Champions League Soccer Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for RB Leipzig vs. Liverpool, Barcelona vs. PSG (Tuesday, Feb. 16)

Champions League Soccer Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for RB Leipzig vs. Liverpool, Barcelona vs. PSG (Tuesday, Feb. 16) article feature image
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Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images. Pictured: Barcelona standout Antoine Griezmann lifts star Lionel Messi.

  • Life on the European soccer landscape will heat up Tuesday, with Champions League action returning to the fold.
  • Our analysts give you their best bets for RB Leipzig vs. Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona vs. Paris Saint-Germain.
  • See who they have set their sights on below.

Life on the European soccer landscape is about to heat up again, as Champions League gets back in action with four intriguing Round of 16 matches.

Things get started Tuesday via two affairs, including German power RB Leipzig set to face Premier League stalwart Liverpool and Spanish giant Barcelona welcoming Paris Saint-Germain to Camp Nou for their heavyweight battle.

Our Action Network soccer analysts will be providing their best bets for these contests, as well as Wednesday’s Porto vs. Juventus and Sevilla vs. Borussia Dortmund fixtures.

Let’s take a look at the way they’re going with their top picks.

MATCH ANALYST THE PICK
RB Leipzig vs. Liverpool BJ Cunningham RB Leipzig — Draw No Bet (+125)
RB Leipzig vs. Liverpool Jeremy Pond RB Leipzig — Draw No Bet (+125)
Barcelona vs. PSG Matt Trebby Barcelona ML (+100)
RB Leipzig vs. Liverpool Kieran Darcy Both Teams To Score — No (+150)

Odds updated as of Monday at 5 p.m. ET and via DraftKings


BJ Cunningham: RB Leipzig — Draw No Bet (+125)

Liverpool is going through a tactical dilemma at the moment. The Reds’ top three center backs — Virgil Van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez — are out for the season, so manager Jürgen Klopp has had to use midfielders Fabinho and  Jordan Henderson as replacements for much of the last few weeks.

That creates a problem for Klopp, because he can’t implement his usual high press in fear of leaving Liverpool exposed at the back. The effect is that now its opponents can spend more time on the ball building their attack.

The proof is in the numbers, as well. Since Christmas, Liverpool has allowed 1.28 xG per match, which is higher than last season’s 1.03 xG per match.

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Tactically, RB Leipzig is set up perfectly against Liverpool. It shredded Bayern Munich for three goals earlier this season, playing its counters right through the middle of the pitch. And that’s where Liverpool is weakest at the moment.

Leipzig also has the best expected goal differential (+24.3 xGD) in the Bundesliga this season. The underlying metrics show it has been better than Bayern Munich, which is the tournament’s reigning champion.

The Red Bulls also made it out of the “Group of Death” that featured PSG and Manchester United, defeating both at home along the way. Unfortunately, this match has to be played at a neutral site, but either way, they will be well-equipped to handle a shorthanded Liverpool squad. 

I have Leipzig’s Draw No Bet line projected at +110 odds, so I think there’s some value on that line of +125 odds.

[Bet RB Leipzig at DraftKings and get $250 FREE.]

Jeremy Pond: RB Leipzig — Draw No Bet (+125)

Liverpool enters this showdown in the midst of a shocking tailspin. The reigning Premier League champion has lost three consecutive games, including five of its last seven fixtures across all competitions.

In contrast, RB Leipzig has won four on the bounce and, more impressively, gone unbeaten in 15 of their last 17 games overall. The Bundesliga giant reached the knockout phase of this prestigious European tournament by finishing second in Group H behind French juggernaut Paris Saint-Germain.

The Reds have looked horrible their last three times out, highlighted by a 4-1 shellacking delivered by Manchester City two games back. That effort was bookended by losses against surging Brighton & Hove Albion (1-0) and Sunday’s 3-1 defeat at the hands of Leicester City.

In all three of those poor performances, Klopp’s men lost the xG battle. The Cityzens outclassed them the most, finishing with whopping 3.1-1.3 xG edge.

This really is an intriguing matchup between clubs in vastly different forms at the moment. Add in the fact Liverpool will likely be without standouts Fabinho and James Milner, and you have a difficult situation for the de facto visitors.

That said, I am backing Leipzig via a Draw No Bet wager at +125 odds. The Red Bulls are in better form, plus they’re clearly going to have a chip on their shoulders since they were supposed to have a home fixture.

Bottom line, Liverpool is going to have issues against a Leipzig side licking its chops, knowing it’s facing an out-of-form Merseyside outfit in total disarray.

[Bet RB Leipzig at DraftKings and get an INSTANT $500 deposit match.]

Matthew Trebby: Barcelona ML (+100)

While off the pitch Barcelona has had a rough last six months, La Blaugrana have been on fire on it this calendar year.

Barcelona has won all seven of its league games in 2021, boasting a plus-14 goal difference. It still faces an eight-point deficit in La Liga, with Atlético Madrid having a game in hand, but it’s playing well at the right time for potential Champions League success.

Manager Ronald Koeman’s side is also facing Paris Saint-Germain at the right time. The French giant will definitely be without Neymar, and it’s looking doubtful that fellow standout Angel di Maria will be fit.

The Parisians are currently second in Ligue 1, one point behind Lille, in the French top flight. PSG has conceded just 15 times domestically this season, but its non-penalty expected goals against is 24.94 thus far. That means it’s conceding chances, but the opposition hasn’t been good enough to convert.

You know who will convert? The likes of Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann. Barcelona at plus odds are good value.

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Kieran Darcy: RB Leipzig vs. Liverpool: Both Teams To Score — No (+150)

First of all, this match will be played at the aforementioned neutral venue that, combined with the fact it’s a first leg, makes me think it’ll be a cagey bout.

More importantly, Leipzig is second in the Bundesliga behind Bayern Munich, but have the best defensive record in the German top flight. They’ve conceded just 18 goals in 21 league matches, and Liverpool isn’t exactly clicking on all cylinders right now, scoring just twice in their last three games.

On the flip side, Leipzig has only scored 37 goals in those 21 contests, which isn’t overly impressive. Timo Werner recorded 28 league goals for the Red Bulls last season, but Leipzig doesn’t have anyone with more than four on this year’s roster.

And Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker can’t commit a howler three matches in a row, can he? For me, I think it’s worth a shot that at least one of these teams draws a blank at that price.

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