MIDWEEK BETTING PREVIEW – MCB’s Champions League Guide

The Champions League returns with four games this week. Complete with the odds from your club’s betting service, we take a glance at all of them.

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BAYER LEVERKUSEN v ATLETICO MADRID

Tuesday, 7.45pm

Leverkusen (12/5) saw off Tottenham and SCKA Sofia to reach the last 16, finishing second in the group to Monaco. Two wins and four draws means they are unbeaten in this competition. One of the more organised teams, Roger Schmidt’s side have shown plenty of resilience, without setting the world alight. The issue for us is a lack of goals and modest league form. They are currently mid-table in the German Bundesliga and striker Javier Hernandez is in fair goalscoring form, stop him and you effectively stop Leverkusen.

Atletico (11/8) come into this having topped Group D with five wins from six and having the likes of Bayern Munich behind them. Having lost two Champions League finals in three years, there is a deep determination to prove they can go the distance and while Diego Simeone has not been able to bring in reinforcements because of a transfer ban, the Spaniards are a side who are always capable of scoring.

Antoine Griezmann (above), reportedly on his way to Manchester United in the summer, Fernando Torres, Yannick Ferreira Carrasco and Kevin Gameiro will give any side fits in and around the penalty area. There are no obvious defensive weaknesses, so we expect them to go through, winning both legs.

VERDICT: BAYER LEVERKUSEN 0 ATLETICO MADRID 1 @ 11/2

BEST BET: UNDER 2.5 GOALS @ 8/15

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MANCHESTER CITY v MONACO

Tuesday 7:45pm

Manchester City’s (8/13) defence continues to look shaky, although John Stones is beginning to blossom after a shaky start to his City career. That is great news for Pep Guardiola and England. City’s home form was a strength in qualifying for the last 16, seeing off Borussia Monchengladbach and Celtic, which saw a second-place finish behind Barcelona in Group C.

We do have concerns that Sergio Aguero (above) is unhappy at being replaced by the now-injured Gabriel Jesus, and while you can look at it as a blessing that he will be a hungry player anxious to prove a point, the flip side is his ego has been damaged and he feels disrespected. City look better with Yaya Toure in the starting line-up and in Kevin de Bruyne, they have a world-class midfielder who, for our money, has been consistently the best player in the Premier League since his arrival.

Monaco (17/4) arrive in form and are pushing for a first French title since 2000. Leonardo Jardim’s side were impressive in not only winning Group E (ahead of Beyer Leverkusen and Tottenham), they were also a delight to watch.

The resurgence of Radamel Falcao has been key to their success. He has scored more goals this season than in the last three seasons combined, so the Colombian is a man to be feared. It should be a really interesting battle between Stones and him, and it would not be a surprise should he get on the scoresheet in the first leg.

We see this as being a tight affair, but City’s home form should give them a cushion for the second leg on March 15.

VERDICT: MANCHESTER CITY 2 MONACO 1 @ 7/1

BEST BET: BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE @ 4/6

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PORTO v JUVENTUS

Wednesday 7:45pm

Porto (5/2) are a shadow of the side that won this competition under Jose Mourinho in 2004. They finished runners-up in the group behind Leicester and lack experience, which has shown in qualifying. The youngest squad in the Champions League have done well domestically, however, losing just twice all season, so they are no pushovers.

Keep an eye out for striker Andre Silva (above) – the Portuguese international has been in flying form recently and must go on the shortlist of players to score at any time.

It has been relatively plain sailing for Juventus (5/4) in Serie A. The Italians are well placed to follow up last season’s title – their fifth consecutive – and they have been excellent away from home in this competition, winning all three qualifying games on the road. The Bianconeri have the ability to soak up pressure and play on the break, thanks to experienced defenders who have a fabulous last-line of defence in keeper Gianluigi Buffon.

What they have lost in Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal, they have made up for in work-rate and guile in the midfield. Up front, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala have formed a formidable partnership. We don’t expect Juventus to slip up.

VERDICT: PORTO 0 JUVENTUS 2 @ 8/1

BEST BET: JUVENTUS TO WIN @ 5/4

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SEVILLA FC v LEICESTER CITY

Wednesday 7:45pm

Out of the FA Cup and in danger of being relegated, Leicester City (15/2) are in turmoil. The Foxes have been a different animal in the Champions League, though, convincingly progressing to the knockout stage after winning four and drawing one of their opening five matches. Yes, they were thumped 5-0 at Porto, but that was with a second-string team.

