Champions League Round of 16: Bettors Backing Ajax to Upset Real Madrid

Champions League Round of 16: Bettors Backing Ajax to Upset Real Madrid article feature image
  • The Champions League Round of 16 returns on Tuesday with second leg action between Real Madrid-Ajax (3 p.m. ET on TNT). Real Madrid won the opening leg in Amsterdam, 2-1.
  • Odds have been available for nearly three weeks and there's been considerable action and line movement on a big upset.

The second leg between Real Madrid and Ajax will be played Tuesday in Madrid at 3 p.m. ET and the match will be televised on TNT and Univision in addition to streaming on B/R Live, fuboTV, Playstation Vue and Sling TV.

In the opening leg in Amsterdam, Marco Asensio scored in the 87th minute to give Real Madrid a 2-1 victory at Ajax, also saving more than 80% of public bettors in the process.

Real Madrid have won the Champions League in four of the last five seasons while Ajax have not reached the quarterfinal round since 1996-97.

Odds (Real Madrid lead 2-1)

Real Madrid have the clear advantage to advance at -1250 odds, and oddsmakers are expecting a free-flowing second leg with a total of 3.5.

Champions League clubs that take a 2-1 lead into the second leg at home have gone on to advance on all eight previous occasions, and Real Madrid will seek to make it nine straight.

Real Madrid will advance with any win or draw, and a 1-0 loss would also be enough to move on. A 2-1 loss would send the game to extra time, while any other Real Madrid loss would see Ajax advance to the quarterfinals.

Injuries + Suspensions

  • Real Madrid: Sergio Ramos (two-match suspension for ‘intentional’ card accumulation)
  • Ajax: None

Betting Market Breakdown

Real Madrid have to be a bit concerned heading into the second leg despite owning a 2-1 advantage and playing at the Santiago Bernabeu. They were outplayed in the first leg and Los Blancos will be without defensive stalwart Sergio Ramos due to an extended suspension.

To make matters worse, Real just suffered two consecutive home losses against rivals Barcelona, one in the Copa del Rey semifinal and the other in La Liga, essentially eliminating them from both titles. The pressure is now on to win the club’s fifth Champions League title in six years, which could ultimately salvage the season.

We’ve seen remarkable line movement for Tuesday’s game since odds have been available for nearly three weeks. Real Madrid originally opened in the -350 range back on February 13th, but that has dwindled down to -150, an incredible 17% change in implied win probability.

 

Ajax opened in the +875 range and even touched above +900, but their odds have shrunk to +415. It’s been no secret that Real Madrid have been prone to big upsets this season, although this wouldn’t even crack the top-five.

Moneyline betting hasn’t nearly been as lopsided for the second leg as it was for the first, and Ajax are receiving nearly 30% of all wagers to win outright. At this point they’re looking like a trendy road underdog, but early bettors definitely got some value when the moneyline was north of +600.

Ajax also benefit from the fact they did not play a league match over the weekend so they should be well rested.

Another significant shift in odds has been the over/under, increasing from 3 to 3.5. Nearly 90% of public bettors have taken the over at 3/3.5 but sharp bettors were on board when the total was still at 3.

There have been at least three goals scored in 30 of the last 33 matches Real Madrid have played in the Champions League.

Real Madrid enter Tuesday’s contest with the fourth-best odds at +900 to lift the trophy. Ajax have the second-longest odds at 200-1.


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