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UEFA Champions League Preview

It's Matchday 4 of the UEFA Champions League and there's loads of enticing odds on offer.
It's Matchday 4 of the UEFA Champions League and there's loads of enticing odds on offer.
Matchday 3 of the UEFA Champions League left us with plenty to smile about – the first part at least. Last week’s Tuesday Treble was tipped at 13/2, while Wednesday’s Double went out because of Barcelona’s lack of first half goals in their 4-0 victory over 10-man Manchester City. The first set of fixtures are done and we’ve got a better understanding now as to where each team will finish in their group. Spanish giants, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, have won all three of their games so far – along with English champions, Leicester City. This promises to be another cracking week of the UEFA Champions League; so let’s see where we can find those winners!

Tuesday 1 November

Group A

17/4 FC Basel | Draw 32/10 | PSG 11/20 (21:45)

Swiss runaway-leaders, FC Basel, host Paris Saint-Germain hoping to get their first victory of the campaign. Basel are 12 points ahead of the second-placed team in the Swiss Super League with just 12 games gone. In the Champions League, though, Urs Fischer’s side have managed just one point – that came against Ludogorets at home on Matchday 1. Although PSG haven’t been at their very best this season, Unai Emery’s side could never be ruled out. In the group stage, the Parisians have won two of their three matches, drawing the other to Arsenal. As much as I think PSG have got a good chance of winning this one; Both Teams To Score is priced up at 15/20 and offers a bit more in the betting front.

8/1 Ludogorets | 9/2 | Arsenal 3/10 (21:45)

Arsenal claimed top spot in Group A with a goal-difference of +8. Six of those goals came in their last match against their opponents, Ludogorets, after Mesut Ozil inspired the Gunners to a convincing 6-0 win, with the German bagging his first-ever hat-trick. Despite the loss, Ludogorets actually shocked me, keeping more possession than the Gunners in the game and could have found the net on three occasions if it wasn’t for David Ospina in the Arsenal goal. In the Bulgarian league, the Eagles have won all five of their home games, but suffered a 3-1 defeat against PSG on Matchday 2. Arsenal are currently on a run of 12 games undefeated, at the time of writing, and really shouldn’t suffer a setback here. Over 2.5 Goals offers more value at 5/10 and that’s where my money will be at – besides, we did see six goals the last time these sides met.

Group B

24/10 Besiktas | 24/10 | Napoli 21/20 (21:45)

Group B is looking wide open after Matchday 3. Besiktas claimed an emphatic 3-2 victory away to Napoli and will look to build on that performance. Vincent Aboubakar was the star of the show for the Turkish giants, bagging a brace to seal all three points. Much of Napoli’s downfall in recent weeks is through Arkadiusz Milik, who is still months away from returning from injury. A win for either side will see them claim top spot in the group. Besiktas are the only undefeated team in Group B, and are actually undefeated in their domestic league as well. At 24/10, Besiktas are well worth a punt to claim top spot with a win over Napoli.

13/20 Benfica | 26/10 | Dynamo Kyiv 17/4 (21:45)

Benfica claimed their first win of the UEFA Champions League campaign with an impressive 2-0 victory away to their opponents, Dynamo Kyiv. The win put the home side in a much better position heading into Matchday 4, and are now just two points behind leaders, Napoli. That said, things are not looking good for Dynamo. They’re five points adrift from the leaders and face a tricky fixture away to Benfica. Kyiv have lost both their home games so far, meaning third spot into the UEFA Europa League might be the best way out for them. For this game, Benfica at 13/20 is the tip.

Group C

19/10 Manchester City | 51/20 | Barcelona 5/4 (21:45)

Having drawn against Southampton on the weekend, Manchester City are now on a run of five games without a win in all competitions at the time of writing, including a 4-0 loss to their opponents, Barcelona, in the reverse fixture. The same form cannot be said for Barcelona, with the Catalans winning their last six matches in all competitions – at the time of writing. The only positive for the Citizens right now is the injury list that Barca have been hit with. Andres Iniesta, Arda Turan, Gerard Pique, Jasper Cillessen, Jordi Alba and Rafinha have all been hit with injuries, while Jeremy Mathieu will miss the clash after being shown red in the reverse game. Claudio Bravo also saw red, which will see Willy Caballero replace him in goal. Just like the first game, this match should produce goals! Both Teams To Score – First Half is tipped at 22/10.

5/10 Monchengladbach | 33/10 | Celtic 47/10 (21:45)

In Group C, many expected the likes of Manchester City and Barcelona to go clear ahead and leave Monchengladbach and Celtic behind. Gladbach refuse to let that happen, though, and are just a point behind Man City. A win for the Foals will see them go ahead of City, unless Pep Guardiola’s side do a job over Barca. Celtic are still down under the dirt with just a point and have conceded 12 goals in their three games played. Gladbach claimed a 2-0 away win over Celtic in the reverse fixture and should do it once more at Borussia-Park. The home win is tipped confidently at 5/10.

Group D

1/10 Atletico Madrid | 7/1 | FC Rostov 24/1 (21:45)

Atletico Madrid have been superb in the UEFA Champions League this season. Three wins, three clean sheets and just three goals scored in in the group so far means that Atleti sit firmly on top with a run of three 1-0 victories in a row. Rostov defended well in their clash against Atletico and forced the Spanish giants into a goalless break at half-time. It was only until the 62nd minute where Yannick Carrasco thwarted all Rostov fans. Diego Simeone’s side look destined for the next round of the tournament. Atletico to Win To Nil is tipped at 4/10.

