Soccer Picks: Manchester United vs. Bayer Leverkusen

Nila Amerova

Sunday, September 15, 2013 9:06 PM GMT

Sunday, Sep. 15, 2013 9:06 PM GMT

Champions League is set to get underway this week and one of the first matches to kick off the most watched competition around the world is the clash between Manchester United and Bayer Leverkusen.

Check out our report on 2013-14 Champions League Betting Futures!

Join us as we breakdown this key fixture in Group A and deliver our verdict complete with free picks for your consideration.

Manchester United hot favourites

The Red Devils enter their first Champions League fixture against Bayer Leverkusen as the hot favourites to win outright at -138 at Bet365. But going against those odds is a sub-par start to the season and a new manager at the helm who is set to make his first-ever bow on Europe’s top-flight stage. All of which leads to the question: is Man U being overrated here?

The short answer: Yes.

Manchester United boasts a 2-1-1 record in domestic action, a mark that was improved just at the weekend with a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace in which both Van Persie and Rooney contributed on the board. Although the victory snapped a scoreless two-game streak by the Red Devils the take away is debatable when considering the overall quality of Crystal Palace against Manchester United.

Fact is when Man U came up against quality opponents such as Chelsea and Liverpool they fell short of the mark with a draw and a defeat, respectively. That doesn’t bode well for their upcoming clash against Bayer Leverkusen, who is no lightweight in Bundesliga. Far from it.

As of Sunday, Man U is sat in fifth in the table, level on points with Man City, Chelsea, Stoke City and Newcastle United (clearly, they aren’t the only big club off to a sluggish start on the season) and two points adrift of Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool, who has a game in hand (the Reds are set to take on Swansea on Monday).

Despite limping through the first rounds of Premier League, odds makers are confident Moyes and his men will deliver a positive result in Champions League. Man U is favoured across the board and even a draw at +275 is priced lower than a Bayer win at +375.

Score betting markets on every sportsbook platform lean perceptibly towards Man U as well. A 1-0 win is going for +650, while a 2-1 win is going for +700 and a 2-0 win is going for +750; compare this to a Bayer 1-0 win, which is tipped at +1200 and a 2-0 win at +2200, for example.

Bayer Leverkusen, a Tricky Obstacle

Bayer Leverkusen head to Manchester looking to deal the hosts a surprise upset, what is priced at +375 by odds makers at Bet365. That it’s such a large price tag means the markets consider it to be a long shot pick and the probability of it happening deemed slim. Yet, despite this market stance against the German side, they do have reason to be hopeful as they descend on the Old Trafford.

Here’s a few reasons why. First of all they are enjoying a solid start to the Bundesliga season with four wins in five games (4-0-1) this season and with eight wins in their last nine games. They are sat third in the table on 12 points, a point behind Bayern Munich and three points adrift of top of the table Borussia Dortmund and, as such, one would assume they are brimming with confidence.

Another thing that lends Bayer Leverkusen’s sports betting value is the fact that scoring doesn’t seem to be an issue as they’ve already tallied 11 goals in five games— what is a 2.2 average per game. Three of their games saw them score three or more goals and only once were they held scoreless.

Speaking of scoring, the team boasts last term’s surprise Bundesliga top scorer, Stefan Kiessling. The 29-year-old striker already has four goals on the new season –a feat that is match by his teammate Sidney Sam. Though Bayer did lose Andre Schurrle to Chelsea during the transfer window it doesn’t seem to have hurt them at all. And it really shouldn’t given that they snagged Heung-Min Son to replace him and the Korean is fitting in nicely with electric tandem of Kiessling and Sam.

Finally, Anfield legend Sami Hyppia is at the helm of this team. The Finnish defender spent ten years with Liverpool during the club’s glory days and knows a thing or two about the style of English football.

Soccer Betting Verdict

It could be said that the market on this game isn’t reflective of the current status quo in the game. Obviously, Man U’s reputation precedes itself and hence the favourable soccer betting odds. But that don’t appear warranted after taking into consideration David Moyes’ lack of noteworthy experience at this level and his team’s questionable start on the season.

Of course, taking a win at the Theatre of Dreams is a tall order for any team; it always has been. But if it were to happen, now would be that time, no? While Man U is suffering a bit of an identity crisis, a post-Sir-Alex-Fergusson hangover, so to speak.

Let’s not underestimate the value of the opposition as well. Bayer pose a tricky obstacle for Man U, make no mistake about it. They have a better shot at the upset than the odds would suggest for all the reasons mentioned above and so, (to be contrary) we’re plumping down to their + 375 soccer odds to accomplish the feat.

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Soccer Picks: Bayer Leverkusen to win outright at +450 money line at Ladbrokes

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