UEFA. Pictured: Paulo Dybala (L) and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Betting odds: Juventus at Valencia
- Juventus moneyline: -112
- Valencia moneyline: +359
- Draw: +254
- Over/Under: 2.5 (+100/-115)
- Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET
- Channel: Bleacher Report Live, Fubo TV
As the Champions League returns to action this week, there are some mouthwatering fixtures to look forward to, not least Paris Saint-Germain’s trip to last season’s runners-up, Liverpool, on Tuesday.
Elsewhere, defending champions Real Madrid host semifinalists Roma the following day, but do so without Zinedine Zidane and the man who has led them to three consecutive titles.
Cristiano Ronaldo will instead embark upon a new chapter in the competition with Juventus, even if it is in a familiar setting, and it’s the Serie A champions that, to my mind, represent the best value in the outright odds this week.
Their summer signing got off the mark for his new club with a pair of goals in Juve’s 2-1 win over Sassuolo at the weekend. That should have No. 7 brimming with confidence heading to Spain to face Valencia on Wednesday.
The fact that 15 goals in 16 appearances against Valencia was among his more modest records in his La Liga days only serves to highlight his remarkable firepower, and stopping a man who has found the net six times in his last four matches against Los Che — including two on his last visit to the Mestalla — will be Marcelino’s top priority this week.
The issue for the Valencia coach is that his side have started the season in disappointing fashion, above the relegation zone on goal difference alone while having yet to win any of their opening four games.
A return to the Champions League and the busy schedule that it brings won’t make playing catch-up any easier, but for the time being they could do with a result in Europe to help kick-start their league campaign.
A meeting with a side that has reached the latter stages of the competition in each of the last four seasons, including the final twice, is far from ideal then, especially considering that the man they have been trying to keep out along the way in a number of said matches has now joined forces with the Serie A champs.
The one real positive for the hosts is that Juve have lost to Spanish opposition in each of the last five Champions League campaigns, with seven defeats to La Liga sides in total over that time, and that may well have had some say in the odds.
The fact that the favorites are playing away from home has of course been factored in, too, but eight wins and just one defeat in their last 11 Champions League fixtures as visitors suggests the venue may have little bearing on the outcome.
You could argue that Juventus have yet to hit their stride yet this campaign. But that may be more of a concern than a relief for Valencia, considering that the Old Lady have a perfect record in Serie A.
If Juventus can even come close to firing on all cylinders in midweek, the Spanish strugglers could prove to be cannon fodder.
There are all sorts of angles that may be worth exploring in the away side’s favor in this one then, but if you’re looking for a straightforward outright bet in Europe this week, Juventus would definitely be my top value tip.
The Play: Juventus (-112)