Another winning day in the Champions League, as we went 2-1-2 in the first day of quarterfinal action. Wednesday brings us two more marquee matchups in which we see opportunities to cash some tickets.
Barcelona vs. Roma
Barcelona has now reached the quarterfinals in 11 consecutive seasons, their opposition, are relishing their longest run since the 2007/08 campaign. Although they have been here many times, three of Barcelona’s last four exits from this competition came in this stage of this tournament. Messi’s squad will be on high alert with this trend being fresh in mind and looking at an opponent that has to be respected. Roma’s defense is tough, allowing less than 1 goal per game in the group stages. The Italians come into this match with confidence high after knocking out Shakhtar last round, overturning a 2-1 scoreline at home, conclusively advancing by the pivotal away goal. The defense will have to be compact, and they will have to pick their spots to push the ball knowing that Barca can take advantage of the smallest of spaces. While playing at Camp Nou, Barca has had much success vs. Italian competition, only tasting defeat twice in the last 23 matches.
Not only vs. Italian opposition but the Blaugrana have been on fire lately and have not lost in their last 17 games (14W3D). Although they struggled last weekend, much had to do with an eye on this match and I believe they will come out fully focused. I do expect Roma to play tight and limit some of the things Barcelona does, but the persistent attack will prove to be too much. Messi will draw the attention as usual, but Luis Suarez, unobtrusively, has been hot of late scoring seven goals in his last 10 matches. The Uruguayan striker loves lining up vs. Roma, where has found the net three times in Champions League matches. Barcelona will score multiple goals on a defense that will be backed up in its own box for the majority of the game.
Barcelona 1st half money line (DNB) -160
Halftime/Fulltime result Barcelona/Barcelona
Barcelona -1.5 -144
Suarez anytime score
Liverpool vs. Manchester City
2 of the English Premier Leagues most followed clubs face off under the lights of Anfield in a cracker of a match. These 2 teams have been dynamic offensively this season, accounting for 158 goals in England, and Wednesdays lead us to believe we will see more of the same. These two clubs have already faced off twice this year, with City leading on aggregate 8-4. The first encounter was a 5-0 beating at the expense of the Reds, but many think the final score was phony as Liverpool’s Sadio Mané received an early red card in the 37th minute when the game was still within reach 1-0. An expulsion later and a first-half injury time goal by Gabriel Jesus opened the floodgates for a City thrashing in the closing half. The second meeting we saw a much different contest and Liverpool upset the soon to be Premier League Champions. The game was opened up by an early Oxlade-Chamberlain score, followed by a 40th-minute equalizer by Leroy Sané. The teams went into half deadlocked 1-1 but the second half gave us fascinating action. The Reds were content with losing the possession battle 64%-36%, as the game plan was to limit the speed of Manchester City. They were outpassed 668-366 but still outshot City 16 to 11. Three quick goals in a span of fewer than ten minutes ultimately decided the match, with City getting 2 goals late in the match to make things suspenseful until the final whistle.
As square as the bet may seem, the Over has to be the play in a match that host two of this competitions highest scoring teams. Liverpool leads the way with 28 goals in this year’s tournament, and I expect them to score multiple times in front of a hostile Anfield faithful. The last six games these two have faced each other, have seen a total of 23 goals (3.83 per game).
Over 3 +105
Over 2.5 -160
Liverpool Team total over 1.5 +110
Liverpool Team Total over 1-170
Mohamed Salah anytime score +125
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