday | 3 p.m. ET
How To Watch CBS | Paramount+ | fuboTV
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

If Real Madrid decides to play the exact same way it did against Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg, the La Liga side will be in trouble. Even though Chelsea had a shockingly bad performance against Brentford over the weekend, the reigning UCL champion is currently undervalued in the betting market.

Since Dec. 16, the Blues are only allowing 0.71 xG per match in the English top flight. During that stretch, only Liverpool and Brentford have created more than one xG against their defense. Chelsea has also allowed just four big scoring chances in their last 11 matches.

Now, Real Madrid is a massive step up in competition, but the problem it had in the first leg against PSG is that it couldn’t play through its high press and was incredibly sloppy in transition offense. Chelsea is fifth in the EPL in PPDA, so it’s capable of the type of pressing that PSG was so effective at in the first leg.

*(graphic via infogol.net)

I know a lot has changed in a year, but if we go back to last year’s Champions League semifinal round when these two met, Chelsea completely dominated Real Madrid over the two legs via 4.3-0.6 xG advantage.

The second leg at Stamford Bridge was a disaster for Los Blancos, as the Blues put up 2.9 xG and only allowed the visitors to get off just seven shots and seven touches in the penalty area.

Also, Chelsea is getting Reece James back in the lineup, which is a massive boost for Tuchel’s 3-4-2-1 formation. 

I have Chelsea projected at -122, so I like the value we’re getting on the host side at +108 to win the first leg of this confrontation.

Pick: Chelsea ML (+108)

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