Champions League Quarterfinals Soccer Picks: AS Monaco vs. Juventus

Kevin Stott

Monday, April 20, 2015 6:36 PM GMT

After winning Leg 1 by a 1-0 scoreline in Turin, Juventus will look to hold down host Monaco and cruise into the Semifinals of the UEFA Champions League tournament on Wednesday. But can the hosts possibly pull off a big upset and somehow be one of the last four standing? And what exactly is the best bet here?

Odds Overview
AS Monaco vs. Juventus, Wednesday 20:45 CET (Fox Sports 2 USA, Fox Soccer 2Go, Fox Soccer GO, ESPN Deportes, WATCH ESPN (US); Sky Sports 1/HD, Sky Go, Sky Go Extra (UK); 2:45 p.m. ET/11:45 a.m. PT): Stade Louis II in the Fontvieille district of the principality of Monaeo is the site of this UEFA Champions League Quarterfinals Leg 2 match between visitors and defending Serie A champions Juventus and Ligue 1 side AS Monaco in a match in which will be incredibly important for the French hosts to score the first goal and somehow level this series on aggregate, 1-1.


Soccer betting odds makers have made Juventus +137 favorites in the Three-Way (Winner) market here with hosts AS Monaco priced at +229 underdogs (bet365) and the Draw lined at a low +210—due in great part to the fact that the Old Lady can still advance on aggregate with a final 1-1 scoreline here (by way of a theoretical 2-1 aggregate score). The Total Goals in this match is set at 2½ Under -175 (Over +150; BetVictor), while the Both Teams To Score Prop odds here have the Yes priced at +100 and the No at -137 (bet365). A couple of Props bets for this mid-week Leg 2: Correct Score: 0-0 +600, Juventus 1-0 +500, Juventus 2-0 +850, Juventus 2-1 +850, 1-1 +500, AS Monaco 1-0 +700, AS Monaco 2-0 +1400, AS Monaco 2-1 +850, 2-2 +1600 (bet365); and, updated To Qualify odds after the defending Serie A champions victory in Leg 1 in Turin: Juventus -600, AS Monaco +400 (bet365).

 

Juventus FC
Juventus (27-7-2 Serie A, 59 GF-15 GA) and its renowned defense just keeps plugging along, registering another clean sheet in its weekend match with Italian Serie A’s second-place team—Lazio (18-4-9, 58 GF-30 GA)—at home over the weekend, 2-0, to edge closer to winning yet another league title. As mentioned, last week in Leg 1 here in this series, Juventus won the match at home in Turin, 1-0 as it defeated AS Monaco courtesy of a somewhat controversial call which resulted in a second-half Arturo Vidal PK and the game’s only goal. In the match, Juventus didn’t look to be as dominant as it would have probably hoped against Monaco as Carlos Tevez wasn’t 100% returning from a minor injury and several other Juventus players were either missing or dinged up. And the Old Lady will be just as beat up heading in here with star MF Paul Pogba (hamstring; 7 goals Serie A, 1 goal CL) out again and Claudio Marchisio (non-ACL tear) potentially missing the leg also according to some reports. The UEFA.com website lists captain and club legend Andrea Pirlo (calf; 3 goals Serie A, 1 goal UEFA Champions League) as Doubtful and Kwadwo Asamoah (knee), Martín Cáceres (ankle), Rômulo (groin), and Luca Marrone (thigh) as all Injured and out for this game.


So, Juventus (UEFA Champions League Form: WLLWWDWWW), making a run at its third UEFA Champions League title, and manager Massimiliano Allegri will continue to do what it does best in this Leg 2—play lockdown defense—and that hope Buffon can continue to keep opponents off the scoresheet. As far as offense, the Bianconeri will hope Tevez (16 goals Serie A, 6 goals CL, +137 Anytime Goalscorer, Sky Bet) can contribute here, but if he can’t, this Juventus team has a talented and deep roster and can call on Álvaro Morata (7 goals Serie A, 2 goals Champions League, +175), Vidal (6 goals Serie A, 240) and Fernando Llorente (5 goals Serie A, 1 goal CL, +200) for scoring.

