Champions League Odds, Picks, Predictions: Projections & Best Bets, Including Barcelona & Liverpool (Nov. 2-3)

Champions League Odds, Picks, Predictions: Projections & Best Bets, Including Barcelona & Liverpool (Nov. 2-3) article feature image
Credit:

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images. Pictured: Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk.

Champions League returns to action this week for the fourth round of group-stage matches. This latest slate has been dubbed “rematch week” since all of the contests are reverse fixtures of the games from two weeks ago.

There wasn’t much drama last time out in the European showcase event, considering the favorites went an astonishing 15-1 on the moneyline.

Favorites went an insane 15-1 straight up in Champions League this week 😳

The lone loss was a draw between Sevilla and Lille… pic.twitter.com/qdBcdbwEFV

— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) October 20, 2021

If you are reading this article for the first time, I will be putting out these projections every week there are Champions League matches until the end of the tournament. If you’d like to read more about how I determine my projected lines and totals using an expected-goals model, you can read about it here.

For Champions League, my projections factor in UEFA Coefficients for every country represented in the competition. The projections also factor in the talent of each squad based on their total transfer value on TransferMarkt. That way, the projections can account for the strength of the domestic league each club plays in and talent level of each club.

Champions League Projections

Best Bets

Dynamo Kiev vs. Barcelona

Dynamo Kiev Odds +425
Barcelona Odds -155
Draw +310
Over/Under 2.5 (-135 / +115)
Day | Time Tuesday | 4 p.m. ET
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I think we can officially say on a surface level Barcelona has hit rock bottom. However, the club’s expected goals and other advance metrics aren’t that bad. In their last three La Liga matches against Real Madrid, Rayo Vallecano and Alaves, Barcelona has created 6.76 goals, but only scored twice.

Defensively, they’re one of the best team in the Spanish top flight, allowing only 0.91 NPxG per match. Blaugrana are also second in big scoring chances allowed and box entries allowed. They also held Dynamo Kiev to 0.10 xG in their match a few weeks ago. 

(graphic via infogol.net)

Dynamo Kiev has no offense to speak of whatsoever. In three Champions League matches, they haven’t scored and only created 1.02 xG overall. They’re also bottom five in the UCL in shot-creating actions, touches inside the opponents’ penalty area and box entries. So, I don’t know how things are going to drastically change for them in this spot.

However, at least domestically Dynamo Kiev’s defense has been really good this season. They’re only allowing 0.60 xG per match in the Ukrainian Premier League and do have a couple of talented, young defenders, including Ilya Zabaryni, who started for Ukraine at the European Championships.. 

It’s also going to be 45 degrees and raining in Kiev on Tuesday, which will be the first time this season Barcelona has played in this cold of a temperature.  

I only have 2.19 goals projected for this match, so I think there’s value on the total under 2.5 goals at +115 via DraftKings and will make it my top selection.

Pick: Total Under 2.5 Goals (+115)

Sevilla vs. Lille

Sevilla Odds -150
Lille Odds +475
Draw +280
Over/Under 2.5 (+110 / -135)
Day | Time Tuesday | 4 p.m. ET
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We saw it in the previous meeting that these are two of Europe’s best defensive teams. It was a sleepy 0-0 draw, with only 1.79 xG being created and each team only had one big scoring chance. 

On paper, Lille looks like they’ve regressed defensively, but they’re still the best defensive team in France and one of the best on the continent.

Les Dogues have allowed the second-fewest non-penalty xG in Ligue 1 this season at 10.69, so they’re due for some positive regression. They’ve also allowed the fewest big scoring chances in the French top flight and conceded just 0.88 xG per 90 minutes. 

This season, Sevilla is only allowing 0.76 NPxG per match in the Spanish first division, which is second in the league. They’re also third in shots allowed per 90 minutes, and first in box entries allowed.  

The last time these sides met they only had 35 total touches in the penalty area and 24 box entries. For a little comparison, Ajax is averaging 43 touches in the opponent’s penalty area and 26 box entries per match in their UCL campaign.

Pick: Total Under 2.5 Goals (-135)

Liverpool vs. Atlético Madrid

Liverpool Odds -165
Atlético Madrid Odds +425
Draw +320
Over/Under 2.5 (-130 / +110)
Day | Time Wednesday | 4 p.m. ET
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Liverpool’s match against Brighton & Hove Albion this past Saturday showed how much the injuries in the midfield are affecting them right now. Thiago, Naby Kieta, Fabhino and James Milner are either out or questionable for this match against a really good Atlético Madrid midfield. 

From Rob's pass to Leo's finish… 🤤

What a move and what a goal! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/iHez3FS7IT

— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) October 31, 2021

Honestly, Atlético Madrid probably should have won the previous meeting. The club held a 1.94-1.23 xG advantage despite Antoine Greizmann getting a red card in the 52nd minute. And if you take away the Mohamed Salah penalty in the 78th minute, Liverpool only created 0.49 xG despite having 10 shots. Defensive regression is coming for Liverpool, which has allowed eight goals off of 11.05 xG so far.

Atlético Madrid’s defense is still playing at an elite level. They’ve only allowed 7.23 NPxG in 11 La Liga matches, plus they’re first in shots allowed per 90 minutes, second in big scoring chances conceded and second in box entries allowed.

So, with an extremely thin midfield going up against a team that a lot of their offensive success comes off on the counterattack, I love Atlético Madrid to get a result from this match. 

I only have Liverpool projected at +122, so I’m backing Atlético Madrid +1 at -135 odds on DraftKings as my top pick.

Pick: Atlético Madrid +1 (-135)

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RB Leipzig vs. PSG

RB Leipzig Odds +220
PSG Odds +110
Draw +290
Over/Under 2.5 (-165 / +135)
Day | Time Wednesday | 4 p.m. ET
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RB Leipzig didn’t deserve to lose to Paris Saint-Germain two weeks ago in the French capital. I know PSG won on xG battle by a 3.03-2.36 margin, but 2.26 of those xG came via two penalties and the Messi tap-in on a shot that was probably going in anyway.

The Parisians have two victories and a draw in the Champions League action, with a -0.4 xGDiff. Also, PSG is dealing with a lot of injury issues right now. Sergio Ramos, Macro Verratti and Leandro Parades are all out, and Kylian Mbappe and Messi are both questionable to play in this contest.

RB Leipzig has had their own issues this season, but their offense is still as good as it has been in years past. The Red Bulls are averaging 2.20 xG per match in the Bundesliga, which is the second-best mark behind Bayern Munich. They’re also fourth in shots/90 minutes and second in box entries. The club also created three big scoring chances against PSG in their meeting two weeks ago at Parc des Princes.

When did @RBLeipzig turn into prime Barça? 🤤

🎥 @Bundesliga_EN pic.twitter.com/tBaxxQqH2s

— 433 (@433) October 27, 2021

Even if we look at the box score from the first meeting, RB Leipzig had more shots, shot creating actions, touches in the penalty area and box entries than the visiting side.

Plus, this is it for RB Leipzig. The Red Bulls have zero points from their first three matches and need a result if they want to finish in third place ahead of Club Brugge. 

I have RB Leipzig projected as a +114 in this match, so I love RB Leipzig +0.5 at -125 on DraftKings and will make it my top pick.

Pick: RB Leipzig +0.5 (-125)

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