Champions League Odds, Picks, Prediction, Preview, Best Bets: Back Mohamed Salah, Liverpool to Put Away Benfica at Anfield
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images. Pictured: Liverpool standouts Roberto Firmino and Virgil van Dijk.
- Liverpool welcomes Benfica to Anfield for Wednesday's Champions League match.
- The Reds, who are massive -375 moneyline home favorites, hold a 3-1 edge on aggregate ahead of this affair.
- Avery Zimmerman breaks down the contest below and explains why he expects Liverpool to cruise to the victory.
Liverpool vs. Benfica Odds
|Over/Under||3.5 (-105 / -130)|
|Day | Time||Wednesday | 3 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||Paramount+ | fuboTV|
|Odds updated as of Wednesday afternoon via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.|
Wednesday’s Champions League action features Liverpool hosting Benfica at Anfield in the second leg of their quarterfinal-round tie.
It would be one of the biggest shocks in the history of the competition if the Portuguese side found a way to progress (you can get Benfica as high as +3000 to advance to the semifinal stage), but this is a place where we’ve seen some crazy things happen over the years.
So, does Benfica have any chance of pushing Liverpool for a result? Let’s dive into it and see where we can find some betting value.
Liverpool in Tense Period of Play
Including the Reds’ most recent fixtures, their run in looks like this: Benfica (UCL), Manchester City (EPL), Benfica (UCL), Manchester City (FA Cup), Manchester United (EPL) and Everton in an EPL clash. That’s just about as intense of a period as Liverpool can possibly play, with UCL games, key league matches against rivals and a head-to-head clash with its fellow title contender.
The Reds’ level couldn’t and can’t drop for an instant or they would face elimination from the UCL, City running away with the EPL title or elimination from the FA Cup. The former two are the most important, and perhaps Liverpool could struggle just a tad only in this upcoming fixture and survive, but this is as intense as a schedule gets in the sport.
As such, the key question heading into the third game of the six-game period is can Liverpool maintain its level ahead of yet another key fixture?
Liverpool recently drew with Manchester City in their crucial EPL battle, and it was probably a fair result overall. We also know that of all teams in the world, if any is capable of maintaining form through a difficult period, Liverpool is right at the top of teams you’d think about.
This is a club that has challenged on two fronts for four years in a row (with one EPL blip last year), so belief within the club will be high. If fitness can match that confidence, Liverpool should be well on its way toward the semifinals.
Benfica Seeking Miracle of Highest Order
Take a look at these results:
- Liverpool 4, Barcelona 0
- Roma 3, Barcelona 0
- Barcelona 6, Paris Saint-Germain 1
- Chelsea 4, Napoli 1
Those are just some of the greatest UCL second-leg, knockout-stage comebacks in the competition’s history, so it feels like Benfica progressing here could top just about all of those.
The Eagles need to go to Anfield and do something only one team has done across all competitions and that’s beat the Reds in home soil. It might provide a bit of solace to Benfica knowing the one team that completed that feat was in a remarkably similar situation to itself, but that won’t make it any easier.
Inter Milan went into Anfield with a two-goal deficit in the Round of 16, just as Benfica is here, and it beat the Reds via its 1-0 shutout. Of course, that result still put Liverpool through, so the best result that any away team notched at Anfield wouldn’t be enough to send Benfica through to the semifinal round.
Nonetheless, as I mentioned above, we’ve seen some wild results in these situations over the past five years and Benfica will come in knowing they need goals with nothing to lose.
In this sport, you never know.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Second legs that have near impossible results are always difficult to evaluate, but in this case, the analytics point to an overwhelming result.
Liverpool’s 1.17 expected-goals margin/game in UCL play at home is actually worse than its overall differential when accounting for road games, but in the EPL that number rises to 1.78 overall.
For Benfica, its road xG differential sits at -0.65, but the issue for the underdog is that it needs to take the initiative. That isn’t how Benfica typically succeeds, as it showed against Ajax that it can counterattack and defend like an elite side when needed.
Considering the Reds boast one of, if not the best defense in the world right now, there isn’t a great outlook for the underdogs to have a path through.
I’ll trust Liverpool to do what it has been doing all year and thrive at home against a side with its back against the wall.
Pick: Liverpool -1.5 (-130)
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