Juventus vs. Monaco Soccer Picks: Back 'Old Lady' in Champions League

Kevin Stott

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 6:02 PM GMT

Playing a good game at home here in Turin in Leg 1. Is a simple soccer pick on the favorite Juventus at -225 on the Three-Way line the way to go here? Time to dissect.

Odds Overview
Juventus vs. AS Monaco, Tuesday (April 14) 20:45 CET (Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Soccer 2Go, Fox Soccer GO (US); Sky Sports 5/HD, Sky Go, Sky Go Extra, Sky Sports 1/HD (UK), 2:45 p.m. ET/11:45 a.m. PT): Juventus Stadium in Turin, Italy is the site of this UEFA Champions League Quarter-finals Leg 1 match between host and defending Serie A champions Juventus and Ligue 1 side AS Monaco in a game which will be a little more important for the French visitors with the potential Road Goal reality and Leg 2 coming 8 days later at Stade Louis in Monaco. Oddsmakers have host Juventus obvious and healthy -225 favorites (bet365) here in the Three-Way (Winner) marketplace with guests AS Monaco priced as +650 underdogs and the Draw at +320. The Total Goals in this match has been set at 2½ Under -176 (Over +135; bet365) while the Both Teams To Score Prop odds see the Yes priced at +150 and the No at -200. Some weird Props bets for this contest: Correct Score: Juventus 2-0 +650; Not To Win: Juventus +162, AS Monaco -1000; and, Will There Be A Penalty Kick Missed?: No -10,000, Yes +1800. Also, the To Qualify Champions League Odds: Juventus -275, AS Monaco +210 (bet365).

 

AS Monaco
AS Monaco (15-8-6, 35 GF-21 GA in Ligue 1) currently sits in 4th place in France’s top flight of football—Ligue 1—so playing in the UEFA Champions League again next season is something this club will definitely have to work for. Here in the Champions League, where Monaco advanced somewhat luckily by eliminating English Premier League side Arsenal on Away Goals (3-2; 3-3 aggregate), this upstart team is actually a series win away from making it to the Semi-finals (May 5-6)—but this is more than likely the point in the tournament where this club sees The Exit Door. In the current UEFA rankings, AS Monaco is at #72 (and dropping) while Juventus is at #17—and incredibly underrated in my mind. The Old Lady has been one of the top six to eight clubs in European soccer over the past several years and they should be expected to at least win here in what should be a very tight and low-scoring affair—as Champions League play resumes after some time—as the visitors Monaco will likely be hard-pressed to get a number of quality shots on Juventus GK extraordinaire Gianluigi Buffon, and will probably lose the Time of Possession battle by around 10% or more. Also noteworthy: Les Rouges et Blancs (The Red and Whites) are used to playing low-scoring games (56 goals in 29 Ligue 1 games, 1.93 gpg average), so even though the soccer odds are steep on the Under (-175) in this one at 2½, it’s that extra ½ that makes it appealing as a bet, as host Juventus may have trouble getting that second (theoretical predicted below) goal against Monaco GK Danijel Subašic.

AS Monaco will look to midfielders João Moutinho and Nabil Dirar (2 goals Ligue 1) and strikers Dimitar Berbatov (7 goals Ligue 1, 1 goal UEFA CL) and Valère Germain to try to get something going on the attack, as well as 19-year-old Anthony Martial (5 Ligue 1 goals), Yannick Ferreira Carrasco (4 goals Ligue 1) and Bernardo Silva (3 goals Ligue 1), but this team looks like they will come in a little bit more hobbled than their Italian opponents. Defender Andrea Raggi (knee), DM Tiemoué Bakayoko (hamstring) and striker Lacina Traoré (unspecified) are all listed as Out (Injured) on the UEFA.com website, while winger Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco (thigh), DM Geoffrey Kondogbia (thigh) and DM Jérémy Toulalan (thigh) are all listed as Doubtful. So, Les Rouges et Blancs (The Red and Whites) may be a little bit thin on the defensive end heading into this opening leg in Italy. But check on some of these injuries closer to matchday, as ‘Doubtful’ always means different things to different people and it’s still more than two weeks away from the game. What Juventus will look to do in this particular leg is stifle Berbatov, prevent that Road goal and get at least one of its own.

