Barcelona vs. Benfica Odds, Prediction, Betting Preview: Can Visitors Spoil Xavi’s UCL Debut?

Barcelona vs. Benfica Odds, Prediction, Betting Preview: Can Visitors Spoil Xavi’s UCL Debut? article feature image
Credit:

Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images. Pictured: Xavi

  • Barcelona is a big favorite over Benfica in Xavi's Champions League debut on Tuesday afternoon.
  • Brett Pund thinks the underdog can keep it close, however, and is betting Benfica on the Asian handicap.
  • Get his full Barcelona vs. Benfica pick and preview below.

Barcelona vs. Benfica Odds

Barcelona Odds -190
Benfica Odds +550
Draw +340
Over/Under 2.5 (-135 / +110)
Day | Time Tuesday | 3 p.m. ET
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Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

A pivotal match in Group E of the Champions League will take place at the Camp Nou on Tuesday night when Barcelona hosts Benfica.

With only two group stage matches left for both sides, the Spanish giants are second in the group on six points, while the Portuguese club is behind them in third with four points.

The two teams met Matchday 2 of the competition, which was a match dominated by Benfica in a 3-0 victory.

Since that fixture back in September, Barcelona has made the switch to former legend Xavi as manager, but will this be enough to turn the tide in the rematch?

Xavi Takes Over Barcelona

Life with Xavi as manager got off to a triumphant start over the weekend in the 1-0 derby victory over Espanyol, but there will still be a lot of questions to answer about the new leader.

His only other stop in management was in the Qatar Stars League with Al Sadd SC, where he led the club to seven trophies over a three-year period.

The former Spanish midfielder will need to hit the ground running quickly, with Barcelona currently in sixth in the La Liga and having Bayern in its final matchday of the Champions League.

He won’t have a full squad at his disposal as the Catalan side has a long list of absentees, including Pedri, Sergio Agüero, Ansu Fati and Nico González.

Benfica No Pushover in Competition

Benfica is off to another solid season this campaign, with only one loss in its domestic league to sit in third behind Porto and Sporting CP.

If you take away the two consecutive defeats against Bayern, the Eagles have also shown well in the Champions League, which started by advancing through qualifying rounds against Spartak Moscow and PSV Eindhoven to go with a draw with Dynamo Kyiv in the group stage.

Jorge Jesus’ team has won the expected goals battle in the UCL matches that didn’t include the German champions, and Benfica picked up a resounding 6-1 triumph over Europa League qualifiers Braga in its last league match.

The Eagles have some familiar English Premier League faces on their roster, including defenders Jan Vertonghen and Nicolás Otamendi and midfielder João Mário.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

The oddsmakers at DraftKings have the home team as the -160 favorite for the rematch to go with a total of 3 that is shaded to the under at -125.

If you look back at the last match between the two teams, Benfica was +105 in the draw no bet market. I know this because it was also a game I covered here for the Action Network.

Fati and Pedri both played in that fixture, and the two are likely out for the rematch. You then take into effect the change to Xavi as manager and Barcelona becoming the home team in the return leg.

When you take all of those things into consideration after a 3-0 rout by the Eagles, the same bet is now listed as +290 for Benfica in this contest.

This is a very big swing in the price, which is why I’m taking the visitors on the Asian handicap of +0.75 at +105 as my best bet.

Even if we see a big change in how Barcelona plays with a new manager, the injury-riddled squad makes this price way too big to back the Spanish giants in this one.

With the Portuguese side knowing it has the better of the final opponents in Matchday 6, it makes avoiding defeat in Spain the top priority, and I think Benfica is a great value to do just that.

Pick: Benfica +0.75  (+105)

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