Champions League Odds, Picks & Predictions: 4 Bets for Manchester City vs. Dortmund, Real Madrid vs. Liverpool

Champions League Odds, Picks & Predictions: 4 Bets for Manchester City vs. Dortmund, Real Madrid vs. Liverpool article feature image

Michael Regan/Getty Images. Pictured: Manchester City goaltender Ederson.

  • Champions League action returns on Tuesday, with two heavyweight matchups on deck.
  • Real Madrid hosts Liverpool in one affair while global power Manchester City welcomes Borussia Dortmund in the other.
  • Check out four best bets from our soccer betting analysts below.

Things should get pretty intense in Champions League action Tuesday, with the opening legs of two intriguing quarterfinal matchups taking place in this European showcase event.

Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid hosts Premier League stalwart Liverpool in one contest, with global juggernaut Manchester City welcoming German standout Borussia Dortmund to Etihad Stadium for their affair.

Our Action Network soccer analysts have pinpointed four plays entering these contests, with three of them targeting the Real Madrid-Liverpool showdown.

Let's take a look at their detailed thoughts and top selections.

Real Madrid vs. LiverpoolBJ CunninghamReal Madrid — Draw No Bet (-103)
Manchester City vs. DortmundJeremy PondManchester City -1.5 (-112) vs. Dortmund
Real Madrid vs. LiverpoolAnthony DabbundoLiverpool — Draw No Bet (-118)
Real Madrid vs. LiverpoolKieran DarcyBoth Teams To Score — No (+120)

Odds updated as of Monday evening via DraftKings

BJ Cunningham: Real Madrid — Draw No Bet (-103) vs. Liverpool

Real Madrid has been on a great run in La Liga ever since the calendar turned to 2021. Los Blancos have won 11 of their 16 matches across all competitions, putting up a +14.67 expected-goal differential in the process.

Manager Zinedine Zidane's 4-3-3 system has been completely overwhelming teams this season, Real Madrid is scoring 1.84 expected goals per 90 minutes and allowing 1.00 xG per 90 minutes when playing out of that formation.

Additionally, Karim Benzema has been the man in form, scoring at a 0.67 xG per 90-minute rate in the Spanish top flight this season. He'll be a very difficult matchup for Liverpool's center backs.

Liverpool came out of the international break firing on all cylinders, beating Arsenal, 3-0, at Emirates Stadium. However, things haven't been going great for Jürgen Klopp's men, who have created just 1.41xG per match since the beginning of February, compared to 2.07 xG in their first 14 fixtures of the season.

The Reds have a major tactical problem at the moment. Usually, Klopp plays an all-out, high press that gives teams fits. Liverpool's high line at the back also keeps opponents from playing long balls up the field, causing most of them to spend less time on the ball since they're forced to make quick passes.

With Liverpool's top three center backs out for the rest of the season, its had to back off its high press so its fill-in defenders aren't exposed. Zidane knows this and will likely have Real Madrid sit back, then look to hit Liverpool on the counter over and over again.

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Jeremy Pond: Manchester City -1.5 (-112) vs. Dortmund

So, it looks like my fellow handicappers are enamored with that tasty Real Madrid-Liverpool match. However, I'm happy to deliver an angle I like in this battle between the soon-to-be-crowned Premier League champion and a fading Bundesliga side.

Let's start with a simple fact. Without question, Manchester City is the finest club in the world at the moment. No one touches the Cityzens, who are 14 points clear of second-place Manchester United in England's top flight.

Manchester City, which has won an unreal 26 of its last 27 matches across all competitions and 18 of its last 19 league affairs, now faces a floundering Dortmund side that just suffered a 2-1 home loss to Eintracht Frankfurt.

The Black and Yellows have just one win in their last five contests, which has them in anything but top form entering this opening leg. Sure, Erling Haaland will be leading the line for Dortmund, but the fact Jadon Sancho is slated to miss this contest creates a massive whole for the club going forward.

Unlike its counterpart, Manchester City's offensive weapons are unlimited. Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva are just a few players Dortmund will have trouble containing in their defensive third of the field.

I picked Manchester City at -1.75 the last time it took the pitch in a UCL game, with that selection hitting via a 2-0 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach. That effort gave me a ton of confidence in the Cityzens, who have recorded seven consecutive shutouts in this tournament and won seven of their last eight tilts.

That said, I'm going to the well one more time and backing Manchester City on the spread line of -1.5 at -112 odds as my top selection. Manager Pep Guardiola's side is just too good and should roll to victory at the Etihad.

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Anthony Dabbundo: Liverpool — Draw No Bet (-118) vs. Real Madrid

BJ and I are in rare disagreement when it comes the matchup of the 2018 and 2019 Champions League winners.

No doubt, Real Madrid is in better form than Liverpool on their respective domestic fronts, but I will continue riding the fact England is just much better than the rest of the continent right now. And because of that, the market is mispricing the strength of the English sides.

Manchester City is the best team in the world, plus Chelsea and Liverpool had no issues cruising out of the Round of 16 in this competition. In the Europa League, Tottenham Hotspur had an embarrassing defeat, but Manchester United and Arsenal had little trouble dispatching their opponents.

In this matchup, Liverpool will be perfectly happy ceding the ball and game control to Real Madrid. However, outside of Karim Benzema, Los Blancos have has few attacking options. Casemiro, a defensive midfielder, is Real Madrid's second-highest scorer with five goals.

Liverpool has the joint-highest number of counterattacking goals in the England's to flight and will expose Real Madrid's aging midfield in transition. The Reds have had their defensive issues, but they’ve only been exposed within the Premier League.

The return of Diogo Jota has bolstered the attack, and while this game could well end in a draw, Liverpool is more likely to win it. The Reds' defense has also improved of late, keeping clean sheets in four of its last six matches across all competitions.

Even away from Anfield, Liverpool is the better team in my projection. I have them on the Draw No Bet line at -130 odds, so I’m willing to take -115 or better.

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Kieran Darcy: Real Madrid vs. Liverpool — Both Teams To Score (No | +120) 

Both teams advanced to the Champions League quarterfinal round with relatively ease.

Liverpool defeated RB Leipzig, 4-0, on aggregate, while Real Madrid topped Atalanta by a 4-1 margin. However, both benefited from glaring mistakes by their respective opponents.

For instance, both of Liverpool’s goals in their first leg came via RB Leipzig defensive gaffes. And Real Madrid played most of its opening leg against Atalanta with a man advantage (and still struggled to score).

I think this will be a relatively cagey, low-scoring first leg. I considered  backing the total to stay under 2.5 goals, but you can get a better price for Both Teams To Score — No and I will make that my top pick.

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