Champions League Round of 16 Betting Previews: PSG-Manchester United and Roma-Porto
Getty Images. Pictured: Manchester United’s Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial
- The Champions League Round of 16 starts this week with some incredible match-ups including PSG-Manchester United and Tottenham-Dortmund.
- PSG were huge -340 favorites to advance when odds opened back in December, but those have crashed down to -170 amid injuries and managerial changes.
- I've broken down both of Tuesday's matches to pick out the best value plays to make.
The most exciting time of the year has arrived with Champions League, Europa League and domestic leagues all hitting their stride.
The Champions League Round of 16 is set to start on Tuesday as Manchester United host PSG (3 p.m. ET on TNT) and Roma take on FC Porto (3 p.m. ET on B/R Live).
Below I’ve previewed each match-up and broken down the betting market to find two value plays (2018-19 Champions League Record: 11-12-1 (+0.57 units).
Porto at Roma (Tuesday, 3 p.m. ET on B/R Live)
1st Leg Moneylines: Roma +105, Porto +285, Draw +245
1st Leg Total: 2.5 (o-110)
In last season’s Champions League tournament, Roma pulled off a mammoth comeback against Barcelona to reach the semifinals, and Porto were ousted in the Round of 16 by eventual runners-up Liverpool.
In this year’s Round of 16, both teams have roughly a 50% chance of progressing but Porto (-120) are the slight favorites over Roma (+100). Although this match-up will go under-the-radar compared to the others in the Round of 16, I’ve had my eyes on it for months now.
Roma are short +105 home favorites in the opening leg, giving them ~49% chance of securing a victory. So far, nearly 60% of bettors are taking the Italian side to win, but I’ve been leaning the other way since December.
Porto have been a strong club in Portugal over the years, but that success hasn’t always translated into the Champions League.
They’ve failed to win their last five knockout round games, and didn’t even score in the last four. Since winning the UCL in 2004, they’ve only reached the quarterfinals on two occasions, and were eliminated both times.
Despite the lack of success, I’m not letting that interfere with this season’s expectations. They’re capable of generating plenty of quality scoring chances from set pieces, and they were able to adapt to different styles of play throughout the group stage.
The public support on Roma hasn’t moved the line at all, and in fact, odds have swayed toward Porto since lines opened. I feel confident in the Portuguese side earning a win/draw in the first leg, so betting +0.5 goals is the best option here.
PSG at Manchester United (Tuesday, 3 p.m. ET on TNT)
1st Leg Moneylines: Man Utd +130, PSG +215, Draw +255
1st Leg Total: 2.5 (o-135)
Odds have been on the move in this match-up due to PSG’s growing injury list of Neymar, Cavani and Meunier, in addition to Manchester United’s resurgence under new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
PSG opened as -340 favorites to advance, but those odds are all the way down to -170. United’s odds to advance have shifted from +280 to +140, a change of more than 15% implied probability.
For Tuesday’s first leg match in Manchester, the lines have obviously swung in United’s favor, too. They just rolled to an easy 3-0 victory at Fulham in recent EPL action, and the squad is mostly healthy and well-rested.
⚽ GOAL Manchester United!
From his own half, Anthony Martial dribbles through the Fulham defense to make it 2-0. pic.twitter.com/WGFSWNxzMI
— Action Network Soccer (@ActionNetSoccer) February 9, 2019
It had become very clear that the situation in Manchester turned highly toxic under Jose Mourinho, and the entire club seems to be transformed since his departure.
Moneylines for the first leg have completely flipped the last two months: United opened +265 and are down to +130, while PSG opened +110 but are now up to +210.
Public and sharp bettors have hopped on the United train together, as more than 65% of bets and 70% of money has come in on the home side.
Do PSG have any chance of salvaging a result in the first leg with so many key pieces missing? No French side as ever won at Old Trafford, and PSG have won just once in their last ten trips to England.
It would have been fantastic to see these teams meet at full-strength, but I’m not sure Les Parisiens have enough to pull off the upset.
I don’t see much value now that the odds have moved so heavily, but I suppose I’d lean toward Manchester United taking the opener at home.
- Porto +0.5 (-120) at Roma
- Porto (-110) to advance