Chelsea vs Real Madrid Pick, Odds, Prediction | Champions League
Eric Alonso/Getty Image. Pictured: Karim Benzema.
- Chelsea are huge underdogs to get a win against Real Madrid.
- Both teams are coming off a loss last weekend in their respective domestic league.
- Anthony Dabbundo previews the game and makes his pick below.
Chelsea vs Real Madrid Odds
Real Madrid Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (-110 / -110)|
|Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)||(-112 / -112)|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get the latest soccer odds here.|
The Champions League quarterfinals continue on Wednesday, as we make a Chelsea vs. Real Madrid pick.
. Chelsea staged a dramatic second leg comeback last season against Real Madrid, only to lose to the eventual CL champions in extra time of their quarterfinal matchup. They meet again in the quarterfinals this season, albeit under very different circumstances as Chelsea sit 11th in the Premier League and on their third permanent manager of the season.
Real Madrid enter as the favorite, which is the first time they’ve been a true betting favorite (-130 or worse) to advance or win their knockout round matchup since the 2020-21 round of 16 against Atalanta. Both teams have had various struggles throughout the league but have mostly impressed in Europe.
The market has moved heavily toward Real Madrid in the last 10 days and now it’s time to buy Chelsea as a solid underdog against the defending champions.
Positive Signs All Around For Chelsea
Chelsea will have N’Golo Kanté back fit in the defensive midfield, which is a massive upgrade to their midfield ball winning and defensive transition ability. Liverpool had no answer for Vinicius in the last round defensively, but the Blues will feature Reece James — an excellent defender at right back to match Vinicius for pace.
Chelsea’s attack is more suited to play in a transition role because of Havertz and Felix’s skill sets running at defenders with the ball and running into space. Real Madrid still have major holes in transition defense and had problems containing Liverpool and RB Leipzig — two excellent transition teams — at different stages of this competition. The Blues have struggled mightily for months finishing off chances in front of goal, but they’ve also posted a +0.6 xG difference per 90 minutes in the last two months of Premier League soccer. Real Madrid have posted similar numbers in a much weaker La Liga.
The Blues have also played eight matches in the Champions League this season and their overall strength of schedule has been relatively comparable to Real Madrid’s. Both teams have the same xG difference in those eight matches, which is perhaps a better indicator of how small the true gap in talent is.
Real Madrid Due For Minor Struggles
Real Madrid have elite talent scattered throughout the pitch and are certainly tactically versatile, but they had major problems preventing high turnovers against the Liverpool counter-press at Anfield and could have similar problems against an effective Chelsea counter-press here.
Real went down 2-0 at Anfield and were being played off the park until a deflected goalie error from Alisson and a set-piece goal sprung them into life. That enabled them to expose Liverpool’s poor transition defense once playing from ahead.
The mediocre league form of Real Madrid cannot just be ignored though, even if they’ve consistently outperformed their metrics once the Champions League music starts playing. The Galacticos have dropped points in six of their last 12 league matches and basically surrendered the league title to Barcelona with their El Clasico defeat to Barcelona on March 19.
Madrid’s defense prefers to drop back and not press high to win it back against quality opposition. As a result they tend to concede a lot of low scoring chances while not forcing high turnovers. Real Madrid are just sixth in high turnovers forced and they are sixth in shots allowed, which is a classic example of a tactical decision. But Real Madrid aren’t elite at protecting their penalty area either — they’re fifth in box entries allowed in Spain.
The defense relies on Thibault Courtois’s elite shot stopping but still has its problems in transition defense at times because they don’t really pressure the ball. Immediately after losing possession, this Real defense can get hit quickly in the channels – areas where Joao Felix and Kai Havertz like to run into.
Chelsea vs Real Madrid Pick
One of the biggest flaws for Chelsea all season has been their set-piece defense, and Real Madrid have taken more shots and scored more goals in dead ball situations than anyone in La Liga. That’s the one major red flag for this matchup for Chelsea, along with the managerial mismatch between the experienced Ancelotti and Lampard.
The recent market movement toward Real Madrid has created value on Chelsea, both to advance and to get a result away from home in the first of two legs on Wednesday afternoon. My projections make Real Madrid -120 to advance in this tie overall and +110 to win the first leg at home. Real are the better team, but the new and improved Chelsea (+0.6 xGD per 90 since January) will be very competitive.
Picks: Chelsea +0.5 (+100 or better) | Chelsea to Advance (+130 or better)
Bet at FanDuel: Chelsea To Advance (+164)
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