At this point in the competition, most of the fixtures feature two evenly matched sides and that's the case for Tuesday's match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.
The Citizens are the underdogs though on their home ground, being quoted at +200 or so to win outright. You can back Barcelona at +150 or so, with a draw listed at soccer betting markets in the +250 area.
After a rough stretch, which included a home loss to Chelsea and a draw at Norwich, the Citizens righted the ship in a 2-0 victory over the Blues in the FA Cup.
It was a great response and a perfect way to build up some confidence and momentum heading into this clash with Messi and company. The goals were scored by Stevan Jovetic and Samir Nasri, with City able to book their spot in the quarter-finals of the competition over Jose Mourinho's men.
Injuries, however, remain a huge worry for the Citizens at the moment. They're set to be without leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero, and they'll also be missing Fernandinho and Matija Nastasic.
That means Jovetic could be called up into the starting XI again for Tuesday, with Edin Dzeko also in the mix to start alongside Alvaro Negredo, who figures to return to the fold after starting out on the bench against Chelsea.
Fernandinho's absence shouldn't be understated though. He's been one of the foundations of City's success this season and the team has found it very difficult to replace him effectively.
In a nice little tune-up for this showdown, the Catalans smashed Rayo Vallecano 6-0 at home in La Liga play.
A few different players got in on the action. Messi had his customary two goals, with Adriano, Alexis Sanchez and Neymar also getting on the score-sheet. It was one-way traffic all match long and the score-line could have been even harsher on the visitors.
Barcelona remains even on points with Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, setting the stage for an enthralling finish to the La Liga season. Any slip-ups and you can all but guarantee you're out of the running for the top spot.
In the Champions League, Barcelona has had their ups and downs this term. They had standout wins over Ajax (4-0), AC Milan (3-1) and Celtic (6-1), but they also lost 2-1 at Ajax and drew with Milan (1-1) at the San Siro. In short, it wasn't as dominant of a campaign as we've gotten used to seeing out of the Catalans.
They're tasked with an incredibly difficult tie here in the Round of 16, but Barcelona still remains the favorite to advance on to the quarter-finals. A positive result in the first leg would go a long way to making that a reality.
[gameodds]8/252971/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]Champions League Pick
We're in for a treat on Tuesday, that's for sure.
These are two of the most talented sides in the world and they're high up on the list of favorites to win the entire competition. Only one of these giants will move on to the quarter-finals though.
As for round one at the Etihad, while there's going to be tons of superstar quality on the pitch, we don't foresee a high-scoring affair. Neither team wants to see this tie get away from them in the first leg, so that could leave to some nerves in front of goal and more defensive tactics.
All in all, we're expecting a tight affair and will recommend a draw as one of our free sports picks.Pick: Manchester City 1 Barcelona 1