Our 2022 Bet Chat New Year’s resolution was to provide you with even more free content, and so today I’m handing over to professional football bettor Adam Cheng, who has provided a betting preview of the Champions League last 16 ties.
To give Adam’s full service a try, where he shares all of his football bets, just click this link.
The Champions League knockout stages are my most eagerly-awaited evenings of the European football season. Year-on-year they produce the best, most dramatic matches to watch, and also bring about the best bets.
Markets are vast and highly liquid and the knowledge that teams will always be going all-out to make the final, playing the way they know best, tends to add assurance to selections.
Here, I will briefly preview the first four last-16 ties, the first-legs of which take place on the 15th and 16th of Feb. Selections will follow a day or two before the matches once all the markets have been fully formed.
PSG (best to qualify price 10/11) v Real Madrid (6/5)
First up it’s two of Europe’s biggest guns in a contest which should see plenty of goalmouth action.
Being miles clear in Ligue 1 doesn’t mean much and PSG have underperformed for the most part this season, with no clear gameplan other than to get the ball to the three amigos up top. This alone is not enough for Champions League success – I reckon they were a better side two years ago and I wouldn’t be rushing to back them at 9/1 to finally lift the trophy their greedy owners desire so much.
They may progress against Real Madrid though, a team I’m also unconvinced with despite them similarly being top of their domestic league – manager Carlo Ancelotti’s strength down the years has been to allow good players a free rein but he has always seemed lucky to get the good players in the first place (how did he get this gig after such a poor stint at Everton?!) and his teams have never defended brilliantly.
The Casemiro-Kroos-Modric midfield of the three-in-a-row is still going strong-ish but they too can be passed over in the outright market. They were lucky to do the double over Inter in the group and lost at home to Sheriff.
Sporting (12/1) v Man City (1/12)
The biggest mismatch of the last-16 here and Manchester City will qualify comfortably. They now have a lower expected-goals against them than ever before while the attacking play has remained a joy.
I am also less convinced than many that they need a recognised centre-forward – they seem to do ok without one – and Guardiola can’t make the same obvious selection blunders as he did for their defeats in this competition in the last two years again, can he? Keep it simple, Pep.
The 11/4 outright price is a bet, each-way half the odds to make the final, as of the remaining contenders I can only see Liverpool causing them issues in a two-legged tie.
Sporting qualified from their group ahead of Borussia Dortmund despite conceding 12 goals in six matches and only thanks to scoring more in their two matches against Besiktas than Dortmund did. I can’t see any hope for them here.
Salzburg (10/1) v Bayern Munich (1/12)
Salzburg looked a vibrant side in the group stages with young striker Karim Adeyemi particularly lively, but it was a soft group with Lille, Wolfsburg and Sevilla and Bayern Munich is a massive up-in-class.
Bayern haven’t been amazing this season, however – negotiating a group consisting of Benfica, Dynamo Kiev and possibly the worst Barcelona team to ever exist isn’t particularly notable and they’ve had some shaky moments in league and cup this season, including an incredible 5-0 loss to Monchengladbach in the Pokal.
The squad is still packed with talent and they still score loads but central-defence is an area for opponents to get at with the likes of young newbie Upemecano, slow giant Sule and left-back Hernandez playing major roles there this season. They will surely be ok here but they could be vulnerable in the next round.
Inter Milan (3/1) v Liverpool (2/7)
Inter got undeservedly mugged twice by Real Madrid in the group yet still managed to progress and their league form has been excellent, currently four points clear with a game in hand in a really competitive league having only lost once in 22.
They have a solid, experienced spine to the team, are happy with and without the ball and, despite little schemer Barella being suspended, probably come into this tie in better shape than their opponents.
Pool big-hitters Mane and Salah will have not long been back from Afcon, both having made the competition’s final and Inter will hope they are tired. Liverpool’s quickness of play will probably get them through over the two legs but this is tricky and it wouldn’t surprise were they to head back to Anfield with work to do.
I will be back with previews of the other four ties in due course.