Real Madrid Favored in Showdown vs. PSG; Liverpool-Porto Clash

Monday, March 5, 2018 5:45 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 5, 2018 5:45 PM UTC

Ronaldo leads Real Madrid into Tuesday's eagerly anticipated second leg of their Champions League matchup with PSG, while Liverpool takes on Porto. What are some good values?

Tuesday Soccer: Champions LeaguePSG vs. Real Madrid

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Paris Saint-Germain was made the favorite to win the Champions League this season after beating Bayern Munich 3-0 in the group stage. That followed a captivating summer in the transfer market, during which the Parisians obliterated the world transfer record to sign Brazilian superstar Neymar. It followed up that signing by making Kylian Mbappe the second-most expensive player in history. That left PSG with a formidable attacking triumvirate also featuring Edinson Cavani, and it was expected to overturn the established order in Europe.

When the draw was made for the last 16 of the Champions League, PSG vs. Real Madrid was undoubtedly the standout tie. Real Madrid became the first team to successfully defend the Champions League title when it thrashed Juventus in last year’s final. This was the perfect test for an ambitious PSG team, and Unai Emery’s men were made the clear favorites to oust Real Madrid and qualify for the quarterfinals. Real Madrid was badly struggling in the Spanish top flight and had already finished below Tottenham in its Champions League group, so PSG was expected to rip it apart.

Many fans agreed and backed PSG, but I argued in favor of a Real Madrid victory. After all, this was still a team that had conquered Europe for the last two seasons, featuring arguably the most brilliant midfield in the world. Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro are peerless in the way they can control a game, and that means Cristiano Ronaldo is given plenty of scope to wreak havoc. So it played out in the first leg, as Ronaldo scored twice to inspire his team to a 3-1 win.

Real Madrid is now just -350 with Bovada to qualify for the quarterfinals, while PSG is +275 on the soccer odds board. However, PSG is the moneyline favorite to win this second leg at odds of -110, while Real Madrid is +250 and the draw is +300. There is no need for Real Madrid to win, as a draw or a narrow defeat would see them through. Backing a Real Madrid win therefore seems risky, but PSG is without Neymar, who is injured, which puts it at a serious disadvantage, so a draw looks really interesting at +323 with Pinnacle. Ronaldo is now the competition’s top scorer by a considerable margin and, with your soccer picks, he looks good to score at any time at +120 with Bovada.

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Cristiano Ronaldo's recent form in all competitions = 🔥🔥🔥#UCL

— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) March 5, 2018

Liverpool vs. Porto

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Betting on the second leg of a knockout tie is often tricky and this one is no different. Liverpool leads 5-0, so it will have no need to go for the win on Tuesday. It is -100000 to qualify with the sportsbooks that are taking bets on it, which is understandable because it could lose by four goals and still progress. This Liverpool team has not lost since January, so that is highly unlikely. Jurgen Klopp’s team is still hunting down second place in the Premiership, so he might even rest a few stars for this game.

Porto fans must have been shocked by the nature of their team’s defeat in the first leg, as it has not lost a single game in the Primeira Liga this season and is comfortably atop the table. However, that illustrates the huge gulf in class between Portugual’s top flight and the English Premiership. Liverpool has lavished hundreds of millions of dollars on its squad in recent years, and it showed against Porto. Sadio Mane banged in a hat trick, and Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino completed the rout.

That trio has been in devastating form, Salah in particular, and Liverpool should still have enough talent to secure another win against Porto, even if it rests players and does not try too hard. The moneyline odds are low, just -200, so for more value you could try Liverpool to win and "under" 4.5 goals at -115.

This game should be a tamer affair as Liverpool will be content to sit back and see out the game. If Salah starts, he should get on the score sheet as he has been on fire of late. So, with your soccer picks, Salah to score at any time looks great at -115 with Bovada on the soccer odds board.

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