Champions League Soccer Pick: Barcelona vs. Manchester City

Nikki Adams

Tuesday, March 17, 2015 5:16 PM GMT

Tuesday, Mar. 17, 2015 5:16 PM GMT

It appears a foregone conclusion: Man City are almost certain to be knocked out of Champions League. Or is it? Join us as we preview this highly-anticipated R16 tie set to kick off at Camp Nou.

Can Citizens Spring A Surprise?
Can the Citizens spring a surprise at Camp Nou on Wednesday and send seismic shockwaves through Champions League betting markets? They will have to if their sojourn in Europe's top flight competition is to continue.

By the soccer odds, the chance of that happening is slim to none. Man City are matched as the significant +650 underdogs to win the second leg of their R16 tie with Barcelona. What's more, they are long shots to advance into the quarterfinals at +1000 and to win the competition at +8000. Clearly, odds makers have little faith in the Premier League titleholders being able to spring the surprise in Spain this week.

This is a grim betting outlook for Manuel Pellegrini and his Citizens, but it's more of a reflection of the quality of Barcelona rather than any lack in quality of Man City's multi-million dollar roster.  Simply put, they are really up against it after losing the first leg 2-1 at the Etihad.

Man City's campaign began with all the promise and potential of a domestic titleholder but it never did get off the ground properly. Some of it is down to a very tough group that included Bayern Munich, AS Roma and CSKA Moskva. The rest is just down to the Citizens failing to put in a convincing account behind a 2-2-2 mark and 8 points to finish in second place (all of seven points behind Bayern, who took the group with a 5-0-1 record and 15 points). That said, they did beat Bayern Munich 3-2 at the Etihad. If there's one result they could potentially draw inspiration from this Wednesday, it would be that win.

 

Man City have never advanced beyond the R16
Twice in a row, Man City draws the short straw. Last year, they went out of the competition in the R16 after losing to Barcelona. This year, they are in real danger of going out in similar fashion and, once again, against Barcelona.

Consensus betting overwhelming tips the scale towards the Spanish giants as the build up to match day intensifies. It's worth noting as well that the expectations are for a comprehensive win by Barcelona at Camp Nou. Soccer bettors are pounding a 3-0 win by Barcelona, which can be backed at +1000. As well, a 2-0 and 2-1 win are gaining traction, both of which are trading at +800 and +750, respectively.

It's not surprising that Barcelona are attracting the bulk of the soccer betting action at -250 to win the second leg. What is surprising (a little bit) is just how eagerly everybody is writing off the Citizens in this matchup. Surely, they've got a much better stake in the outcome than its being portrayed. They have a much greater incentive to win this game and salvage their campaign. They are only down by a goal on the scoreboard and two away goals (if the rule is called upon). The Champions League odds are against them, but these aren't insurmountable obstacles.  

 

Barcelona Have the Advantage
Barcelona are not only preordained to win this tie behind a win on Wednesday, which is trading confidently at -250, but also to advance into the quarterfinals at whopping -2000 soccer odds in futures odds. They are also one of the competition faves to win it all. That's a lot of pressure on them, not to be downplayed either. Let's face it, everybody can have an off day and Barcelona have had a few inexplicable ones particularly at home.

Let's also not forget that Barcelona could have had a 3-1 edge in this tie, but for Messi buggering a penalty shot. It must be replaying over and over in the backs of their minds: a missed opportunity that could come back to haunt them. Certainly, it infuses Man City with more hope for this tie than they would have had had Messi scored.

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Soccer Betting Verdict
Overwhelmingly, the outlook on this tie is that it's a done deal. It's an understandable take given Barcelona's undeniable credentials. However, Man City are very much in it after the first leg and last year's experience is going to be invaluable this time around. If they remain disciplined and rise to the occasion at the Camp Nou there is no reason to assume they can't turn it around. We are talking about a multi-million dollar roster. Pound for pound an equal to Barcelona. Hence, a worthwhile soccer pick at +650 to win outright and at +1000 to advance.

Put it another way, we're passing on Barcelona's odds in this tie because they promise little return. Might as well chance on the tempting underdogs in this clash at their massive prices. We are under no illusions, it is a long shot soccer pick. Tread carefully.

Soccer Free Picks: Man City +650 to win outright and +1000 to advance at Bet365.

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