MARK O’HAIRE (@MarkOHaire) shares his best bets from Tuesday night’s Champions League fixtures.
Porto v Dynamo Kiev | Tuesday 19.45 | BT Sport Extra
Quiz question – when was the last time Porto lost? Answer – April this year in their Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich. The Dragons were stuffed 6-1 that night but have since W14-D6-L0 in all competitions, including W7-D1-L0 since late September.
Julen Lopetegui’s team have already beaten Chelsea and domestic rivals Benfica on home soil this season as well as holding Tuesday night’s opponents Dynamo Kiev to a creditable 2-2 draw in Ukraine. The hosts are five points adrift of Sporting in the Primeira Liga with a game in hand and know a point this midweek will secure their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Porto have a clean bill of health for their date with Dynamo and their return of W11-D4-L1 in this competition suggests they’ll be a very tough nut to crack. The Portuguese giants have W6-D2-L0 in their last eight when hosting continental competition at their Estadio do Dragao home and I reckon they’ll prove too good for Kiev.
But rather than back a home victory, I’m keen to get involved with Coral’s 20/23 on the Dragons scoring Over 1.5 Goals. It’s a feat Porto have achieved in six of their past seven Champions League ties and in seven of their previous eight European home fixtures.
The visitors have kept clean sheets in 16 of their 22 matches in all competitions this term and can likewise field their strongest XI. Serhiy Rebrov’s side will probably have to win this match if they want to progress and have won five of their last six, notching two or more goals themselves in each.
But the Ukrainians have leaked at least twice in five of their last seven on the continent – at Guingamp, Everton, Fiorentina, Chelsea and AaB – with only trips to Maccabi Tel Aviv and Steaua Bucharest not conforming to this selection.
In all, Dynamo have W1-D3-L5 in their last nine away Champions League group-stage games and I believe this bet holds more value than backing the straight home win.
Barcelona v Roma | Tuesday 19.45 | BT Sport Extra
Bayern Munich are the only side to have beaten Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the Champions League since 2009 and the Catalans’ hot-streak in this competition should continue with a routine three points at home to Roma.
The Bluagrana were simply sensational in their 4-0 dismantling of Real Madrid in Saturday’s Clasico with head coach Luis Enrique describing his team’s display as ‘historic’. Barca battered their bitter rivals from start to finish and superstar Lionel Messi was only on the field for half an hour.
Messi’s expected to be eased back into competitive action but could start here. Even if the mercurial Argentine is held back, Sergi Roberto produced his finest showing in a Barcelona shirt against Real to deserve another chance alongside the bang in-form Luis Suarez and Neymar in attack.
The hosts only need a point to progress but fresh from their Bernebeu success, I’d expect the Bluagrana to kick-on. The Catalan have won 13 of their last 15 Champions League games, scoring at least twice in eight of their most recent nine.
At the Camp Nou, Luis Enrique’s men have won 12 of their last 13 in this competition and led at half-time and full-time in nine of those 12 triumphs. Taking just group-games into account, Barca have bagged wins in 15 of their last 17 in front of their home fans with 11 of those victories arriving by at least a two-goal margin and five by three or more goals.
Despite only keeping three home clean sheets all season, Luis Enrique’s side have now kept five clean sheets in a row and are well capable of clinching another victory by two goals or more. BetVictor are offering 7/9 on Barca -1.5 in the Asian Handicap market and that looks just the ticket.
Roma will be fearing the worst for their trip having W0-D4-L3 in their most recent seven Champions League ties on the road since 2010. The Italians haven’t kept a clean sheet in Europe for 26 games and have leaked seven goals in visits to BATE Borisov and Bayer Leverkusen already.
The Giallorossi have kept just two clean sheets in 17 outings and are without talisman attackers Gervinho, Mohamed Salah and Francesco Totti. Daniele De Rossi is considered a doubt and Rudi Garcia’s troops are likely to surrender second spot in the pool with BATE and Bayer meeting earlier on Tuesday evening.
Bayern Munich v Olympiakos | Tuesday 19.45 | BT Sport Extra
Both Bayern and Olympiakos know only a point is required from their final two fixtures to guarantee their place in the Last 16 but there’s no suggestion of collusion here with the Germans likely to flex their muscles once more on the European stage.
Sitting eight points clear at the top of the Bundesliga, the Bavarians have lost just once in 18 matches this season but it’s their mindboggling goalscoring record that really stands out. The hosts have scored at least three goals in five of their last six with their last six at the Allianz Arena featuring 28 goals in total – Pep Guardiola’s men notching four or more goals in each.
Bayern have won their last eight at home in this competition to an aggregate 32-4 whilst Barcelona are the only side to stop FC Hollywood scoring at least give times in their most recent five Champions League outings in Munich. No surprise then, their 13-goal tally this season is the best in the tournament thus far this term.
Pep will be without the services of Franck Ribery, Mario Gotze, Juan Bernat, Thiago and David Alaba this midweek and whilst I expect the Germans to deliver another trouncing. Bayern have conceded just five goals this season but delivered Over 3.5 Goals winners in all bar three of their last 11.
The Bavarians have beaten the three-goal line themselves in seven of their nine Allianz Arena appearances in 2015/16 and won by at least three clear goals in seven of their last 10 home group-stage games. We can back Bayern -2 in the Asian Handicap at 4/5 with BetVictor – we’ll get our cash back if Pep’s charges win by exactly two goals but bag profit should FC Hollywood clinch victory by three or more goals.
Olympiakos are also eight points clear at the top of the Greek Super League despite their weekend derby with Panathinaikos having to be abandoned because of crowd trouble. The Greeks have won back-to-back Champions League away ties for the first time in their history but their longer-term road record is awful.
The Reds have W7-D9-L38 of their last 54 Champions League away ties and been beaten in 17/21 trips Germany, England or Spain. Marco Silva’s men travel without Giannis Maniatis and Andreas Bouchalakis, while Alberto Botia remains a huge doubt.
Olympiakos’ 3-0 loss in the reverse fixture was their only blank in 15 fixtures this season but with the hosts reducing their opposition to fewer than two shots-on-target on average, a second looks most likely. Meanwhile, four of the visitors’ last seven away defeats on the continent have been by at least two goals.
Porto v Dynamo Kiev – Porto to score Over 1.5 Goals (20/23 Coral)
Barcelona v Roma – Barcelona -1.5 Asian Handicap (7/9 BetVictor)
Bayern Munich v Olympiakos – Bayern Munich -2 Asian Handicap (4/5 BetVictor)
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