Man City are after a debilitating home defeat to Bayern Munich in the last lap of Champions League action. They will be looking to bounce back and get their campaign on track again with a crucial away win. However, Man City’s struggles in Europe’s top-flight competition are well known and it won’t be as easy a task as the sports betting markets would have you believe it is.
Sportsbooks across the board favour Man City wholeheartedly, tipping the Sky Blues at a rather pricey -143 to win outright despite their well-documented history of failure on the road in this competition: Man City have lost five of six away games in their previous two campaigns. So the obvious question is whether Man City is worth a bet here at rather unmerited favourable betting odds?
On the flipside, bookies are underrating the Russian outfit severely, listing them at a whopping +400 to win at home at Bet365 and the draw at a large +275 as well. It should be pointed out though that the Russians last meeting against Premier League opposition was rather positive, all things being considered. In 2009/10 Champions League action, CSKA Moskva came up against Man U and although they lost 1-0 at home they managed to take a 3-1 lead in the reverse fixture before settling on a 3-3 draw at the Old Trafford. Verdict: perhaps they shouldn’t be underestimated.
Man City opened their Champions League bid this season with a win over Viktoria Plzen; however, it must be said there is a huge gap in quality and depth between the Czech outfit and the rest of the playing field in Group D. From the start of the competition they were tipped as no-hopers, the quintessential long shot soccer pick in every aspect of the tournament; and, when all is said and done, most expect them to leave this competition with no points to show for it.
CSKA Moskva opened their European bid with a 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in Germany before rallying to beat Viktoria Plzen at home and earn three crucial points in the competition. They are third in the table but level on points with Man City and, as such, they are mired in a battle for second place with the Premier League darlings this season, a fact that gives them motivation to win this match – an intangible that can’t be quantified but obviously isn’t even being considered in this market the way it’s priced.
Verdict: On paper, Man City undoubtedly should win this game. However, one just never knows what to expect of Man City on the road and especially in Europe. They are after their first road win in domestic action however; a feat that many believe augurs well for their trip to Russia. If you are so inclined, try to find Man City at a better price than – 143 because this is just too pricey a bet given their track record.
Speaking of their track record, it’s hard to ignore their lack of success in this competition in previous campaigns on the road. Moreover, CSKA Moskva is a decent outfit –make no mistake – and they won’t be easy to beat. These two facts make it difficult to back Man City with any confidence here. Taking it a step further we hesitate to make them our free pick. This is one of those games that could go against the market and given that reasonable probability we are plumping down to a home win at +400 by CSKA Moskva or – if we we’re to be a bit conservative – to a draw bet at +275.
Soccer Free Picks: CSKA Moskva to win outright