These early group games are key in determining who will qualify for the knockout phase of the competition and who will not, so we expect no let up and no quarter being given.
With that in mind, where does the standout betting value lie in Wednesday’s Champions League ties?
Tottenham vs Borussia Dortmund (7:45pm)
The standout game from a neutral’s perspective – and perhaps a punter’s too – is the clash between Spurs and Dortmund at, whisper it, Wembley Stadium.
This temporary home has not been a happy hunting ground for Tottenham, whose Champions League hopes and dreams faded here in 2016/17 with defeat to Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen.
They face another German outfit on Wednesday in Borussia Dortmund, who will be aiming to kick on under new boss Peter Bosz, and he seems to have already improved fortunes at the Yellow-and-Blacks. They top the Bundesliga after a three-game unbeaten run in which they are yet to concede, and they head to London in high spirits.
As for Tottenham, you have to wonder how this ‘Wembley curse’ thing will affect their players. They could put that to bed with victory against Dortmund of course, but will they have the confidence to do so? A mild wager against the fact is wise.
Borussia Dortmund +0.00 Asian Handicap (6/5 with bet365)
Liverpool vs Sevilla (7:45pm)
The extent of Liverpool’s 0-5 mauling at the hands of Manchester City will only be clear in their next few games, but if Jurgen Klopp can press upon them the cold hard fact – they were the better side against City until Sadio Mane’s sending off – then their confidence should be spared a complete crushing.
Mane will be available for this game, and that will boost the attacking options available to Klopp. Despite their failure to register against the Citizens on Saturday, it would surely have been only a matter of time before they did prior to Mane’s untimely dismissal.
The bookmakers are perhaps underselling Sevilla somewhat though, with the Spaniards installed as a 17/4 jolly. They are better than that, and after a sluggish start in La Liga they hit top form in the 3-0 win over Eibar on Saturday.
When you factor in Liverpool’s rather leaky backline against decent opposition – three shipped against Watford, three in two against Hoffenheim, five against Man City – we have to fancy Sevilla to find the net, and that will be the genesis of many goals-based wagers placed against Liverpool this term.
Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams to Score (17/20 with Coral)
RB Leipzig vs Monaco (7:45pm)
It’s hard not to feel sorry for Monaco. After a brilliant 2016/17 campaign in which they rampaged their way to the Ligue 1 title and semi-finals of the Champions League, their talented young squad was naturally the victim of European football’s vultures. Out went Benjamin Mendy, Kylian Mbappe and Tiemoue Bakayoko, with Thomas Lemar surely unsettled by being linked with a move here, there and everywhere.
It didn’t appear to affect them as they rattled off four straight Ligue 1 wins, but the dynasty of that transfer activity seemed to rear its head at the weekend in a 0-4 defeat at the hands of Nice.
Four of their five league outings have yielded Over 2.5 Goals and 3/5 delivered BTTS, and in RB Leipzig they will find a side ready to fight fire with fire.
The German outfit were a revelation last season, and while questions of their murky partnership with Red Bull continue the least we can say is that they are delivering high energy performances on the pitch.
They’ve won their last two Bundesliga outings at a goal difference of +5, and while this is their Champions League debut they certainly won’t take a backward step.
Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams to Score (19/20 with Coral)
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Napoli (7:45pm)
We are big fans of this Napoli side, and their swashbuckling attacking play truly is a joy to behold at times.
They have played three Serie A games this season and won the lot, scoring three goals in each, and it is their front-foot approach under coach Maurizio Sarri that makes them a danger both on home soil and on their travels.
Shakhtar are one of those classic Eastern European sides in the Champions League. Difficult to beat at home, they will eventually bow out in the group stage before enjoying a decent run in the Europa League.
They have won their last six matches in the Ukrainian league, but three of those were by a single-goal margin in a league not known for its high quality.
And like we say, Napoli play without fear wherever they are in the world, and that expressive philosophy could well prove to be their making in typically tricky assignments like this.
Napoli to Win 23/20 with William Hill