Here’s an intriguing set of fixtures that could help to yield some tasty profit for punters ahead of the packed festive fixture list.
Leicester are through, Tottenham are out and Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, two giants of the European game, go head to head in an all-or-nothing clash at the Bernabeu. Lovely stuff.
Here are the pick of Wednesday’s Champions League betting tips:
Real Madrid vs Borussia Dortmund (7:45pm)
Well, what a cracker this should be. The fixture gods have not been kind to Real – this match comes just four days after El Clasico – but they will be focused and prepared for the job in hand, and playing at home clearly helps their recovery time.
A bizarre 3-3 draw with Legia Warsaw means that Real now need to beat Dortmund, no other result will do, to top Group F, and while the absence of Gareth Bale will hit hard they still have plenty of attacking quality at their disposal. They have netted 15 in their last six La Liga outings and 14 in five in the Champions League, so we don’t need to worry about their ability to put the ball in the net.
Defensive sloppiness could come back to haunt the Germans, who have conceded seven in their last three away Bundesliga ties and who shipped four at home against Legia. If Zinedine Zidane picks the top heavy starting line-up we expect, this could be explosive – and well worth watching.
Real Madrid & Over 2.5 Goals (6/4 with Coral)
Cristiano Ronaldo to Score Two or More (7/2 with William Hill)
Porto vs Leicester City (7:45pm)
These are troubling times for Leicester City, and somehow their status as Group G winners has been tarnished by their complete lack of consistency in the Premier League. What should have been a season of celebration is turning into something of a nightmare.
On Saturday they host a Manchester City side shorn of Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho through suspension, so Claudio Ranieri may pinpoint that match as an unlikely source of three points. This trip to Portugal is likely to be something of a distraction as a result.
Fringe players and kids could be his go-to then, and that plays nicely into the hands of a Porto side who still aren’t mathematically sire of qualification for the last 16. They will be giving this match both barrels but in their own inimitable style: defensively sound, and without throwing too many bodies forward. Tellingly, if we combine Porto and Leicester’s six Champions League matches that haven’t featured Club Brugge as an opponent they have all gone under the 2.5 goal mark.
They should still have too much for the Foxes however, particularly if they make changes with Saturday in mind.
Porto to Win and Under 2.5 Goals (11/5 with Coral)
Tottenham vs CSKA Moscow (7:45pm)
You sense that Saturday’s 5-0 win over Swansea is going to be a massive turning point in their season, because not only does it end that rather dire run of form it also saw Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-Min combine tellingly as an attacking unit for the first time this campaign. Dele Alli was back to his buzzsaw best, and the signs were very good for Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
This week they wave goodbye to their Wembley misadventure with the visit of CSKA Moscow, a team that hasn’t kept a clean sheet in the Champions League since the year 12 A.D, or whatever that stat is. The point is that they can’t defend but Spurs look to be clicking as an offensive collective; and as we now, in sport timing is everything.
Tottenham -1 Handicap (7/5 with Paddy Power)
Tottenham to Score Two or More (8/13 with Coral)
Legia Warsaw vs Sporting Lisbon (7:45pm)
Our last selection is a bit of fun but one offering serious returns. Legia Warsaw, who have conceded 24 goals in five Champions League starts yet scored seven in two against Dortmund and Real, welcome Sporting to Poland.
The Portuguese side are just two points behind leaders Benfica in the Portuguese Primeira Liga – whom they play on Sunday. This match on Wednesday is of little consequence to them.
But the hosts will be giving it all in front of their passionate home fans, and as they have shown in glimpses against Real and Dortmund they are certainly capable in front of goal. This match could unfold in all sorts of ways, but at this kind of price supporting Legia is not the daftest bet you will have placed this year.
Legia to Win & Over 2.5 Goals (6/1 with bet365)