Champions League Odds, Picks, Prediction: Juventus vs. Villarreal Betting Preview (March 16)
Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images. Pictured: Juventus standout and United States international Weston McKennie.
- Juventus hosts Spanish outfit Villarreal in Wednesday's Champions League clash.
- The Old Lady, who enters this meeting as the -105 ML favorite, settled for a 1-1 draw in the first meeting with the La Liga side.
- Anthony Dabbundo breaks down the matchup below and details why he's backing Villarreal to get a result.
Juventus vs. Villarreal Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (+100 / -125)|
|Day | Time||Wednesday | 4 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||Paramount+ | fuboTV|
|Odds updated via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.|
Juventus striker Dušan Vlahović scored just 30 seconds into the first leg of the club’s Champions League Round of 16 tie with Villarreal, giving the Italian side a 1-0 lead to immediately grab control of the matchup.
For the next 89 minutes, Villarreal fought its way back into the match and controlled large stretches of it. The hard work paid off for the Yellow Submarine, who scored an equalizer and earned a 1-1 draw as the tie now shifts to Turin on Wednesday for the return fixture.
Juventus is the favorite to advance, needing just a win at home, but Villarreal will be encouraged by how it played in the first match. The La Liga club won the expected goals by a 1.1-0.5 margin, holding Vlahović to just two shot attempts.
Villarreal also hit the post in the first half and easily could have won the match given the quality of chances created in the entire 90 minutes. Since that game, Villarreal has continued its fine form in the Spanish top flight with a dominant win against Espanyol and a comfortable 1-0 victory against Celta Vigo.
Juventus has continued to win in Italy, but the underlying performances continue to underwhelm a bit when you consider the chances created and allowed. Despite wins against Empoli, Fiorentina and Sampdoria, The Old Lady either lost or played even with the opponent in the xG battle in each.
I believed Juventus was overvalued heading into the first leg and still think that to be the case in the second leg as it shifts to Italy.
Juventus Dealing With Personnel Issues
Juventus has played four matches since the first leg draw in Spain. It has won all four matches, but led on xG just 1.9-1.3 against Empoli, lost xG (1.6-1.1) to Sampdoria and was outshot, 22-6, by Fiorentina in Coppa Italia play.
Weston McKennie suffered a foot injury and will be out for the match, as well new signing Denis Zakaria. All of a sudden, The Old Lady seems a bit thin in the midfield, with just Adrien Rabiot, Manuel Locatelli and Arthur available.
The bench is quite short behind those three and Federico Chiesa remains out due to injury. Even though Juventus should be returning Paulo Dybala and Giorgio Chiellini for this match, Juventus is short-handed in the middle of the park and that was a key area they struggled in the first leg.
Max Allegri is notoriously conservative in his approach and some have said Juventus is attacking with the hand brake on to avoid being too open at the back. However, the talent isn’t at the point where Juventus is getting a ton of shot production anyway.
Vlahović has never relied on big-time shot totals to create production; Alvaro Morata has seen a significant dip in his shot numbers; and, the loss of Chiesa takes a lot of explosiveness out of this attack.
Juventus grabbed the lead in the opener and wasn’t able to control the game after that point, so I don’t expect it to be able to boss the midfield if manager Unai Emery isn’t setting the club up tactically to cede control of the ball.
Villarreal Cruising Along in Spanish Top Flight
While Juventus has continued to struggle with its underlying performances in Italy, Villarreal hasn’t had many issues in Spain. They did lose to Osasuna on the road in a flat performance, but created 4.9 xG in two games against Espanyol and Celta Vigo. The attacking is still humming along and creating a ton of chances in Spain, which is a tougher league than Italy this season.
The Yellow Submarine might also benefit from the return of Gerard Moreno, who was back at training Tuesday, along with Etienne Capoue and Juan Foyth. The three are key pieces in the spine of the Villarreal team and critically important for the club.
Moreno didn’t play in the first leg, but he was a key cog in the Europa League title-winning run last season. Since Dec. 3, Villarreal ranks third in xG created per 90 minutes in Spain with 0.23 more xG/90 minutes than any other team. The Yellow Submarine has created 2.26 xGF in those games when at even strength and the defense also ranks third best.
BJ Cunningham’s UCL Model Projections
Betting Analysis & Pick
Over the course of the season, Villarreal has a +0.61 xG difference per game in Spain, while Juventus is lagging behind at +0.38 xGDiff per 90 minutes. Villarreal has been the better team of late, plus it is power rated higher in my ratings and has outperformed The Old Lady in a tougher domestic league.
All of this was true in the first leg at home when Villarreal was the superior side if not for a goal in the first minute. Vlahović is always dangerous to take a low quality chance and score it, but his shot numbers have lagged considerably against good opposition. He managed one shot against Fiorentina, none versus Atalanta and just two against Villarreal since joining the club in January.
Raul Albiol did have an injury scare for the Yellow Submarine, but it appears he’ll be fit for this match. He was a major key for them in containing Vlahović in the first leg. The injury crisis that looked like a real concern for Villarreal has fizzled out, as more players have returned to training.
The Yellow Submarine is undervalued and I think it will get this into extra time at worst plus it’s quite live to win this match. Villarreal has superior pressing, field-tilt numbers and can control the game. However, the club is more than comfortable sitting deep and countering as well.
Pick: Villarreal +0.5 (-115)
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