UEFA Champions League Final Picks: Classic Elite Offense vs. Elite Defense Showdown

Giorgio Chiellini

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 4:21 PM GMT

The UEFA Champions League Final is set to be played this Saturday from Millennium Stadium in a potentially rainy Cardiff as Serie A champions Juventus meet La Liga champions and defending UCL holders Real Madrid in probably the biggest sporting event in the Milky Way galaxy. 

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Always the biggest match on the yearly Soccer calendar, the UEFA Champions League Final will be held this Saturday at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales between European powerhouses Juventus from Italy’s Serie A and Real Madrid from Spain’s La Liga. Cristiano Ronaldo and Los Blancos look to become the first repeat champions in tournament history. Sportsbooks have made La Liga champions Real Madrid +160 favorites here with Juventus +190 and a Draw at +220 on the three-way line with Madrid PK -115 and Juve PK -105 on the Pick line. Depending on sportsbook, the total is either 2 Over -140 or 2½ Under -154.

 

Juventus FC

FIFA Ballon d’Or candidate GK Gianluigi Buffon and Juventus have only allowed 3 goals this entire UCL tournament (20 GF-3 GA)—two from Set Pieces (Porto, Sevilla) and the other to AS Monaco in the Semifinals Leg 2 at Juventus Stadium in Turin to teen sensation Kylian Mbappé. In this handicap, it’s important to remember that the Old Lady completely humbled another Spanish giant—Lionel Messi and Barcelona in the Quarterfinals, outscoring Barça 3-0 over the two Group Stage legs (3-0, 0-0), so this match is as close as it gets despite the general public being more familiar with Real Madrid. Bianconeri Manager Massimiliano Allegri and the Italian Serie A champions wrapped up their sixth Scudetto and Gonzalo Higuaín, Paulo Dybala and Juventus are unbeaten at home in its L23 UCL matches after disposing of ASM, 4-1 on aggregate (ASM 0-2 JUV, JUV 2-1 ASM). In Leg 2 against Monaco Allegri employed a Starting XI (4-4-2-1) of: GK Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alves; Khedira, Pjanic, Sandro; Dybala, Mandžukic, Higuaín with Alves and Mandžukic (pictured below) scoring for the Italian hosts.

Here against the attacking and prolific Madrid, expect the Old Lady to be somewhat physical early on, testing the referees with the Yellow Cards as they try to slow down, frustrate and get into the heads of the UEFA CL title holders. And quality shots on goal which came a bit more easily for Los Blancos should be much harder here against Buffon, Chiellini, Alves and the best lockdown Defense in Europe for probably the past five years. Allowing three goals heading into the Champions League Final in early June and giving up just 27 in Serie A play—only 9 at Home in 18 games—is something really special and the strength which has helped Juventus (WLWWW) get to this lofty point. If they can’t score, they can’t beat you.

 

Real Madrid

Manager Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid (-125 to win UCL Outright, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) can almost taste the history of being the first club in this prestigious and lucrative tournament’s history to repeat and with FIFA Ballon d’Or candidate Cristiano Ronaldo. In this tourney, Cristiano Ronaldo—who has 8 goals in his L4 UCL games—and Real Madrid are 8-3-1, 32 GF-17 GA) in matches averaging 4.08 gpg with none of its 12 matches seeing less than 3 goals. So do we get 3 (in 90 minutes) here? In Leg 2 at Atlético Madrid—Real Madrid’s only loss (ATL 2-1 RM 1) in the UCL so far—Madrid had a Starting XI (4-3-3-3) of: GK Navas; Danilo, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Casemiro, Modric, Isco; Kroos, Benzema, Ronaldo.

As esteemed beIN TV announcer and former Newcastle United player Ray Hudson has astutely pointed out, “magisterial” wingback Marcelo (above)—“Again he takes the game by the scruff of the neck and makes it his little yo-yo”—has been the real engine of the Madridistas (WLWWW) potent attack for at least the last two seasons with the 29-year-old Brazilian providing the heart, energy, pinpoint passes and even scoring goals for Los Blancos. Along with magician Modric, feeding the big dogs now up top in living legend Ronaldo (10 goals 2016/17 UCL), Karim Benzema, Cardiff-born Gareth Bale (2 Goals, recovering from Calf injury), Álvaro Morata (3 goals), Isco and Toni Kroos (1 goal) who have scored a combined 23 goals already in this tournament of all tournaments. 

 

Cardiff Weather Forecast, Conclusions, Best Betting Approaches

TWC forecast for Cardiff, Wales on Saturday night is currently calling for Mostly Cloudy conditions with a passing shower possible late, a Low of 51° with Wind gusts to 14 mph. A look at the Final (90-minutes) scorelines from the L10 UCL Finals reveals (RM 1-1 AM, BAR 3-JUVE 1, RM 1-1 AM, BM 2-1 BD, CFC 1-1 BM, BAR 3-1 MUFC, INTER 2-0 BM, BAR 2-0 MUFC, MUFC 1-1 CFC, INTER 2-1 LIV) reveals exactly 2 goals scored in regulation time a whopping six times and in 6 of the L9 UEFA Champions League Finals with 4 goals being the peak in the last decade. If you’ve watched Madrid of late—in league play or here in the Champions League—you know that they are prone to giving up goals and always have a mindset it can outscore the opponents with its prolific attack.

And no club in Europe scores more late goals—or is confident and/or expectant to do so—like CR7 and this bunch with the frequent injection of 25-year-old AMF Isco into the mix. So, looking for a 2 in the marketplace and betting the Over seems like the best overall pick as there should be (at least) two tallies in the 90 minutes of regular play with both sides likely getting (at least one) in this limelight spot (Both Teams To Score “Yes” -105, William Hill) with CR7 (+110 Anytime Goalscorer, at Bet365) and Mario Mandžukic the likeliest candidates to score for their proud clubs. 

As far as attacking a Side, with CR7 intent on repeating as UCL champs and already having La Liga under his 32-year-old Portuguese belt and looking at potentially winning the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia later this month, it seems this is a man intent on trying to show the everyone he is currently the best footballer on the planet, so backing Real Madrid on the in the PK market to avoid a potential Draw after 90 minutes seems the best advice here (Real Madrid PK -115, BetDSI) in yet another big contest which could potentially need more than Regulation Time and Added Extra Time although La Liga reps Madrid could very well find a way to put together back-to-back goals and etch its name into the history books in Wales.

Predicted Final Score: Juventus 1 Real Madrid 2Free Soccer Picks: Over 2 -140, Real Madrid PK -115Best Line Offered: at BookMaker

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