Claudio Ranieri (above) is unlikely to employ the same tactics here, but quite what the tactics have been defensively this season is open to argument. They simply do not close down quickly enough and the void left by the departure of N’Golo Kante to Chelsea has been as wide as the Grand Canyon. It is clear he made the team tick, produced his teammates to give that little bit extra which lifted them to the title. Confidence is low and it will be a surprise should they come away with anything in this first-leg tie.

Sevilla (2/5) remain the hunt for the Spanish title and have plenty of experience of Europe, having won the Europa League for the past three seasons. Jorge Sampaoli’s side progressed to the last 16 behind Juventus and they will fancy their chances of building a healthy first-leg lead. Some would say a 2/5 shot does not represent value – in this case we would argue it does.

VERDICT: SEVILLA FC 4 LEICESTER CITY 1 @ 20/1

BEST BET: OVER 2.5 GOALS @ 3/4


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WEEKEND BETTING GUIDE: FIVE TOP TIPS

The final weekend before Christmas is upon us – and it is packed with sporting action!

Below, we analyse the weekend’s big action, including two Premier League derbies and a colossal clash in Italy’s top division.

As always, be sure to share your opinions with us over on the @MyClubBetting twitter page…

CRYSTAL PALACE v CHELSEA

Saturday – 12:30

Despite two memorable victories against Chelsea in recent years, Crystal Palace have a wretched record against Saturday’s opponents.

Palace have lost nine of their last 13 games against Chelsea, conceding on 26 occasions during that period.

When it comes to the current Premier League campaign, Chelsea have been formidable away from home, dropping points on just two occasions – conceding just seven times.

That won’t be music to the ears of Palace fans, who have watched their side ship 12 league goals at Selhurst Park this season. In fact, the Eagles are the third worst performing side in Premier League home games this season, taking just seven points from a possible 27.

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Finding the net hasn’t been a problem for either site this season. Between them, the sides have netted over 60 league goals so far.

It is also worth noting that Palace and Chelsea shared six goals during their two league meetings last season.

Chelsea won comfortably at Stamford Bridge last season, and we fancy them to win a high scoring encounter at Selhurst Park.

BEST BET: CHELSEA WIN & OVER 2.5 GOALS @ 6/5

JUVENTUS v ROMA

Saturday – 19:45

Juventus and Roma are the two of the strongest teams in Italy at this present moment – occupying first and second place respectively.

Roma have been the most exciting side in Serie A this season and are the highest scoring side in the division with 36 goals so far.

Much of this has been down to former Premier League players, Edin Dzeko and Mohamed Salah who have shared 20 Serie A goals so far this season.

Juventus lost Paul Pogba in the summer and used the funds raised to bring in Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli.

While Higuain has netted on nine occasions in the league since joining Juve, he seems to struggle when strike partner and fellow countryman Paulo Dybala isn’t present. Dybala missed five Serie A games through injury recently, in which time Higuain found the net on just one occasion.

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Games between these two sides are often fiery encounters, with five red cards being shown in the last four meetings.

Juventus have had the better of recent meetings, winning ten of their last 13 against Roma – losing just three times during that period.

We are going for a narrow home win here.

BEST BET: JUVENTUS TO WIN @ 8/11

BOURNEMOUTH v SOUTHAMPTON

Sunday – 13:30

These two South Coast rivals have had fairly similar seasons. Southampton currently site just one place above Bournemouth in the Premier League, with both sides taking 21 points from their 16 games.

Eddie Howe and Claude Puel both like to focus on ball retention – guarding against any route one tactics unless absolutely necessary.

While this may be pleasing on the eye against lesser talented opposition, there is every chance that their similarity in style could lead to a flat game on Sunday.

Bournemouth won 2-0 in this fixture last season, however their record against Southampton isn’t too great.

In fact, prior to that victory, the Cherries had lost four straight games against their South Coast rivals, scoring on just one occasion.

Southampton have struggled for goals on the road this season, scoring just six times in their eight away league games.

