A busy week of Champions League action has thrown up a few interesting bets. Luis Suarez won in a Barcelona shirt for the first time, Manchester City sunk to a new low and a host of teams qualified for the next round. Our tipster is looking at the betting surrounding all three stories.
Luis Suarez and Barcelona
I was really surprised to see Luis Suarez start in El Clasico, I'm never a fan of disrupting a winning team especially one with the quality of Messi and Neymar up front.
They disappointed against Real Madrid, but then they were always going to with or without Luis Suarez. That early season form and continual clean sheets can only last for so long. The defeat to Celta Vigo is more worrying, although the one nil defeat doesn't tell the whole story. Barcelona did hit the woodwork on numerous occasions and really should've got something out of the game. The worry is how long do you accommodate Luis Suarez for if it is disrupting the team?
Suarez is averaging two shots per game in La Liga and had one assist of course, against Real Madrid. The question is will he score 19 or more goals in the top Spanish division this season? It’s even money for him to score 19 or more with 28 games left. He still needs a few more to get up to match fitness, so I’m going to play the under 18.5 goals this season in the league.
I got Manchester City so wrong this season in the Champions League, I really thought with their defensive additions in the summer and their quality in the squad already, they would have a good campaign this season. It just hasn't happened. To be fair to them they did get another very tricky group with Bayern Munich, Roma and CSKA Moscow.
Losing in Munich by a single goal was a good effort, but the Roma game wasn't brilliant, the away game in Moscow was silly, when they were in complete control to give away a two-goal lead is unforgivable. The home game against Moscow was nothing short of disgraceful.
So the question is can they get out of the group? They have a home tie against Bayern and then they travel to Rome. It's grasping at straws a little but Munich have already qualified and won the group so whether they will be at full force when they visit the Etihad is debatable. They really have got nothing else to play for though, so why weaken down? They’re already four points clear in the Bundesliga just 10 games gone.
Even if they beat the German champions and Roma beat Moscow, City still have to go to the Italian capital and win. Roma’s form has dipped since being thrashed 7-1 by Munich but the home form is still strong apart from that defeat to the Germans, they’ve won every game at home conceding just one goal in six matches and scoring 16.
My advice as far as the betting goes is to back Man City qualify at 5 to 1 and have a saver on by Munich win at 5 to 4 in the game at the Etihad.
Champions League winners
After game week four a handful of clubs have qualified for the knockout stages of the champions League: Porto, PSG, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid have all sealed their places in the next phase. Madrid and Munich can't really be caught in their groups so will win them as well
It got me thinking whether it's time to revise my thoughts on Munich as eventual champions. As good as Real Madrid are looking at the moment, I'm sticking with Lewandowski and Co. They got 12 points, so a 100% record scoring 11 and conceding one in a group containing the champions of England, Russia and Roma.
Real Madrid's record is also perfect but they have conceded one more goal in their games and are in a much easier group. Dortmund have the same points as their German counterparts and a better goal difference having scored two more goals in the group, but that's also an easier group. PSG and Barcelona are still fighting out top spot with just a point between them with two game weeks to go. Porto may still be caught by Shakhtar Donetsk.
At the time of writing Real Madrid and by Munich are both listed at 7/2 soccer odds to win the Champions League, I'll stick with Bayern Munich. The squad, the manager and the fact that they’re hungry to win it again just given them the edge for me over Real Madrid. That suspect start to the season nags away at me and they could fall victim to that again during the campaign.
I'm also a stickler for historical stats and no team has ever defended the Champions League. It’s just another tiny thing pushing me towards the Germans to win the champions league at 7/2 for my free soccer picks.