Champions League Betting Odds & Projections: Our Best Bets, Featuring Benfica vs. Paris Saint-Germain

Champions League Betting Odds & Projections: Our Best Bets, Featuring Benfica vs. Paris Saint-Germain article feature image

Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images.

The Champions League is back for matchweek three on Tuesday with a fantastic slate of matches.

BJ Cunningham and Anthony Dabbundo are here to take you through this latest set of contests with their best bets on the slate.

The pair, which is part of the Wondergoal podcast crew, will be taking you through the Champions League fixtures, delivering their favorite picks along the way. They'll also provide their individual model projections for the games.

If you'd like to see picks from Cunningham and Dabbundo during the season for all UCL action and all five European leagues, follow them in the Action Network App.

Cunningham's Model Projections

Marseille vs. Sporting Lisbon

Marseille Odds+230
Sporting Lisbon Odds+115
Over/Under2.5 (-110 / -110)
Day | TimeTuesday | 12:45 p.m. ET
How To WatchParamount+
Odds via Bet365. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Dabbundo: Sporting Lisbon have yet to concede in their Champions League group through two matches and are in the pole position to win the group at this point. Defensively, the team has defended really well in its low block and managed to keep both Frankfurt and Spurs under one expected goal created in each match.

The goal for Sporting now is to get a point on the road in this match, and I don’t think that Marseille’s attack will provide enough consistent pressure and sustained possession in the final third to produce enough chances to break them down. 

Marseille’s attack remains extremely overrated in the market after struggling to create big chances but finishing at an unsustainable level in France. Marseille has 19 goals from about 13 expected, and its attack is just slightly above average in France. They’re just sixth in shots, fifth in average shot distance and are third in goals.

Marseille lost their first two matches and have had really poor results in the Champions League in their last three trips to the competition now. With Sporting not needing a win, this has all the makings of a low-scoring affair and not many transition opportunities for both clubs. 

The total of 2.5 is a touch inflated because of Marseille’s elite finishing, but don’t ignore that Sporting have also scored five goals in the CL off of just 2.2 xG this year. 

Pick: Under 2.5 goals (-110) (Bet365)

Frankfurt vs. Tottenham

Frankfurt Odds+230
Tottenham Odds+115
Over/Under2.5 (-125 / +100)
Day | TimeTuesday | 3 p.m. ET
How To WatchParamount+
Odds via Bet365. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Dabbundo: Spurs have been generally overrated in the market in my view for the last couple months as they have failed to reach the heights of the second half of last year in their performances. But this is a great bounceback spot after the loss in the North London Derby that was mostly driven by two fluke goals.

Arsenal were the better side in that match, but Spurs didn't play badly enough in one game to warrant such a shift in price for this match. Tottenham were -115 in the lookahead for this match and are now +110 on the three-way moneyline. While Spurs struggled to break down the more conservative Sporting Lisbon and Marseille out of possession in its first two CL matches, I think they'll have less trouble with the high press and high line of the Bundesliga side on Tuesday.

Tottenham are still +0.45 xG difference per 90 in the Premier League, and Frankfurt are in the negative in Germany. If you factor in the difference between the two leagues and then add in home field for Frankfurt, I still make Spurs a favorite by more than half of a goal. Frankfurt’s attack is reliant on forcing high turnovers and generating chances from the wings. The German side is second in high turnovers forced and first in goals scored from these chances.

There’s a risk-reward to playing this way, though, and Spurs are poised to break through in transition and create a few big scoring chances. 

Tottenham win this more than half of the time in my projections, and I'll bet them on the moneyline at anything plus money or better.

Pick: Tottenham +115 (Bet365)

Porto vs. Leverkusen

Porto Odds+110
Leverkusen Odds+225
Over/Under2.5 (-138 / +110)
Day | TimeTuesday | 3 p.m. ET
How To WatchParamount+
Odds via Bet365. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Cunningham: I’ll be honest, I don’t know how Porto got beat so badly by Club Brugge. Either way, it’s desperation time for them after losing their first two matches. They were by far the better team in the match against Atletico Madrid, winning on xG 1.7 to 0.7, and they’ve been dominating the Portuguese league, as they already have a +11.9 xGD in their first eight matches.

They just hosted a red hot Braga side that was riding an eight match win streak in all competitions, including wins in the Europa League over Union Berlin and Malmo; Porto absolutely obliterated them 4-1, and outcreated them on xG 4.5 to 0.6 creating eight big scoring chances. 

image via

Leverkusen are coming off getting dismantled by Bayern Munich and are still in the relegation zone in the Bundesliga despite basically having an even expected goal differential. If you look at the timing of when Leverkusen created their chances against Atletico, three of their four big scoring chances came after the 70th when they were able to start to open up the match. 

This is the same argument I made when talking about the Frankfurt/Sporting match, and it’s that the gap between Germany and Portugal is not that wide if you look at UEFA coefficients. I only have Germany rated 0.43 goals better than Portugal, so factoring in that Porto since the start of last season is at +1.59 per 90 minutes, Leverkusen is at +0.55 xGD per 90 minutes. 

Overall, I have Porto projected at -155, so give the Portuguese side at +113 (Caesars).

Pick: Porto +113

Benfica vs. PSG

Benfica Odds+320
PSG Odds-138
Over/Under2.5 (-200 / +162)
Day | TimeWednesday | 3 p.m. ET
How To WatchParamount+
Odds via Bet365. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Cunningham: This PSG team continues to get priced as one of the two or three best teams in the world, which is so not the case.

Against Juventus, Mbappe scored two bangers, and then they basically sat off and allowed a terrible team to control the rest of the match. Against Haifa, they went behind because they were playing a high line and got cocky, and Haifa punished them. But they went on to win 3-1, so of course everything is fine.

PSG’s xThreat against Maccabi Haifa was 1.13 and against Juventus it was 1.03. Those are not elite numbers, especially when you are going up against a defense this good. 

They had a sleepy 2-1 win over Nice this past weekend where they only created 0.90 xG, and now, outside of maybe the Lyon match, this is their toughest test of the season — going on the road to Portugal to play a really, really good Benfica side.

Benfica to start the year in the Portuguese league have a +16.4 xGD in eight matches. They’ve allowed a total of 2.5 xG domestically in eight matches. They absolutely dismantled Juventus on the road after conceding on a set piece in the fourth minute. They won the match 2-1 and won on xG 2.2 to 0.7, while touches in the penalty area were 38 to 16 and box entries were 30 to 8, per

Benfica are also red hot. They drew 0-0 over the weekend with Vitoria in the Portuguese League, but they had won 13 straight matches before that. They also used the Darwin Nunez money to go get some really good players, like David Neres, who was a staple at Ajax for a number of years, and former PSG player Julian Draxler. 

I have this match projected close to a pick'em, so give me Benfica +0.5 at +117 (BetRivers).

Pick: Benfica +0.5 (+117)

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