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AS Monaco
Like, Juventus AS Monaco (16-11-6, 40 GF-23 GA in Ligue 1, 3rd place) is all about playing solid defense and with Danijel Subašic in goal, this team can compete with almost anyone. Les Rouges et Blancs (The Red and Whites) are very used to playing low-scoring games (63 goals in 33 Ligue 1 games, 1.91 gpg average), so even though the odds are very steep (-175) on the Under 2½ here again, as written about here in this space last week, it’s that extra ½ (goal) that makes backing and betting the Under here so strong. AS Monaco (WDDLWWWLL) will hope playing at home here at Stade Louis II will give them that added edge it needs for this crucial leg, and the hosts will look to striker Dimitar Berbatov (+200 Anytime Goalscorer, Sky Bet, 7 goals Ligue 1, 1 goal UEFA CL) João Moutinho (+500), Nabil Dirar (+450, 2 goals Ligue 1), Valère Germain (+250), Anthony Martial +240, (5 Ligue 1 goals), Yannick Ferreira Carrasco (+350, 4 goals Ligue 1) and Bernardo Silva (+275, 3 goals Ligue 1), among others, for that aggregate-tying goal, and hopefully more on Wednesday in this one.


AS Monaco—which saw its chances at a Ligue 1 title suffer on Saturday after being held to a 1-1 draw in league play by Rennes—comes into this leg a bit healthier than it did in the last one and with less overall reported Injuries than Juventus—AS Monaco DM Tiemoué Bakayoko (hamstring) is listed as Doubtful for this match while striker Lacina Traoré (leg) is Out according to the UEFA.com website—so, at least the environment and personnel will be right for a potential upset here, but the Ligue 1 side has no valuable Road Goal or Goals to fall back on—always a big thing to be aware of in Knockout stages. Betting these series’ is a much different animal than a normal European league game.

 

Best Betting Approaches and Trends
The only time these two clubs have met before was in this UEFA Champions League and in the Semifinals of 1997/1998 when AS Monaco won Leg 1, here at home at Stade Louis II, 3-2, while Juventus was victorious at home in Leg 2, winning by a 4-1 scoreline, and, thus with it, the series. The Big Thing here in this game is Will AS Monaco Be Able To Score First (or at all and make a series out of this)?

There’s no doubt that the Red and Whites had to have gained some valuable confidence in the way they played in Leg 1 in Italy, and, with the home crowd and a healthier group from which to call upon, manager Leonardo Jardim will surely attack the Old Lady, potentially making for a quick early pace and much nervousness in the first 20 minutes. But if Juventus can weather a potential Monaco storm early on, and then possibly get a goal from Tevez, Morata, Vidal, Llorente or someone against Monaco, then look for the Italian side to pretty much “Park the Bus,” fostering a nice environment for another Under, especially with Totals lines set at 2½. Both of these teams are just so defensive-oriented and the situation is one where the better perceived team (Juventus) is, and may continue to be, in a position where it doesn’t have to score—tick, tick, tick.

And with AS Monaco and GK Subašic having allowed just 8 goals in 9 Champions League games and already proving it can slow down and stifle Juventus, this one could end up looking an awful lot like Leg 1 with the exception of a potential Vidal lone goal coming from Open Play and not from a PK. Monaco definitely won’t make it easy on il Bianconeri, but the club which expects and has expected to advance (and maybe even win it all) all along should do so here, and backing Juventus in both the Three-Way (+137, bet365) and/or the Draw No Bet (-137, SkyBet) markets—along with a bigger play on the Under—may also end up being a pretty smart soccer pick in this crucial midweek Leg 2 in Monaco.

PREDICTED FINAL SCORE: AS Monaco 0 Juventus 1
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PICKS: Under 2½ -175 (BetVictor), Juventus Draw No Bet -137 (bet365)

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