Champions League Semifinal Odds, Picks & Projections: Real Madrid vs. Chelsea & PSG vs. Manchester City (April 27-28)
Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images. Pictured: Kylian Mbappe.
Champions League Odds
The Champions League semifinals are finally here, with two mouthwatering matchups to decide who will go to Istanbul for the final.
In case you missed it, Real Madrid will take on Chelsea on Tuesday, while PSG and Manchester City do battle on Wednesday.
The biggest game is obviously Manchester City vs. PSG, as the best team in the world goes up against two of the best players in the world. However. Real Madrid vs. Chelsea is no slouch either, with two of the best tactical managers in the world facing off.
This is the first time in a long time that neither Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo is still involved in the Champions League, but we're still in for a pair of incredibly entertaining matchups.
Now, without further ado, let's get into the projections.
You can use the following projections to identify betting value on the current lines, and follow me in The Action Network App to see any bets I make throughout the week.
Note: These projections do not take injuries into account. The injury news highlighted below is for players who would regularly be in each team's starting XI.
Real Madrid vs. Chelsea Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (+138 / -175)|
|Time||Tuesday | 3 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Monday afternoon via DraftKings.|
Real Madrid vs. Chelsea Projections
Real Madrid's La Liga hopes took a major hit this weekend when they drew 0-0 at home with Real Betis. However, Los Blancos have been on a great run since the calendar turned to 2021. They have only one loss in all competitions and have put up a +16.67 xGD in the process.
Additionally, guess who's back in training and could potentially face his former team on Tuesday?
He's back ❤️
— Goal (@goal) April 25, 2021
Zinedine Zidane's 4-3-3 system has been completely overwhelming teams this season, as Los Blancos are scoring 1.80 xG per 90 minutes and only allowing 1.00 xG per 90 minutes when playing out of that formation. Karim Benzema has been the man in form, scoring at a 0.66 xG per 90 minute rate in La Liga this season. He'll be a very difficult matchup for Chelsea's defense.
Unfortunately, though, Real Madrid is going to be without three key players for the first leg, including captain Sergio Ramos.
🚨| Real Madrid's players who are 100% OUT of the game against Chelsea on Tuesday:
– Sergio Ramos
– Lucas Vazquez
– Fede Valverde
— Madrid Xtra. (@MadridXtra) April 21, 2021
However, the loss of Ramos may have been a bigger deal in years past, but the defender is now 34 and has spent most of the season on the sidelines. Real Madrid is very used to playing without him. Éder Militão is starting to blossom as one of the best young defenders in the world, so I don't consider it a huge loss for Los Blancos.
Chelsea will be well-equipped to handle Real Madrid's attack. Under Thomas Tuchel, their defense has been outstanding. Since Jan. 27, when Tuchel took over, the Blues' defense is allowing only 0.58 xG per match in the Premier League and Champions League combined.
Tactically, Tuchel changed Chelsea's system to a 3-4-2-1 from the 4-3-3 used by Lampard, which has allowed Chelsea to become more unpredictable. The main objective of the 3-4-2-1 is to completely overwhelm opposing defenses by outnumbering them on the counter attack.
The new formation allows Chelsea some tactical flexibility, to adjust on the fly based on how the match is going. That's allowed Chelsea to dominate possession and keep opponents on their toes. They should be able to handle Real Madrid's 4-3-3, since that is the formation they used to play in and since they see it on a regular basis in the Premier League. The change has done wonders, as the Blues have a 1.56 xGD per 90 minutes when playing out of the 3-4-2-1 formation.
Zidane and Tuchel are both regarded as some of the best tactical managers in the world, so this is going to be a fascinating encounter.
Real Madrid: Sergio Ramos (CB), Federico Valverde (CM), Ferland Mendy (LB) and Lucas Vazquez (RW) are out. Tony Kroos (CM) is questionable.
Chelsea: Mateo Kovacic (CM) is out.
PSG vs. Manchester City Odds
|Over/Under||3 (+100 / -125)|
|Time||Wednesday | 3 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Monday afternoon via DraftKings.|
PSG vs. Manchester City Projections
PSG got their revenge against Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals due to the fact that two of the best players in the world Neymar and Kylian Mbappe dominated the German champions.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 19, 2021
However, now they're going to have to try and take down the best team of 2021. They'll need both Neymar and Kylian Mbappe to continue their impressive combined scoring rate of 1.65 xG per 90 minutes. PSG has been really impressive offensively in the Champions League this season, averaging 2.04 xG per match. However, they really shouldn't have made it past Bayern Munich they were out created 5.81 xG to 3.26 xG. PSG took advantage of their counter attacking opportunities, but those aren't going to be there against Manchester City.
Manchester City has been incredibly dominant defensively this season, allowing an incredible 0.76 xG per match in the Premier League and Champions League. The reason for Manchester City's run is their defensive dominance. Pep Guardiola made a change at both center back positions back in December, putting John Stones and Rúben Dias together, a move that has done wonders for the Cityzens defense and turned them into one of the best units in the world.
The other reason for their improvement is because Guardiola switched them from a 4-2-3-1 to a traditional 4-3-3. The switch has produced fantastic results, as the Cityzens are averaging 2.02 xG per 90 minutes, while allowing only 0.91 xG per 90 minutes when playing out of the 4-3-3.
One key for this match is the status of Mbappe, who was forced off in the 87th minute with a thigh injury late in PSG's win over Metz this weekend.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino is hopeful to have the star striker available on Wednesday, but his absence would be a massive blow to PSG.
PSG: Kylian Mbappe (ST), Marquinhos (CB) and Rafinha (CM) are questionable.
Manchester City: None