After a bad run, I found myself some stability in the first Champions League matchday.
This Season: 27-27-8 (+1.0 Units)
UCL Matchday 1: 4-3-1 (+0.9 Units)
As a recap, here are the scores from Tuesday’s matchday.
Some big results are Napoli’s win at home to Liverpool, Salzburg’s big win to Genk, Chelsea’s home loss to Valencia and Inter’s shocking draw at home to Slavia Prague.
Wednesday, September 18th
12:55 pm EST
Galatasaray @ Club Brugge – Galatasaray are a better team on paper than Brugge but the Belgians seem to be playing well to start the season. But to me this isn’t a game that really should have a favorite and giving Brugge the favorite title makes me worried for them. I like Galatasaray who have a much stronger attack with Falcao, Babel, Seri, Nzonzi and more. I’ll take the dogs. Galatasaray +0.5 (+105).
Tottenham @ Olympiacos (TV: TNT) – Spurs will travel to Greece for their Champions League opener. It’s no surprise Vegas is keeping this one tight as Olympiacos aren’t an easy opponent and Spurs have had history of poor group stage performance. Last year they went 0-2-1 away from home in the group and had trouble in the one game they should have won, at PSV. I am actually going to go contrarian here and fade Spurs who I think will struggle against a stout Olympiacos defense. They’ve allowed 1 goal in their first eight competitive matches this season and are 8-0, five of which were Champions League qualification matches Olympiacos +0.5 (–105).
3:00 pm EST
Real Madrid @ PSG (TV: TNT) – Yeah this one is special. Madrid is obviously looking to get back to European dominance while PSG are hoping this could be their year to finally reach the pinnacle. But it will be hard for PSG in this match without Mbappe, Neymar, Draxler and Cavani. Yes, Icardi will be up top which is better than replacements in the past, but it’s still a major change for the Parisians. PSG isn’t the only club nursing injuries though, as Madrid will be without Marcelo, Isco, Modric and Ramos. I like Madrid as underdogs here since they’re more equipped to handle those absentees. I’ll take the points. Real Madrid +0.5 (-140).
Red Star Belgrade @ Bayern Munich – This one is interesting. Bayern are known for blowing out minnows at home in the Champions League and Red Star have been known for holding some giants to tighter scorelines, but at home and not away. They’re also 0-4-1 in their last five Champions League qualifier matches, showing that they barely squeaked by some average opponents. I think Bayern get on the board early here and don’t look back. Bayern Munich -3 (-105).
Atalanta @ Dinamo Zagreb – Atalanta aren’t off to the start that many expected after their magical season last year. They’ve lost to Torino at home and barely got past Genoa and SPAL. But this is a team who just got into the Champions League for the first time in their history and on that alone I think they’ll be fired up for this one. I’ll take them as slight favorites here. Atalanta -0.5 (+110).
Manchester City @ Shakhtar Donetsk – These two will face off in the group stage for the third straight season with City winning three of the four. City on paper are a team who should run away with this one but are now left with one healthy regular defender in Nicolas Otamendi, one who you could say arguably cost them the match in their loss to Norwich on Saturday. But I think City responds to that upset well here and restores order with a big win. With the lack of help from the back, expect the team to focus on getting an early lead and piling on as many goals as possible. Manchester City -1.5 (+105).
Juventus @ Atletico Madrid – Another huge matchup in Matchday 2 features Juve traveling to Madrid. These two faced off last year in the Round of 16 with a Ronaldo hat trick for Juve in the second leg being the difference. Atletico hasn’t had the start from the international break that they would have hoped though, with a 2-0 loss at Real Sociedad. Adding to that, they’ve only won by 1 goal in their other 3 matches which came against Getafe, Leganes and Eibar. Juve are also in similar form with a draw this past weekend at Fiorentina and 1 goal wins against Napoli and at Parma. So naturally, this one lies at a pickem but with Atletico receiving some heavy juice. I expect this one to be tight and low scoring but I like Juve as a squad overall. I’m going to take two bets here, the draw at (+200) and Juventus pickem at (+140). This limits an Atletico outright win as my only liability. Juventus Pickem (+140) and Draw (+200).
Lokomotiv Moscow @ Bayer Leverkusen – This one is a bit tough as Leverkusen would normally be a solid pick here but their form recently hasn’t been ideal. They got blown out by Dortmund over the weekend and currently sit 8th in the Bundesliga with a -1 GD. Moscow meanwhile are always going to be one of the top teams from Russia and their only hiccups in the league this year were against two of the top teams in their league, Rostov and CSKA Moscow. But historically Russian teams don’t do well travelling west going 1-2-13 in the Champions League in Germany. I’m going to take Leverkusen at home here. Bayer Leverkusen -1.5 (-110).
BOL (Best of Luck) to everyone who is riding! Don’t forget to follow along on Twitter!
Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.