Soccer Picks: Real Madrid vs. Galatasaray

Nila Amerova

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 7:21 PM GMT

Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013 7:21 PM GMT

Real Madrid and Galatasaray collide in Champions League match day 5. With odds already in full swing, join us as we breakdown this match and deliver soccer free picks.

Real Madrid assured qualification

Real Madrid got their Champions League campaign to a flying start with a 6-1 victory over Galatasaray on the road, marking the Turkish side’s biggest defeat in Europe. Now the Madrilenos aim to seal the deal with a home win in the reverse fixture. And by all accounts they are an almost sure bet to do just that at -350 odds to win outright at Bet365.

Following the convincing victory in Istanbul, Real Madrid went on to steamroll FC Copenhagen 4-0 and then to deal Juventus (second short-odds-on-favourites across sportsbooks at the start of the competition) a major setback on a 2-1 win. When it came to sealing the deal at Turin on match day 4 however they faltered, allowing the opportunity to slip through on a 2-2 draw to the Italian champions.

Regardless Real Madrid have a commanding lead in Group B, with a 3-1-0 record and ten points it’s nigh impossible for the rest of the field to catch up to them. A draw or a win over Gala would suffice to clinch top spot and put to bed any doubt.

Galatasaray meanwhile are sat second in Group B on four points, a full six points adrift of Real Madrid but dead level with FC Copenhagen and just a point ahead of Juventus. The three clubs crowded so at the bottom, the battle for second place is really heating up.

Galatasaray remain hopeful of going through to the knockout stages but they need a meaningful result in Madrid. The premium on such results across sportsbooks is steep though, at whopping +1100 to win outright and at + 500 on the draw.

Indeed the odds are stacked against Roberto Mancini’s side but there is scope for hope for Gala in this match in the form of big injury news coming from the Bernebeau: Cristiano Ronaldo may be missing this match due to a thigh problem – a happenstance if true is a rather big deal and could prove fortuitous for a Didier Drogba-inspired Gala. (As well, Sami Khedira and Coentrao remain sidelined.)

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Real Madrid vs. Galatasaray betting tips and picks:

Last season, the pair met in the quarterfinals and Real Madrid won the first leg 3-0 with relative ease at home. In the return leg, Galatasaray put forward a valiant effort with three successive goals (Eboue, Wesley and Drogba) to claw their way back into the tie before Ronaldo crushed their hopes entirely by scoring his third goal of the tie. That dominance continued into this season with Real Madrid disembowelling Galatasaray in the opening fixture. So just on the strength of those three results, Real Madrid’s massive -350 soccer odds are understandable. It also explains why Real Madrid to win outright is the popular soccer pick.

That said it’s important to note that on the back of that unmemorable thrashing in Istanbul, Galatasaray ushered in new coach Roberto Mancini  and they’ll most likely have an entirely different approach to this game.

Mancini has already had measured success with Gala both at home and in Europe. In fact he was able to lead his new team to a crucial 2:2 draw in Turin on just his second day on the job and against all the odds and quite hefty were they. And immediately afterwards, he carried Gala to a 3-1 victory over FC Copenhagen, marking the Turks first victory in the competition.

Granted on match day 4 Mancini was dealt his first defeat in Europe at the helm of the Turkish side when they faltered 1-0 in the reverse in Denmark. But that will serve to just inspire them to aim higher in Madrid perhaps. Let’s face it their backs are against the wall. They have to ‘Go Big or Go Home.’ And that pressure and in turn motivation lends their soccer odds value (in both categories the win or the draw), especially now that this would appear to be an open game without the services of Madrid’s biggest star Ronaldo. Sportsbooks make it out to be a long shot bet but they do have Didier Drogba and if there ever were a game-changing player he’s that.

Soccer Free Picks

Overwhelmingly, sports bettors will be backing Real Madrid to the win, and it makes sense even if they’ll be without Ronaldo. But why not be a bit adventurous in this game, if only to extract better angles for profit? Towards that end the draw at +500 at Bet365 is extremely appealing (better than the away win at +1100, which isn’t notionally impossible given the quality of Galatasaray’s bench but is a long shot bet). The neutral and best soccer pick of the lot however has to be the Over 2.5 at -250. The offensive options on both ends of the coin suggest this could be a high-scoring affair.

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