Real Madrid v Viktoria Plzen: Alternative Handicap Real Madrid -2 – 4/6
With the run of form they’re in, Real Madrid could be thinking they need a return of some Galacticos, but instead of David Beckham on Tuesday night they’ll have to make do with Viktoria (ba-dum-tish).
Julen Lopetegui is under immense pressure already as goals have dried up for his new side. They’re without a win in five, with four defeats and just one goal coming in that span.
It includes a 1-0 away defeat in Moscow to CSKA. They couldn’t even score on Igor Akinfeev, that’s how bad it’s been!
Relief is on the horizon with Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema likely to return to the starting line-up here, and Plzen have the worst defensive record in all the groups through two games, having lost 5-0 to Roma and drawn 2-2 with CSKA.
Madrid are expected to burst open the floodgates at the Bernabeu. The handicap line at -3 is around 7/4, which looks a bit too steep to us given their recent goal woes, but -2 at 4/6 looks reasonable on the Alternative Handicap.
Man United v Juventus: Over 2.5 goals – 11/10
Speaking of managers under pressure, Jose Mourinho has enjoyed a brief respite from his troubles with a stirring 3-2 comeback at Old Trafford versus Newcastle followed by a creditable 2-2 draw at his old stomping ground of Stamford Bridge.
Those results have temporarily wiped the memory of Valencia’s visit to Old Trafford from some minds. United played out a painful 0-0 draw in a game that seemed to have pushed the Portuguese to the brink before the Geordie fightback.
That second half saw the Red Devils attack more, and Saturday’s away day at Chelsea was marked by a more daring starting eleven, so it looks like the embattled one has let the shackles off and that points to more goals for United – and their opponents.
Juventus make their first trip to Old Trafford in 15 years with a favoured son of Manchester in their ranks. Ronaldo’s scored before against his old team and the Biacnoneri will surely fancy their chances of taking hold of this group with a win here. They’re 13/10 favourites on the Win-Draw-Win market.
But the recent openness, and United’s generally shaky defence, makes over 2.5 goals at 11/10 appeal most.
Shakhtar Donetsk v Man City – Yaroslav Rakitskiy To Be Booked: 11/4
Guardiola’s men come bouncing into this after battering Burnley on Saturday, and their late win away at Hoffenheim in the previous round of UCL fixtures has gone some way to erasing their opening night embarrassment at home to Lyon.
Shakhtar are still coping with staging their home games in Kharkiv rather than the Donbass arena, but the Ukrainian’s 2-2 draw in their opener against the German side in the group suggests City should expect to pick up three points all the same.
They’re 4/11 to do so.
Of more appeal for our purposes is Yaroslav Rakitskiy in the To be Booked market at 11/4. The centre half has been carded in five of his last six games for club and country, and City’s intricate play could have him in the ref’s sights again.
*All odds correct at time of posting