Champions League Odds & Pick: Real Madrid vs. Manchester City (Friday, August 7)
David Ramos/Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin De Bruyne.
- Manchester City is favored over Real Madrid in Friday Champions League action.
- Man City won the first leg of this Round of 16 clash in February.
- Anthony Dabbundo makes this line Man City -175, so he sees some value in the Cityzens at -140.
Real Madrid vs. Manchester City
|Real Madrid Odds||+335|
|Manchester City Odds||-143|
|Time||3 p.m. ET|
|TV||CBS Sports Network|
More than five months after Kevin De Bruyne’s penalty goal secured a 2-1 win for Manchester City at Real Madrid in February, the current champions of Spain will travel to Manchester to finish the second leg of their Champions League knockout tie.
For the Cityzens, the math is simple. A win, a draw, or a 1-0 loss will see them progress into a quarterfinal matchup with either Lyon or Juventus next week in Lisbon. Real Madrid needs either a two-goal win or a win with at least two goals scored to have any chance of progressing.
While Manchester City stumbled with defensive errors and inconsistency for most of the Premier League season and were bounced from the FA Cup semifinal by Arsenal, the focus has always been on the CL. City has never won it, and much criticism has come of the club for repeated failures in the knockout stage of the tournament.
But Manchester City’s offense has been unstoppable since the PL restart. Yes, the Cityzens haven’t had Sergio Aguero, but Gabriel Jesus has more than proven himself as a capable striker. City scored three goals per match at home this year, generated 50.49 xG in 19 home matches, and averaged 2.91 xG per match since the PL restart. City, Liverpool and Bayern have been in a tier above the rest of the world for most of this season in advanced numbers.
Perhaps most importantly, Real Madrid will be without its captain and best defender, Sergio Ramos. Ramos is one of their best aerial threats on set pieces going forward and has been the captain since 2015. His red card at the end of the first leg means he’s unavailable for Madrid.
Since Zinedine Zidane returned as the manager of Real Madrid, its defensive numbers improved dramatically. Real conceded just 25 goals on 33 xGA en route to a La Liga title in 2020, but this came at a sacrifice of offensive output — output they will need if they want to score two goals at the Etihad. Since the restart, Madrid’s average xGF has dropped by 0.4 goals per match. Madrid already had problems defending City with Ramos in the lineup and a more defensive structure at home in the first leg. Now, without Ramos, on the road, and needing two goals, I’m expecting City to find multiple goals here.
In the first leg, City won, 2-1, but created five big scoring chances and generated 3.14 xG. That was with Ramos in the lineup. On the other hand, City’s defensive numbers with Aymeric Laporte in are dramatically better, and Madrid was only able to create two big scoring chances at home.
It’s pretty rare you’ll find this cheap of a moneyline price on what I have as the world’s second-best team at home in its most important match of the season to date. I’ll back the Cityzens to win this match and advance to a quarterfinal date with Lyon or Juventus next week. My number makes Manchester City a -175 favorite as well.
If you have a book that enables same-game parlays, then a Manchester City ML and over 2.5 goals is worth a look (+125), as I’m expecting a wide open match.
The Pick: Manchester City (-140)