Bournemouth aren’t exactly free scoring either. Take away their 6-1 win over a weakened Hull side and the Cherries have scored on just 16 occasions all season.

Everything points to a low scoring draw on Sunday afternoon.

BEST BET: UNDER 2.5 GOALS @ 6/10

MAN CITY v ARSENAL

Saturday – 16:00

Whenever Manchester City and Arsenal meet, goals are always on the agenda.

In fact, the two sides have shared a staggering 27 goals in their last seven meetings – that’s an average of 3.8 goals per game.

We expect Sunday afternoon to be no different, particularly with Pep Guardiola and Arsene Wenger in the two dugouts.

Guardiola and Wenger are among the two most attack minded coaches in world football and both have a reputation of throwing caution to the wind in big games such as this.

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This is proven when you look at this season’s stats. Manchester City and Arsenal are both among the highest scoring clubs in the Premier League this season – netting on 71 occasions between them.

Arsenal’s recent away record against Man City makes for pretty decent reading. The Gunners have taken four points from their last two trips to the Etihad, scoring four times during those ties.

Expect to see the net bulging on numerous occasions come Sunday afternoon.

BEST BET: BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE @ 8/15

EVERTON v LIVERPOOL

Monday – 20:00

Everton have had a torrid time of late, winning just one of their last ten league games. That said, much of this has been down to their woes away from home – in fact, their home form has been extremely impressive.

The Toffees haven’t lost at home since March and will be buoyed after their home victory against Arsenal at Goodison Park on Tuesday night.

Liverpool have fallen off the pace in recent weeks, winning just two of their last five Premier League games.

To say that Everton have a bad recent record against Liverpool would be a scandalous understatement.

The Blues are without a win in any of their last 12 Merseyside derbies, with their last victory coming over six years ago.

However, Liverpool have only won on five occasions during that time, meaning the most popular recent result between these sides has been the draw.

In fact, three of the last four games between the sides have ended level.

We are sticking with trend this weekend and going for a draw.

BEST BET: THE DRAW @ 12/5

FEELING LUCKY?

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Can the Old Lady of Turin upset Real Madrid? Your Champions League betting guide

We have reached the semi-finals of the Champions League and there are two cracking ties in prospect this week.

The My Club Betting prognosticators cast their eyes over the first match and pick out a trio of bets to whet your appetite…

Remember, you can get your club, however large or small, its own tailor-made betting service – FREE – and start benefiting now! See myclubbetting.com for details.

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Juve key: Carlos Tevez

JUVENTUS v REAL MADRID

Let’s keep this simple: If you are looking for a bet on tonight’s Champions League semi-final, you are spoilt for choice.

Historically, we are looking at a trend that favours the hosts, who have played Real Madrid seven times. Juventus have won five of those, drawn one and lost one.

Real do not like travelling to Italy. They have failed to win any of their last seven matches on Italian soil, and while they have not conceded an away goal in 444 minutes in Europe, the feeling is the Old Lady of Turin will take a slender lead to the Santiago Bernabéu for the second leg next week.

Juventus are 2.82 to win and given they have played 17 times in Europe in their new stadium and have lost just once (winning 10 matches and drawing six), that seems a fair price to us.

BET: Juventus to win @ 2.82

In those 17 matches at the redeveloped ground, Juventus have conceded 14 goals and the overall standard of opposition has been at a level lower than Real Madrid.

Juventus have conceded at least one goal in nine of those matches, which suggests they are slightly less than even money to concede.

BET: Both teams to score @ 1.91

We also feel that there will be a few yellow cards in what will be a highly competitive affair. Over 3.5 yellow cards is our call and at least two will be shown in the first half as the referee will hope to stamp his authority.

Martin Atkinson is the man in charge and while he likes to let the game flow, he is not one for taking any nonsense.

Although the appointment is logical considering that there are no English teams left in the tournament, it is still a little surprising considering the problems he encountered in the Bayern Munich v Porto quarter-final clash. He also arguably got it wrong when sending off Villarreal defender Eric Bailly in the last-16 return leg against Sevilla.

BET: Over 3.5 Yellow Cards @ 1.40

VERDICT: Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1 @ 9.2

All odds quoted from Shoreham FC’s betting service shorehamfc.myclubbetting.co.uk

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