 

Juventus FC
Juventus (15-8-6 Home, 35 GF-21 GA in Serie A) is making another run at its third UEFA Champions League title this season, and with a deeper roster this go-around, Bianconeri manager Massimiliano Allegri and his squad will have a much better chance at that end, and had better be thanking The Soccer Gods they drew AS Monaco and not holders Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo, defending runners-up Atlético de Madrid, perennial powerhouse and 2013 champs, Bayern Munich or Barcelona and the three-headed Lionel Messi-Luis Suárez-Neymar monster. Instead, Juventus got a team which got through to the Quarter-finals on Road Goals. So, obviously, that (alleged) truckload of fresh Italian pies baked in Turin’s finest pizzerias The Old Lady shipped to UEFA Headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland have paid off in a really big way. No doubt UEFA President Michel Platini (France), Vice President Senes Erzik (Turkey) and General Secretary Gianni Infantino (Italy) all enjoyed this Pasta Payola enough to give Juventus the cold ping-pong ball. And who wouldn’t fall prey to a bribe of warm mozzarella cheese? And I’m not saying which of UEFA’s top three members—listed above with their countries—may have arranged this shipment of some 1,107 pizzas (and 11 cannolis, my sources tell me) to UEFA Headquarters (under the cloak of darkness mind you), but you should be able to figure it out. Anyway, it was very good draw for Juventus (12-2-0 Home, 34 GF-7 GA) and never underestimate The Power of Pizza.

The Old Lady will have a huge advantage in this Leg 1 with the fixture being held at Juventus Stadium in Turin where Juventus (Champions League Form: WLLWWDWW) and Buffon have allowed only 7 goals in 14 league games (0.50 gpg), and where this team has yet to lose a match (through the month of March). The main man on the Bianconeri attack is striker Carlos Tevez (16 goals Serie A, 6 goals CL) and along with Álvaro Morata (7 goals Serie A, 2 goals CL), Arturo Vidal (6 goals Serie A) and Fernando Llorente (5 goals Serie A, 1 goal CL), the hosts will have the stronger offense here, but electric midfielder Paul Pogba (Hamstring; 7 goals Serie A, 1 goal CL), and club maestro and captain Andrea Pirlo (Calf; 3 goals Serie A, 1 goal UEFA Champions League) are both listed as Injured and out for this leg. Pogba collided with Borussia Dortmund defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos in the First Half of Juventus’ Leg 2 win over the Germans at the Westfalenstadion last round and reportedly could be seen crying on the Juventus bench. Claudio Marchisio (knee), Paolo De Ceglie (knee), Kwadwo Asamoah (knee), Martín Cáceres (ankle), Hellas Verona-loanee Rômulo (groin) and Stefano Sturaro (ankle) are all also listed as out for Leg 1 while Sebastian Giovinco is not on the club’s current player list (March 28) at particular this point in time.

 

Best Betting Approaches and Trends
Somewhat surprisingly, there’s not much of a series history between these two clubs and most of that can probably be attributed to AS Monaco’s recent rise to success as the biggest reason. The only time these two have met in the past was in this very tournament (UEFA Champions League)was back in 1997/1998  in the Semifinals where AS Monaco won Leg 1, 3-2 at Home at Stade Louis in the principality of Monaco, while Juventus captured Leg 2 (and with it, the series), 4-1 here in Turin. So, two Overs with an average of 5.0 gpg and, worth mentioning, both games saw the Both Teams To Score props hit (Yes) by Halftime (1:1, 2:1). But that was Then and this is Now and with Juventus allowing just those aforementioned 7 goals here at Juventus Stadium in 14 Serie A games, there is a decent chance of a clean sheet for the salgo (homeboys).

This one should start off fairly slowly, with a 0-0 Halftime score a strong possibility, although The Old Lady could go for that early goal to try to take some of the pressure off . But it won’t be as easy if Pogba and Pirlo are indeed absent. With Monaco GK Subašic also being incredibly talented himself, the Under looks like a good soccer pick here at 2½, while Juventus should get goals from either the reliable Tevez or Vidal and/or the often-overlooked Morata. Even (potentially) without two players as talented as the 22-year-old Pogba and the 35-year-old Pirlo, this Juventus side is still loaded and will eventually figure out how to crack Les Rouges et Blancs code and head to Leg 2 (Wednesday, April 22) in France the following week with either a 1- or 2-goal advantage and 0 Road Goals for opponents AS Monaco.

 

Predicted Final Score: Juventus 2 AS Monaco 0

UCL Soccer Pick: Juventus -230, Under 2½ -175 at Bet365

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