Profitable betting trends to look out for ahead of the midweek Champions League action
With Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Lyon all booking their spaces in the next round of the Champions League, focus now turns to the quarter-finals of Europe’s premier knockout competition.
Atalanta and Paris-Saint Germain lock horns at the neutral Estadio da Luz in Lisbon on Wednesday evening, before Atletico Madrid take on RB Leipzig on Thursday and Bayern Munich clash with Barcelona on Friday night, to determine which clubs will take another step closer to being crowned this season's Champions League winner.
Manchester City and Lyon face each other in the last quarter-final match on Saturday evening, with each of those games being played across just one leg in the Portuguese capital.
Looking ahead to the mouth-watering array of European action this midweek, I’ve assessed some betting trends you may want to look out for before placing a wager on any of the midweek action, starting with Atalanta’s showdown with French champions PSG this Wednesday.
Free-scoring Atalanta love over 2.5 goals
The first tie of the week features a side who have found no problems in scoring goals this season. Atalanta finished their league campaign in third and scored 98 goals - 17 more than any other side in Serie A.
The Italians have been the Champions League’s surprise package this time around, beating the likes of Dinamo Zagreb and Shakhtar Donetsk, while forging a draw against Manchester City back in November.
In the last round Atalanta beat a strong Valencia side 8-4 on aggregate, scoring four goals in each leg to qualify for the quarter-finals in emphatic style. With 114 goals scored in the league and Europe combined it is no surprise to see that Gian Piero Gasperini’s side are one of the highest ranking sides for over 2.5 goals this season.
In fact, 70% of Atalanta’s games this season have resulted in more than two goals being scored and, with their opponents for this quarter-final showdown being PSG - a team who scored 75 goals in just 27 league games during a prematurely curtailed campaign in France - it seems likely that we’ll see plenty of goals in this fixture.
Over 2.5 goals is a best-price 8/15 with bet365 and Betfair which is fairly short, therefore backing over 3.5 goals could be the play for this one, priced up at 13/10 with Betfair.
Bad boy Kempembe to work his way into the book (again)?
If you fancy doubling up the variables for this fixture, or are a firm advocate of the Same Game Multi/Bet Builder type of bet, then getting behind PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe to be booked could be a profitable selection.
The France international finished the 2019-20 campaign with six yellow cards in Ligue 1 - more than any other player in the PSG squad (bar Marco Veratti, who also registered six).
Kimpembe is expected to line-up directly against Atalanta’s lively front man Duvan Zapata - who has contributed 19 goals and eight assists in all competitions this season - in this clash so could face problems in dealing with the fiery Colombian.
A best-price 9/5 to be shown a card with Paddy Power, this could be another potentially profitable selection worthy of consideration ahead of this clash.
No Werner, no problem
The second game of the week sees RB Leipzig and Atletico Madrid lock horns for a spot in the semi-finals. The German’s have impressed in Europe this time out, knocking Spurs out in the last round but with their star man Timo Werner now a Chelsea player their chances of qualifying look a lot slimmer, with bookies having them priced up as 2/1 underdogs to win in 90 mins and 6/5 to make it through to next week’s semi-finals.
Indeed, despite Werner now little but a distant memory there is still plenty of talent pulsating through Julian Nagelsmann’s exciting side. The likes of Patrik Schick and Marcel Sabitzer have scored 23 goals between them in the league and Europe this term, while chief creator Christopher Nkunku registered 13 assists in the Bundesliga as Leipzig finished the campaign in third spot.
This game against Atletico will certainly be a tough one, especially given the fact that it is played in a neutral venue over just one leg, though there is still plenty to suggest that Leipzig can cause the resilient Spaniards problems - just like they did against Tottenham back in February - if they can execute their game plan correctly.
Champions League Winner Odds
Resilient Atletico to claim another clean sheet?
As touched on earlier though, the task at hand is a huge one and Atletico’s reputation as defensive maestro’s has been proven countless times in the Champions League over the years.
Diego Simeone’s side are as tough as they come and knocked out reigning champions Liverpool in the last-16, so will be determined to bulldoze an RB Leipzig side lacking in European experience and devoid of their star striker.
Atletico’s strength lies in their ability to shut opposing sides out, proven by the amount of goals they concede on a seasonal basis. This time out they have been typically ruthless in their defensive approach - conceding only seven goals in eight games and winning-to-nil in 50% of their matches in Europe.
In La Liga it was a similar scenario as 11 of Atletico’s 18 wins came alongside a clean sheet, while they were once again one of the best ranking sides for goals conceded having let in just 27 goals in 38 games (second only to Real Madrid, who conceded 25).
With all things considered the best betting play for this fixture could well be backing Los Rojiblancos to win-to-nil here, a best-price 11/4 with Betfred at the moment, while a correct score bet of 1-0 could also be a good shout given this clash is expected to be a close-knit affair (best-price, 6/1 with Betfair).