Our writer previews Wednesday's eight enticing UEFA Champions League matchups.
Matchday 3 looks promising on the betting front. The pick of Wednesday's action pits Pep Guardiola's Manchester City up against the team laid the foundation to his glowing managerial career, Barcelona. With Tuesday and Wednesday offering eight matches apiece, there is plenty of money to be made, so let's find out what's worth backing.
Wednesday 19 October
Paris Saint-Germain 1/5 | Draw 52/10 | FC Basel 11/1
FC Basel travel to Paris to take on an out of sorts PSG side. Since the arrival of Unai Emery as manager, the Parisians have looked far from their absolute best. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Luiz will always remain the culprits of PSG’s demise after their respected moves to England. The home team, though, should do better against Basel, who were not shown much of the ball in their clash against Arsenal.
The Swiss champions were held to a draw for the first time this season, sharing the spoils with Thun in their last match before the international break. PSG are yet to keep a clean sheet in the Champions League this season, making the Win + Both Teams To Score market a decent bet at 16/10.
Arsenal 1/8 | Draw 13/2 | Ludogorets 18/1
Arsenal come into this game off the back of some fine form before the international break. Luckily for Arsenal Wenger, none of his players returned to the Gunners camp with an injury. Arsenal have won five matches in a row in all competitions – at the time of writing – and this will be their second of four consecutive home games.
Ludogorets were on their way to a shock victory over PSG in their last Champions League fixture, before an Edinson Cavani brace sealed off Blaise Matuidi’s opener, ensuring that Bulgarian side left with nothing. The Gunners have kept four successive clean sheets at the time of writing – including one for David Ospina. Another Win To Nil is tipped for Arsenal at 13/20.
Dynamo Kyiv 14/10 | Draw 43/20 | Benfica 39/20
Dynamo Kyiv are yet to pick up their first points of the Champions League this season. A home defeat, followed up with a point at Besiktas, means the Ukrainian champions sit third in Group B. Benfica are also in search of their first win of the campaign and share a similar story to Dynamo, drawing just once.
It’s still early stages in the group and both teams will feel they have a chance of progressing, should they win here. This encounter should produce goals; the sides have scored five goals and conceded eight times between them in the Champions League this season. Both Teams To Score is tipped at 17/20.
Napoli 7/20 | Draw 4/1 | Besiktas 7/1
High-flying Napoli host Besiktas, looking for a third consecutive Champions League victory. The Naples will have to do it without their star striker, Arkadiusz Milik, who is ruled out with a long-term knee injury. Milik netted three times in the tournament so far, making him joint-top scorer in the competition along with the likes of Sergio Aguero, Lionel Messi and Edinson Cavani.
Besiktas will be more confident, facing a side who have lost their most in-form player. The Black Eagles are undefeated in the tournament as well and should put up a good fight against Napoli. At 8/10, Both Teams To Score looks the safest bet.
Barcelona 5/10 | Draw 7/2 | Man City 9/2
Onto the tie of the round where Pep Guardiola’s new and improved Manchester City travel to the Nou Camp to take on his former employers, Barcelona. The Catalans suffered a bit of a dip in form when Lionel Messi was ruled out injured but this weekend could see the magician return to the fold.
The Citizens could also welcome back a star player in their ranks in the form of Kevin De Bruyne – but that remains just a 75% chance. This game pits the best players against the best coach in the world. We could see end to end action here, and as much as everybody thinks that Barca should wipe the floor with them, this game could go otherwise. My tip for this one is Over 1.5 Goals in the first half; that comes in at a valuable 11/10.
Celtic 21/10 | Draw 51/20 | Monchengladbach 23/20
Celtic came close to pulling off one of the shocks of the season in the Champions League as they took the lead three times against Manchester City, only for the match to end at 3-3. It was still a classy performance from Brendan Rodgers’ side and they will be coming guns blazing when Monchengladbach visit Celtic Park.
Monchengladbach lost both encounters so far and will be hopeful of getting something off Celtic in what promises to be a fight for third place in the group. Gladbach were unlucky not to capitalize against a Messi-less Barcelona team as they fell to a 2-1 home defeat. No side have conceded more than Celtic (10) so far in the tournament and we could see more goals in this game. Over 2.5 Goals is the tip at 11/20.
FC Rostov 9/1 | Draw 36/10 | Atletico Madrid 3/10
FC Rostov did well in their last outing, as they held PSV Eindhoven to a 2-2 draw at the Olimp-2 Stadium. Dmitry Poloz’s brace was quickly canceled out by the Dutch giants. Atletico Madrid have once again, shut the mouths of all those who doubt them.
Los Colchoneros come off the back of an emphatic 1-0 victory over Bayern Munich, keeping yet another clean sheet. That’s seven in nine games at the time of writing. Yannick Carrasco popped up with the goal in the 35th minute that put the Bavarians to bed. Despite Atleti’s brilliant defensive record, they still boast one of the best-attacking players in the world – Antoine Griezmann. A trip to Russia is just another opportunity to keep another clean sheet for Diego Simeone’s men. The away Win To Nil is priced up at 8/10 and should be included in all multiple bets.
Bayern Munich 1/5 | Draw 57/10 | PSV Eindhoven 10/1
After suffering his first defeat as Bayern Munich boss, Carlo Ancelotti will be looking for a positive response when they host PSV at the Allianz Arena. Bayern have also been clean sheet specialists at times, keeping six in their nine matches played in all competitions, at the time of writing.
PSV survived their trip to Rostov, coming back with a point in their pursuit for qualification to the next round. However, Phillip Cocu’s men face a daunting trip to Germany and could see themselves battered from left to right. The home Win + Over 3.5 Goals seems well worth a punt at 8/10.
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DOUBLE @ 23/10
Barcelona v Man City Over 1.5 Goals First Half 1/1
Atletico Madrid Win To Nil 13/20
Written by Jesse Nagel @Hollywoodbets