52/10 PSV Eindhoven | 36/10 | Bay. Munich 9/20 (21:45)

PSV are now five points adrift of their opponents, Bayern Munich, with just three games to go in the group. However, if Bayern win this one, it’s all over for PSV who will only have third spot to fight for. The Bavarians claimed an emphatic 4-1 win over PSV and will need to be half as good in this tie in order to qualify. Carlo Ancelotti’s side claimed a much-needed 2-0 win on the weekend against Monchengladbach, while PSV also won, beating Sparta Rotterdam 1-0 at home. We’ve seen before that there’s goals in this match, with Over 2.5 Goals tipped at 5/10.

Wednesday 2 November

Group E

8/10 Monaco | 49/20 | CSKA Moscow 33/10 (21:45)

Group E leaders, Monaco, have been impressive this season and will look to remain undefeated in the group. They came from behind in their last fixture against CSKA Moscow through Bernardo Silva, who cancelled out Monaco loanee Lacina Traore’s opener. Despite earning a point against Monaco, CSKA are still rooted to the foot of the table and face an uphill battle at the Stade Louis II Stadium. Monaco are still undefeated on their turf and should claim maximum points here.

1/1 Tottenham | 49/20 | Bayer Leverkusen 51/20 (21:45)

Tottenham Hotspur are yet to impress me in the UEFA Champions League tournament this season. A win, loss and a draw sees the London club on just four points. In their last game against Bayer Leverkusen, Spurs were lucky to come away with a point with Hugo Lloris playing a major role in keeping the teams goalless. Leverkusen, despite being undefeated this season, are yet to pick up their first win of the campaign, drawing all three of their matches. It’s sort of a neutral home ground fixture with all Spurs’ home games being played at Wembley Stadium. Leverkusen really impressed me and I’m backing another draw between the sides.

Group F

4/10 Dortmund | 38/10 | Sporting CP 57/10 (21:45)

High-flying Borussia Dortmund sit on top of Group F, leading Real Madrid on goal-difference. Despite taking a 2-0 lead into the break against Sporting, it was always going to be a cagey affair, with Bruno Cesar pulling one back for the Portuguese side to end the game at 2-1 in favour of BVB. Sporting have given both Dortmund and Real Madrid a stern test in the group and will certainly be one of my favourites in the UEFA Europa League once the group stage is over. That said, I’m expecting a win for the German outfit here, which will see them seal their place in the next round. Dortmund to claim maximum points is the tip at 4/10.

17/1 Legia Warsaw | 15/2 | Real Madrid 1/10 (21:45)

Legia Warsaw found the net for the first time in the Champions League in their last encounter against Real Madrid – but even then they were battered by a 5-1 scoreline. Legia have been the whipping boys of Group F and will be lucky to even get to the Europa League. That said, Real Madrid should come out on top. Just like last week, Madrid offer very little in terms of betting. Over 2.5 Goals seems the most sensible bet at 1/4.

Group G

3/10 Porto | 17/4 | Club Brugge 15/2 (21:45)

Group G strugglers, Club Brugge, travel to Portugal to take on FC Porto in hope of their first win of the campaign. Porto came back deep into stoppage time courtesy of an Andre Silva penalty to end the game 2-1 in favour of the Dragons. The win put Porto level on points with FC Copenhagen and left Club Brugge trailing down in fourth spot – winless in all their games. The home win looks a certainty, but is priced up at 3/10. Rather back Porto on the Half-time/Full-time double at 17/20.

11/10 FC Copenhagen | 9/4 | Leicester City 49/20 (21:45)

FC Copenhagen were thwarted last time out as they suffered their first loss of the campaign to Leicester City. The English champions are one of just three teams to win all their matches so far in the tournament. Riyad Mahrez’s kung-fu kick was the difference as the Foxes claimed another Champions League victory, keeping yet another clean sheet. A win would seal qualification for Claudio Ranieri’s men. Copenhagen are riding high in the Danish league, winning six of their seven home games. Despite that, Leicester have transformed last season’s Premier League form into this year’s Champions League. The Foxes on the Win/Draw Double Chance at 13/20 will do for me.

Group H

1/5 Sevilla | 52/10 | Dinamo Zagreb 11/1 (21:45)

Sevilla have been absolutely ruthless since the appointment of Jorge Sampaoli in the beginning of the season. In the Champions League alone, they’re yet to concede, and have won back-to-back games since their goalless draw at Juventus. Last weekend, Sampaoli’s side pulled one over Atletico Madrid, humbling the Madrid-based side to their first defeat of the season. Dinamo Zagreb have been far from their best this campaign. Three defeats from as many games without scoring gives Ivaylo Petev’s side a slim chance in this game. Sevilla should win this one convincingly; back them on the (-1) Handicap at 6/10.

1/4 Juventus | 9/2 | Lyon 10/1 (21:45)

Juventus’ performance in their last match against Lyon showed just how class they are as a team. Mario Lemina was sent off for Juve in the 54th-minute, which meant the Old Lady had to fight for a goal with a player short for much of the second half. They did just that and managed to keep a clean sheet in the process, with Gianluigi Buffon saving Alexandre Lacazette’s penalty in the first half and pulling off a number of great saves to deny the French outfit. That said, Juve are just a class above and should claim maximum points. The home Win To Nil is tipped at 7/10.

Tuesday TREBLE @ 33/10
FC Basel vs PSG BTTS 15/20
Monchengladbach Win 5/10
Benfica Win 13/20

Wednesday TREBLE @ 3/1
Monaco Win 8/10
Dortmund Win 4/10
Sevilla Win (-1) Handicap 6/10

Written by Jesse Nagel