This Season: 57-51-22 (+5.2 Units)
Matchweek 9: 4-4-2 (-0.5 Units)
Pretty average week but I’ll take it after an international break. The soccer train keeps rolling so let’s hop aboard and find some value in the Champions League this week.
Tuesday, October 22nd
12:55 pm EST
Dinamo Zagreb @ Shakhtar Donetsk – This one is tough to call, as I was hoping Vegas would keep this at a pickem so I could take Shakhtar. Instead they have them as juiced favorites and their price has even fallen since they opened at -160, only to get bet down to -130. I think they’re being overvalued here and I’ll gladly take Zagreb as well-priced underdogs in a game where both teams need points. I can see the Croatian side keeping this one closer to a draw. Dinamo Zagreb +0.5 (+115).
Bayer Leverkusen @ Atletico Madrid (TV: TNT) – Vegas loves putting Atletico as 1-goal favorites. They’re a team that usually wins, but they almost always keep it close. The squares (sometimes me), bet Atletico because we know they’re almost always the better team. They’re 3-4-4 (Win-Loss-Push) against the spread this season but are 1-4-1 against the spread as 1-goal favorites. Leverkusen haven’t been great so far but to me that doesn’t even matter. I’m not going to fall into Atletico’s trap again here so I’ll take the underdogs, expecting another 1-0 masterclass from Simeone’s boys. Bayer Leverkusen +1 (-125).
3:00 pm EST
PSG @ Club Brugge – PSG are still battling injuries but there are rumors that Mbappe and Cavani, the latter who has been out for two months, will be back. PSG manager Thomas Tuchel did say they aren’t 90-minute match fit yet though so I doubt we’ll see them start. They’ll face a Brugge team who are undefeated on the season and even drew Real Madrid three weeks ago, but I think Vegas is overvaluing them here. PSG were more than fine while a few of their stars were out injured and now that they’re returning them, the Parisians are even stronger. Many people think this could be a lookahead game since they play Marseille on Sunday, but I think PSG will instead focus on this and keep their momentum going. Plain and simple, they’re much better than this team and I think this should be at least a spread of 1.5. PSG -1 (-105).
Real Madrid @ Galatasaray – This is the last match Madrid wanted in this group to be their must-win match but yet here we are. Sitting in last place in the group, Real Madrid now have to go to one of the most hostile environments in the world and get a win. Madrid have one win away from home this season and are coming off of a loss at Mallorca this past weekend. They’re still battling injuries (Bale, Modric and Vasquez all are out), are in the midst of a goalkeeper crisis and they certainly don’t have the form to make me confident in picking them. I’m going to take the home dogs, hoping they can stifle Madrid long enough to keep it within a goal. Galatasaray +1 (-125).
Bayern Munich @ Olympiacos – Since Bayern’s 7-2 win at Spurs, they’ve slowed down a bit with a loss at home to Hoffenheim and a draw at Augsburg this past weekend. But they’ve been balancing their lineups and they have no tough matches ahead, meaning they’ll have a full squad for this game where they can bascially seal their ticket to the Round of 16. Olympiacos are good enough to run with some quality teams and even caused Spurs trouble in the first matchweek, but they can’t match up with this Bayern lineup. I think Bayern stick their dagger into Group B and flex their muscles here as they normally do in the Champions League group stage. Bayern Munich -1.5 (+105).
Red Star Belgrade @ Tottenham – Spurs are falling apart. At this point there’s no other way of going about it. In the last month they’re 1-3-3 (win-draw-loss) straight up in all competitions and have only covered the spread once. Their last three matches they’ve had a 7-2 loss to Bayern at home, a 3-0 loss at Brighton and a 1-1 draw at home to the worst team in the Premier League, Watford. Red Star meanwhile can stay in the fight for the round of 16 with a result here and a Bayern win. I picked Spurs this weekend thinking they’d start to turn it around but I’m not going to make that mistake again. I’m fading Spurs until they prove that they can play again. Red Star Belgrade +1.5 (-105).
Atalanta @ Manchester City (TV: TNT) – This weekend Man City got back two key players in Kevin De Bruyne and John Stones, and their mojo came back with them. They went to Crystal Palace and got what many people said was a season-saving win. But honestly City haven’t been bad the last month or so. They’ve gone 6-1 with a +18 goal differential, and that was through some serious injury trouble. Atalanta meanwhile have been inconsistent and only have one really solid result, an away win at Roma a month ago. This past weekend they blew a 3-0 lead to Lazio and ended up drawing them 3-3. They’ve also only kept one clean sheet this season and their other away match in the Champions League was a 4-0 loss at Zagreb. I think City can pick apart this defense from the start and end this one by halftime. Manchester City -2 (110).
Lokomotiv Moscow @ Juventus – There isn’t too much analysis to do here other than the fact that Juventus are the far superior team. They’re creating a ton of chances, they’re controlling matches, they’ve now won 6 straight games and they’re 5-0 at home. They need a win to pull away from Moscow in the group and challenge Atletico who are slightly above them atop the group. I think Juventus will run away with this one. Juventus -2 (+105).
That’s all for Tuesday’s Champions League Group Stage preview! Good luck to everyone!
Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.