How often do we get to say that every single knockout tie is still alive coming into the second leg in the Champions League?
Already the pinnacle of the club game in world football, this week particularly will tell a tale or two – with the matches very much in the balance – there’s a few different betting angles to whet your appetite.
Juventus v Atletico Madrid: Juventus To Win With both Teams to Score – 10/3
There are a few certainties in life: death, taxes, your Cheltenham Festival NAP turning up lame the night before the race – and Cristiano Ronaldo producing when it seems least likely.
Atleti come into this tie as firm favourites to qualify for the next round, with ‘The Old Lady’ a firm 5/2 to make it through to the last eight. They hold a two-goal advantage going to Turin and the game might set up to be a blockbuster in terms of progression, but it also suits Atleti to nab a goal of their own, when before, they would have sat in and hoped to weather the storm.
Juventus will knock on the door early on, but they’re unlikely to break down Atleti twice before the hour mark. This is where knockout football really benefits this type of bet.
We all know a Ronaldo-led Juve will net and just about come out on top given their home advantage, but there’ll be a 20-minute spell where the visitors will be gifted four or five gilt-edged chances.
Manchester City v Schalke 04: Both Teams to Score – 11/10
Here, do you see the above? Yeah, that – except easier money.
The thing about Manchester City is that teams in the Premier League are happy to gift them 70% of the ball. They’re never actually tested and this is the biggest safeguard of Pep’s reputation there is.
Yes, their goalkeeper has good feet and bad tattoos, but their back four is generally woeful and when asked questions, they cough up easy goals – especially from set pieces – where they’re particularly weak.
As shown in the first leg, they have enough threat to strike a few times, and Man City always score at home.
Barcelona v Lyon: Lionel Messi to score anytime – 1/3
It’s hard to look for a betting angle in this, given that Lyon haven’t shown they can score against Barcelona, or even muster the courage to try.
If you’ve wanted to see what a team begging for penalties from the first whistle looks like – this is it.
The 1/7 on Barcelona to qualify is a bit skinny given the potential for a fluke away goal from a set piece and then a defence that would be more conservative than your local MP. So we turn to the GOAT, and his 1/3 about scoring may look thin on the face, but you have to remember that in times of need, he always produces.
Not to mention that they’ll spend half the game twenty yards from the Lyon goal, and a penalty given the quick feet of the Barca players is more likely than not.
* All prices correct at time of posting