Champions League Round of 16: Balanced Betting for Bayern Munich-Liverpool and Barcelona-Lyon
Simon Stacpoole/Getty Images. Pictured: Liverpool celebrating
- The Champions League Round of 16 continues on Tuesday with marquee match-ups of Bayern Munich-Liverpool (3 p.m. ET on TNT) and Barcelona-Lyon (3 p.m. ET on Unimas).
- Odds have been available for two months but recent line movement has presented some betting value in each game.
Another incredible week of Champions League Round of 16 action has arrived with two juicy encounters on Tuesday afternoon: Bayern Munich at Liverpool and Barcelona at Lyon.
Liverpool have the slight edge over Bayern and are listed at -120 to advance. Barcelona are heavy -800 favorites in their match-up against Lyon.
Below I’ve previewed each game and looked at the betting market to see if there’s any value to be had (2018-19 Champions League Season Record: 11-14-1 , -1.43 units).
Barcelona at Lyon (Tuesday, 3 p.m. ET on B/R Live and Unimas)
Moneylines: Barcelona -135, Lyon +350, Draw +300
Total: 3 (o-125)
This is the first meeting between Barcelona and Lyon in 10 years, and the French side will look for their first win in seven tries between the clubs.
This match-up also marks the first meeting of undefeated UCL teams in the knockout stage since the 2007-08 semifinal (Barcelona vs. Manchester United).
Barcelona recently received a bit of good news with the return of center-back Samuel Umtiti (knee), but he may not start, and fellow defender Thomas Vermaelen (muscle) has already been ruled out. They’re also missing midfielder Arthur (hamstring), midfielder Rafinha (knee) and goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen (calf) due to injuries.
Lyon are dealing with some key injuries, too, and will be hurt most by the suspension of attacking-minded Nabil Fekir.
Odds have been available for exactly two months but the line really started shifting when Leo Messi was met with a slight injury concern in early February.
The Barcelona moneyline crashed down from -170 to -140, which was mostly caused by the market adjusting to the unknown circumstances. Since then, the line has continued to trickle down into the -120/-125 range.
It’s important to be aware of these situations because odds don’t strictly move based on bettors placing wagers. Messi is obviously one of the most influential athletes to a betting line, and sportsbooks need to act swiftly.
One thing I’ve been surprised about is the lack of buy-back on Barcelona. The public betting percentages have been very balanced across the board, but I expected to see action on Barcelona at such a discounted price. Perhaps we will see money eventually come in before kickoff, but it hasn’t happened yet.
Lyon earned two fantastic results against Manchester City in the group stage and recently handed PSG their first loss of the Ligue 1 season, so the confidence should be there against another top side like Barcelona.
Playing the first leg at home should also take some pressure off unless an early goal swings the momentum.
While some are saying that Barcelona haven’t performed particularly well lately, the narrow results could be misleading. Their xG (expected goals) against Valladolid was 3.2 compared to just 0.3 for the visitors, yet they only won 1-0 and missed a PK.
Barcelona should be able to generate scoring chances with a well-rested attacking core, and a high over/under of 3 goals suggests the same. The first leg on the road won’t be easy by any means, but the value is currently there on Barcelona to win at -140 or better.
Bayern Munich at Liverpool (Tuesday, 3 p.m. ET on TNT)
Moneylines: Bayern +240, Liverpool +115, Draw +270
Total: 3 (u-120)
There’s a lot to unpack in this game, too, with Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino and Dejan Lovren both missing training on Monday. They’ll already be without Virgil van Dijk as the leader of the defensive line due to suspension, and their depth will be key in winning the first leg at home.
Bayern Munich striker Thomas Muller is suspended and will miss out along with the injured Corentin Tolisso and Arjen Robben. The status of Kingsley Coman is also in limbo although he’s trending in a positive direction.
Sportsbooks around the market have seen balanced action on both Liverpool (56%, +115) and Bayern Munich (32%, +260), and as usual the draw hasn’t garnered much attention. It also has the longest odds at +270, but bettors are banking on a winner.
My attention has focused on the over (3) for several reasons. Bayern Munich were pitching some shutouts back in December but each of their last six matches has seen 4+ goals scored.
They’re hard to trust defensively which should bode well for a powerful Liverpool attack, and offensively, Bayern will benefit by not having to face Virgil van Dijk.
When taking all of that into account, I figured to see 70-80% of public bettors on the over, but that’s not the case.
At the time of publication, 53% of over/under tickets has come in on the under (3). I’ll be in the minority and rooting for goals, and would consider a small wager on the exact outcome of 2-2 at +1200 odds.
- Barcelona (-135) at Lyon
- Liverpool-Bayern Munich Over 3 (+100)