THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Last 16 continues on Wednesday evening. We asked Tom Love (@TomLove_18) to source the best bets from Atletico Madrid's tie with Juventus.
Atletico Madrid v Juventus | Wednesday 20th February 2019, 20:00 | BT Sport
This is probably the most tightly-contested game of the Last 16. The bookies certainly think so with most having it 17/10 each of two, and it’s hard to argue with that pricing structure.
These two sides have been cash cows for punters who like to back the win ‘to nil’ market in years gone by. Both have stout defences and it’s no surprise to see the goal line as short as it is.
Atleti are renowned for their pragmatic and defence orientated approach under Diego Simeone – 75% of their league games have seen fewer than three goals, as did their final three group-stage games in the Champions League.
Despite having the individual attacking threats of Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic, Juventus have only seen 14/24 domestic matches break the 2.5 goal barrier. They build from the base with the well versed trio of Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci all knowing each other inside-out.
The betting angles
It’s mightily tough to find any clear value in the main markets. The goal line looks correct at 2.0 and it’s not a line I like to get involved in when backing unders. The 1×2 has every outcome at a similar price, which says it all in terms of how tight this is expected to be. Having said that, if you have a strong view on a winner then you’re sure to get good odds.
I do expect it to be low-scoring, especially in the opening exchanges and that makes the Half-Time Draw a play at a smidgen under even-money withBbet365. With a cautious game-plan likely to be the call from both managers, it would be no surprise to see a feeling out exercise employed by the pair.
Atleti will have an extra urge to progress in this competition as the final is hosted at their new home, the Wanda Metropolitano. If they are to get to the quarter-finals they will be keen to go into the second leg with something to hold onto.
In two legged ties that are a tight betting heat I’d prefer to get the hosts of the first leg onside in some form.
Los Colchoneros have seemingly saved their energy for this competition. Recent performances in La Liga have lacked verve and vigour but I’m trusting them to get back to their best in a tournament they do well in; in the recent years at least.
If Atletico do win this one it’s unlikely to be a walkover but we can back Los Rojiblancos to win alongside Under 4 Goals at 12/5 using the Bet365 BetBuilder. Look over Atleti’s wins in the last three/four years and the heavy majority of them are low-scoring victories.
It could also be a feisty game with so much at stake. Both Spanish and Italian leagues tend to have a high count on the cards. Looking at the midfield in this match-up it looks to be a narrow one, that usually means it gets scrappy.
Talented young Rodrigo Bentancur has been cautioned six times in Serie A – more than any other player for the Old Lady. He’s also been carded against Valencia earlier in this competition, whilst last season saw him pick up three cards in the Champions League.
Why there are 11 Juve players at shorter prices than Bentancur is baffling, so 7/2 on the Uruguayan being booked here looks an attractive play.