Champions League Round of 16: Bettors Flocking Toward Juventus and Manchester City
Getty Images. Pictured: Paulo Dybala.
- Champions League Round of 16 first leg match-ups wrap up on Wednesday with Atletico Madrid hosting Juventus (3 p.m. ET on TNT) and Schalke taking on Manchester City (3 p.m. ET on B/R Live).
- Bettors have been heavy on both road sides and I'll break down whether there's any value left in the current prices.
Through the first six matches of this year’s Round of 16, there have been exactly zero goals scored in the first half despite a plethora of solid scoring chances. Will Wednesday be more of the same, or will someone break through early?
I’ve broken down the betting market for each match-up and provided a value play to make (2018-19 Champions League Record: 11-16-1, -3.43 units).
Juventus at Atletico Madrid (Wednesday, 3 p.m. ET on TNT)
Moneylines: Juventus +175, Atletico +185, Draw +205
Total: 2 (o-115)
Juventus-Atletico Madrid is a fascinating match-up and odds are nearly dead even for the opening leg at the Wanda Metropolitano, also the site of this year’s final.
These teams haven’t met too often with the last encounter coming in the 2014-15 Champions League group stage where Atletico drew 0-0 and won 1-0.
Under coach Diego Simeone, Atleti are undefeated in six matches against Italian clubs and incredibly, they have conceded just one goal in their last 10 Champions League knockout stage matches.
On the injury front, Atletico Madrid should be getting back midfielder Koke, which will be a big boost for them all around. Lucas Hernadez is the only player out for the Spanish side while Juan Cuadrado and Sami Khedira will be the only players missing for Juventus.
Bettors have been heavy on Juventus and have accounted for nearly 80% of wagers. Odds are down from +195 to +175 over the last couple days and the public is expected to keep pounding Juve until kickoff.
With a low total of 2 goals, there’s a decent chance that the match ends 0-0, especially considering Atletico’s defense prowess at home. Juventus grabbing an away goal would be big, but i don’t see them coming away with a victory. Instead I’ll be looking for a draw (+205) which would still give the Italians the edge heading into the second leg.
Manchester City at Schalke (Wednesday, 3 p.m. ET on B/R Live)
Moneylines: Man City -350, Schalke +950, Draw +515
Total: 3 (o-115)
Manchester City have been the UCL title favorites throughout the tournament and they’re the biggest favorites to advance to the quarterfinals. After a brief lapse in the EPL, they’ve overtaken Liverpool as favorites to lift that trophy, too.
Schalke are struggling in the Bundesliga and currently sit in 14th place with just 23 points. They were fortunate to advance from a weak Champions League group stage and have to face a Manchester City side that have re-found their form in the last month.
City do have a few injury concerns defensively with Benjamin Mendy, John Stones and Fabian Delph all out, but they’ve got plenty of ammo on the bench.
All of the line movement since opening has been geared toward toward Man City and they’re now up to -350 favorites on the road. Sportsbooks have been hard-pressed to find bettors willing to take Schalke, and their odds have reached the +950 moneyline range.
There have been over 2.5 goals in 11 straight Champions League matches involving Man City, so there’s no surprise to see more than 80% of bets on the over (3) for Wednesday. Bettors are also bypassing the Man City moneyline and taking the -1.5/-2 goal-line spreads instead
While I’d certainly lean toward a multi-goal win from City, I just don’t see any value in the prices right now, so a live in-game bet would be my only consideration.
- Atletico Madrid-Juventus Draw (+205)