Bayer Leverkusen must win
Sportsbooks send Bayer Leverkusen into match day 6 as the firm favourites at -118 to win outright at Bet365 at the expense of Group A’s whipping boys Real Sociedad, despite being on the road. The hosts meanwhile are listed at the disadvantage, significantly so at +300 to win outright, a market stance that rests entirely on the notion that they have little (if nothing) to play for seeing that they prop up Group A with just a point – a hard earned point, mind, which they stole off Man U on a scoreless draw at San Sebastian on match day 4 – and enforced by the fact that they are winless and goalless at home throughout the competition.
Bayer Leverkusen bounced back from an opening 4-2 defeat to Manchester United at the Old Trafford with a 2-1 victory at home to Real Sociedad, a victory that kick-started their European campaign. They extended their winning form with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk and just when they looked like they might continue that winning form, their momentum stuttered on a scoreless draw to Shakhtar Donetsk on the road and, immediately afterwards, screeched to an abrupt halt against Manchester United on the back of a 5-0 evisceration by the Red Devils at home.
Now Bayer Leverkusen sit in third place in Group A, a point adrift of Shakhtar and four points adrift of Man U. Bayer needs a better result than Shakhtar in the section’s second match in order to overtake their Ukrainian rivals. La Real meanwhile are smack bottom in the group with a 0-1-4 mark in five laps. They are winless at home and goalless as well after settling on a scoreless draw to Man U and losing 2-0 to Shakhtar in San Sebastian.
La Real’s gutsy performance against Man U suggests they won’t be pushovers even if they have naught to play for in the broad spectrum of European competition. So while Bayer Leverkusen are correctly deemed the favourites, sports bettors can’t take their -118 soccer odds on a road win for granted.
Those looking to back Bayer however can take heart from recent form. Since the 5-0 humiliation at home to the Red Devils they bounced back with three straight wins, including a 1-0 upset over Borussia Dortmund on the road, following which they pulled six-points ahead of Borussia while remaining just four points shy of Bayern Munich at the top of the table.
The 5-0 humiliation to Man U could have had lasting repercussions in both domestic and European action. That they bounced back rather admirably in Bundesliga augurs well for them to do so in Champions League, at least where the outcome of this match is concerned by taking either the win or the draw, which is trading at +275 at Bet365.
Advancing into the knockout stages, which is listed at -120 for both Bayer and Shakhtar, is another matter entirely, wholly dependent on the outcome of Shakhtar’s tilt with Man U at the Old Trafford. All they can do is try to beat La Real. The rest is down to divine intervention and the Red Devils, who (unfortunately for Bayer) have been consistently inconsistent this season, making it at best a guess what might actually happen at the Old Trafford.
Soccer Betting Verdict: Bayer’s form is very convincing right now and while La Real’s form isn’t too bad either, the balance does tip in favour of Bayer. They have the momentum plus the incentive to win this match. La Real have pride and playing the part of spoilers as incentive, which is definitely something that can’t be overlooked. But how far are they prepared to take those intangibles, when pressing domestic commitments and an ever-increasing gap in the table between them and the chasing pack are a growing concern. The gutsy effort against Man U was a do-or-die match, last chance to kick start their European campaign. The draw – admirable though it was – wasn’t enough. And if their subsequent match were any indication, a 4-0 defeat to Shakhtar on the road, one could assume they’ve thrown in the towel as far as Europe is concerned, unwilling to take unnecessary risks for a campaign they can’t chase meaningfully anymore.
More likely than not Bayer will win this match and at -118 soccer odds they are our value soccer pick. What’s more, sportsbooks fancy the Over 2.5 at -154 and we agree on that score. That said, bookies favour a 2-1 score for Bayer at +750, while listing a 1-0 and 2-0 score close at +800 and +900, respectively. All good options but we’re taking a page from La Real’s last European outing and banking on a higher score line – a 3-1 or 4-0 score at +1200 and +3300 soccer odds, respectively, tickle our fancy better.
Soccer Free Picks: Bayer to win outright at -118; Over 2.5 at -154