Champions League Group Stage Matchday 1

Well I learned my lesson this past weekend. Don’t make your picks poolside on vacation, with a couple of drinks in your system. An absolutely sluggish week from me results in a 1-7-2 tally to bring all my hard work this season back to where I started.

This Season: 23-24-7 (+0.1 Units)
Matchweek 5: 1-7-2 (-6.7 Units)

I officially have a negative overall record for the first time in the history of the blog (2+ years) but my units are hanging on by a THREAD thanks to a few 2 Unit and +250 plays.

Luckily for all of us though, the Champions League has returned and we have a few awesome matches on Tuesday. I’ll give you my picks as well as some quick previews.

Tuesday, September 17th
12:55 pm EST

Slavia Prague @ Inter Milan (TV: TNT) – There is a clear talent disparity here. Inter are playing brilliantly as they top the table in Serie A and yes, they haven’t played anyone particularly challenging, but this was an Inter team that constantly disappointed fans over the last few years. Adding to that, Prague’s away form in their league hasn’t been up to par and those matches have been against clubs I can guarantee you have never heard of. Inter Milan -1 (+105).

Zenit St. Petersburg @ Lyon – Lyon tend to perform well in the Champions League, most notably against Man City last season. Although I think this has a big chance to push, I like Lyon to win here so I’ll take them on the 1-goal line since there’s some favorable odds. Lyon -1 (+115).

3:00 pm EST

Liverpool @ Napoli (TV: TNT) – Liverpool obviously won the whole thing last year and return as favorites for this year. They’re a popular bet today with positive odds on the moneyline but I love Napoli as home dogs here. Their only loss this season was away to Juventus due to a last second own goal, they’re scoring goals and have proved over the years that the San Paolo is a fortress. In fact, last season when these two teams met in the Group Stage, Napoli won outright 1-0. I’ll take the Italians as home underdogs here even with the juice. Napoli +0.5 (-140).

Genk @ RB Salzburg – Salzburg are flying high in the Austrian Bundesliga under American manager Jesse Marsch, going 7-0-0 with a +28 goal differential. They play a Genk side who haven’t started well domestically at all and I can’t bring myself to pick them. I like Salzburg in a possible big win for the Austrians. RB Salzburg -1.5 (+110).

FC Barcelona @ Borussia Dortmund – Messi likely won’t be starting For Barca but I don’t care. Yes, Dortmund have started well this season but any time you can get Barca on a pickem line in any game, you take them. They’re scoring goals for fun and I think the pickem line has a ton of upside. FC Barcelona Pickem (-120).

RB Leipzig @ Benfica – Leipzig continue to impress and grow domestically in Germany. Now their challenge is to perform in Europe and show that this club has made one of the more impressive rises in European soccer (ethically or not). This team is coming off of a draw to Bayern and prior wins to Gladbach and Frankfurt. I think they’re ready to make their European statement here and hVe value, much like Barca, on the Pickem line. RB Leipzig Pickem (-110).

Lille @ Ajax – The darlings of last season come back but this time without a few of their breakout young stars. BUT they’ll still be returning at least 6-7 starters for this campaign and they already had to go through the gauntlet of qualifying to get here. They face a Lille team who have dropped off significantly from last season. Their two away matches this season in Ligue 1 have been losses to teams who will finish lower on the table and have only beaten one team who sit in the top 10 through the first five matches. I’ll take the Dutch here at home where they’ve been really tough to beat. Ajax -1 (-130).

Valencia @ Chelsea – Chelsea return to the Champions League after a one season hiatus and face a Valencia team who will be disappointed with their start so far. Chelsea meanwhile are starting to play solid footy with a big 5-2 win over Wolves AT the Molineux. Since their 4-0 loss to United, they’re undefeated and starting to figure things out a bit. I expect them to get off to a good start at home here against a Valencia team who have one win through four matches in La Liga. Chelsea -0.5 (-120).

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.

Twitter: @nicodegallo 

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