Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund collide in midweek Champions League action, in what should be one of the most compelling games on the group slate next week.
The first week of the Premier League was a case of ‘Failure to Launch’ for Arsenal that prompted a barrage of criticism directed explicitly at Arsene Wenger and ominous predictions on the season as a whole for a team in crisis.
Fast forward a month, it’s safe to say “what crisis?” Since the defeat to Aston Villa, which sent seismic shockwaves throughout Sportsbooks worldwide, Arsenal have rocketed up to top of the league with a 5-1-1 mark on the season and taken control of a so-called “Group of Death” in Champions League on the back of two straight wins. That’s us told.
These are giddy times for Arsenal fans indeed. So desperate are they to see their domestic title drought ended once and for all – and wouldn’t it be just perfect if they could take the most prestigious trophy available on the soccer table as well. It’s early days yet but the excitement is already palpable, sending shivers up the collective spines of Gunners’ supporters. But it’s one thing to be blindly optimistic, another to ignore the hefty odds that at +1600 betting odds to win Champions League outright clearly and in no uncertain terms say don’t hold your breath just yet.
It’s not just in the outright market where bookies seem to be underwhelmed by Gunners. In the market for their upcoming date with Borussia Dortmund that feeling of being underwhelmed is felt as well as Arsenal, despite having home advantage and being tipped the favourites, are listed just larger than even money at +140 to win outright.
Arsenal fans and loyalists can be forgiven for pinching themselves right now believing Christmas has come early. After all, Arsenal’s form – a run of form that includes an 11-game unbeaten streak across several competitions (ten wins and a draw) including Champions League – confident play and overall impressive silky style of game should make them tough to beat you’d reckon, something that would be reflected in the odds and put them on the short side of even money across sportsbooks. But they aren’t. Good or bad news?
Well, good in the sense that it makes an Arsenal bet to win a value pick; bad because it suggests the quality of the opposition is that good and an Arsenal win cannot be quantified as a sure bet (i.e. on the short side of even money).
By that same token, Borussia Dortmund, who were last season’s runners-up in Europe, are priced competitively close at +180 to win outright at Bet365. Clearly, bookies believe the Bundesliga side has a shot do some serious damage in London.
Borussia Dortmund, level on points with Napoli but second in Group F on account of goal difference, boast a 1-0-1 record in Europe combined with a 6-1-1 record in domestic action.
Domestic form has been sublime up until recently when they suffered a setback against M’gladbach. Most impressively, they’ve scored the most goals in Germany (a mark shared with Hoffenheim right now at 21) and have equalled Arsenal’s tally of four goals in the competition on the back of a 3-0 victory over Olympique de Marseille in the last lap.
Verdict: Overall, betting on this game isn’t going to be straightforward and, thus, value can be found on both sides of the coin. Traditionally, Arsenal have been a tough side to beat in London in this competition and that fact holds merit towards this game. So if you are inclined to back the hosts you could do no worse and at +140 odds at Bet365, it’s a value free pick as well.
That said Borussia Dortmund cannot be underestimated and at +180 to win outright they are an even better value pick. Of course, the question that begs an answer is: can they accomplish the task? It’s a big ask. But if Lewandowski lights up as he’s wont to on occasion and Arsene Wenger plays his tactics too safely, watch if Borussia don’t actually pull it off.
Soccer Free Picks: Borussia Dortmund to win outright at +180