THE Champions League continues this Wednesday as Barcelona welcome Roma to the Nou Camp. Ross Casey (@RossCasey24) shares his best bets.
Barcelona v Roma | Wednesday 4th April 2018, 19:45 | BT Sport
Barcelona approach this game as shorter than 1/2 favourites with a best price of 13/50 currently available with Marathon, showing the likelihood of a home win in this Champions League first leg.
Roma have an uphill task, but the leverage of a home tie in the second leg is big in this competition as both of these sides showed in their last 16 ties. The draw is at 6/1 with Betfair and a massive upset away win is 14/1 with them too!
The Catalan giants have La Liga all but wrapped up as they boast a nine-point lead, in a competition they remain unbeaten in. They are also undefeated in the Champions League this season, with dive wins and three draws to their name.
Whilst they haven't necessarily been at their imperious best in the UCL this term, Ernesto Valverde’s team have won all four of their home matches, keeping three clean sheets and conceding just one goal during that time – including against both Juventus and Chelsea.
Barca will line up in a 4-4-1-1 system, with Lionel Messi operating behind Luis Suarez and the system has helped the Catalan giants net 65 goals and concede just seven in their 23 competitive home fixtures across all competitions this season.
Despite the notion that goals always fly in during Barcelona matches, over 2.5 goals has landed in just three of their last 13 matches, so the possibility of keeping things tight for Roma may actually be more possible than many will have thought.
Being an Italian side, they will of course enjoy the task of keeping an attacking outfit at bay and Eusebio Di Francesco's side have managed to keep three clean sheets in their last four matches. However, it is actually their attack which has been the main reason for their upturn in fortunes of late. They have only failed to score in six of their 39 fixtures this season.
The betting angle
For me, when looking at all of these statistics, I still see Roma as likely to be outclassed away from home at the Nou Camp. One win in 14 Champions League away games is a shocking run of results, and whilst their defence has kept three clean sheets from four, this tie is a far greater task.
Thanks to the new resolute look to the Barcelona system too, I can't see Roma putting much of a glove on them either, so I will be looking at the handicap markets here. Barcelona have covered a minus 1.5 Asian handicap in all four of their Champions League matches this season and I fancy them to cover it again on Wednesday night.
Another that I fancy is Barcelona/Barcelona in the half-time/full-time market. That bet has landed in three of the four Camp Nou Champions League matches this season and 16 times overall for Barcelona at home this term – including each of their last four.
With the second leg away from home, I like the chances of Barcelona trying to score a hatful here to all but put the tie to bed.