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4/8/2013 2:25:00 PM
PSG put up a great fight in the first leg, but Barcelona was able to get two away goals, which should set them up nicely for a return to the Champions League final. Will they get the job done?
Current moneyline offerings have the Catalans are -315 to
win outright, while the French side can be backed at +750 to secure a victory. Current soccer odds have a draw listed at +420.
The OVER 3 goals is available at -125, with the UNDER
trading at -105. The OVER 2.5 goals is at -210, with the UNDER at +160.
Champions League Futures Odd & Predictions
Days after the draw with Barcelona, the Parisiens were able
to beat Stade Rennes 2-0 away from home. The goalscorers on the day were Jeremy
Menez, on a fine solo effort, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in stoppage time.
What Ibrahimovic has been doing this season is nothing short
of remarkable, but we've gotten accustomed to his brilliance. The immensely
skilled Swede has scored 26 goals in 27 league appearances this term and has
added three goals and six assists in eight Champions League matches.
It's hard to find any faults in Ibrahimovic's form, but the
same may not be able to be said for David Beckham. Beckham was a relatively
surprising inclusion in the starting XI in the first leg, but didn't make much
of a difference before getting substituted.
If Beckham makes the starting lineup again, he and his
teammates are going to have to play almost perfect soccer to beat out Barcelona
at the Nou Camp.
The Parisiens, despite winning two of their three Champions
League matches outside of Paris, have found it difficult to get in on the
scoring. They've scored just four goals in total in those games, but their
excellent defensive record (one goal allowed) has helped them tremendously.
It didn't matter that Messi was absent in Barcelona's latest
league match. They still smashed Mallorca 5-0, with Cesc Fabregas having a hand
in all five goals, scoring a hat-trick to go along with two tidy assists.
The more pressing issue: will Messi be available for this
crunch clash with PSG? The Argentinean superstar picked up a thigh problem in
the first leg and his availability is in question. Fabregas would again slide
into Messi's role if he's unable to go.
Javier Mascherano has also gone down, but his injury is much
more serious. He tore a knee ligament against the Parisiens and is set to be
out for at least six weeks, with the young Marc Bartra likely to fill the void.
Regardless of injuries, Barcelona has the squad depth to
cope. The simple fact that Fabregas comes off the bench is ludicrous in itself,
so we're not too worried about the Catalans' chances. They will still boss this
game against PSG.
Xavi has come out and said that having two away goals to
their name gives them the considerable advantage heading into the second leg.
We're finding it hard to disagree.
Review our predictions from the first leg.
Champions League Pick
Even if they were 2-0 or 3-0 down from the first leg, we
still would have liked Barcelona to do enough to advance on to the finals. The
fact they were able to grab two crucial away goals in a 2-2 draw is icing on
That said, there isn't much value on siding with the Spanish
outfit to win straight up, so the best options for your soccer picks may come by backing
them win by two or more goals. That wager is available for a much more
attractive -110 at the sportsbooks.
Too often we've seen Barcelona able to name their score when
playing at home, so let's roll with the hosts to take care of business once
again. Messi or no Messi, something crazy is going to have to happen if the
Spanish outfit are to lose this one.
Pick: Barcelona 3 PSG 1
Aggregate: Barcelona 5 PSG 3