Champions League Betting Preview: 2nd Leg Match-ups This Week
As spring emerges and we move deeper into the Champions League, the games become more important. Teams from minor European leagues disappear at this stage of the competition, leading to match-ups between giants of European football.
There are four games on tap this week for the Champions League. On Tuesday, Inter Milan and Porto face off in Portugal, and Manchester City welcomes RB Leipzig to the Etihad. These games are tied, or one team has a one-goal advantage.
On Wednesday, Eintracht Frankfurt and Napoli face off in Napoli, and Real Madrid welcomes Liverpool to the Bernabeu in Madrid. These games have teams with at least a two-goal advantage in the aggregate, so there’s less chance of surprise here.
After these match-ups, the draw for the Champions League quarterfinals will be on Friday, March 17. Let’s dig into this week’s match-ups and find some value for those wagering this week.
Tuesday Matches: The Tense Matches
When Inter Milan and Porto face off in Portugal this week, Inter Milan will have a 1-0 advantage in the aggregate after a late goal by Inter striker Romalu Lukaku. The win in Milan was a mostly dull affair and not the finest example of flowing football.
The challenge for Inter this week is that Porto tends to score a lot more when they’re at home. Unfortunately, they’ll have to do it with Otavio, one of their attacking midfielders. Otavio drew his second yellow card in the first leg of the match-up.
Inter have won three of their last five match-ups against Porto but have historically struggled on the road in Portugal. Inter has won only one of their previous eight matches away from Portuguese teams in UEFA play. Inter will look to come out and park the bus against Porto, so bets on a clean sheet against Porto are appealing. Betting Porto to win sits at around +200 at most sportsbooks.
In the other Tuesday match, Manchester City and RB Leipzig sit tied on the aggregate as the location moves to the Etihad. The general wisdom is that this game is City’s to lose. Given their checkered history around the Champions League, Pep Guardiola will look to his stud striker Erling Haaland to continue his dominance and put this out of reach for Leipzig.
For those interested in a contrarian play, betting Timo Werner to score could be combined with a straight money line bet on Leipzig to win. Every time Timo Werner has scored in a Bundesliga match, Leipzig has won. It would be interesting to see if this holds in the Champions League.
Wednesday Matches: Long-Shot Request Day
Wednesday’s match-ups seem all but assured. While we all remember that magical second-leg comeback by Liverpool against Barcelona a few years back, matches like that don’t happen often.
The match-up between Eintracht Frankfurt and Napoli in Napoli will have a raucous Napoli home crowd to accompany their 2-0 lead. Napoli went on to a pretty easy 2-0 victory in the first leg. Frankfort was out of sorts from the start of the match. Look for Napoli to win, and keep a clean sheet here.
Liverpool’s struggles continue across all competitions. Expect their issues getting up for games to continue when they head to Madrid this week. Bettors here should smash the Real Madrid money line at home and look at the anytime goal scorer prop for Karim Benzema here. Benzema scored twice against Liverpool in the first leg. He should be able to add to that total in this match-up.
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