PSV Eindhoven v Inter Milan | Wednesday 3rd October 2018, 20:00 | BT Sport
Inter Milan came back late to win their Champions League opener against Spurs at the San Siro courtesy of goals from South American pair Mauro Icardi and Matias Vecino. It was a big win for Luciano Spaletti’s troops and it’s given them an early edge in a group that promises to be closely contested.
That result probably was a tad fortunate for the Nerazzurri though, and their start to their domestic season hasn’t being majorly convincing. It’s true Inter have won their last three Serie A encounters but they’ve been defeated by Parma and Sassuolo this term already.
The Serie A side’s defence has been pretty strong and their attack has been OK – they’re operating at a +0.5 xG ratio currently but they face a trip to Eindhoven, a place where opposition seldom come away with a win.
Look through PSV’s home record and it’s a sea of green. Incredibly, the Dutch champions are unbeaten at home in their last 32 games and that must give them a great psychological advantage when welcoming competition.
If the Boeren are to have serious aspirations of at least finishing third and gaining a Europa League knockout spot then you’d feel they have to get something here in possibly their most winnable tie.
Mark Van Bommel took over from Phillip Cocu in the Summer with the latter going onto pastures new in Istanbul with Fenerbahce. MVB has had a seamless transition into the hot-seat with his side taking maximum points from their seven Eredivisie matches whilst racking up an eye-opening +23 goal difference.
Hirving Lozano and Luuk De Jong are the main threats for the hosts, both have five goals apiece. Lozano is surely destined for big things; excellent statistics last season and a strong World Cup showing meant it was a surprise to see no major European club take the plunge on the Mexican forward. At 9/5 in the Anytime Goalscorer market, he could be a play.
My main selection here though is to back the hosts with a +0.25 start on the Asian Handicap at 6/7 (BetVictor). It’s a massive game for them and with their superb home form I have to be with them.
This selection sees us profit if PSV avoid defeat, with a half-stakes win if it ends all-square and a full-stakes pay-out should they pick up the three points.
Borussia Dortmund v Monaco | Wednesday 3rd October 2018, 20:00 | BT Sport
These two sides locked horns in the quarter-finals of the 2016/17 Champions League, which saw Monaco progressing 6-3 on aggregate. It must be said that Monaco line-up included the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Joao Moutinho, Fabinho and Bernardo Silva, all of whom have since departed.
Les Monegasques have been very successful in their scouting in years gone by, making huge profits by selling on their players having already identified their replacements. However, recent arrivals have failed to settle and they’ve focussed on players under the age of 23.
Youri Tielemans, Pietro Pelligri, Aleksander Golovin and Benjamin Henrichs are all players with a great deal of potential but at this current moment they’re struggling.
The principality club have started the season in poor form. Losses at home to Angers and Marseille and away at Saint Etienne and Bordeaux have them sat in 18th place with just a solitary win to their name. They will not be relishing the idea of taking on a red-hot Borussia Dortmund side at Signal Iduna Park.
Dortmund are back to their swashbuckling best it seems, and when they play with the verve that they’re currently showing, they’re hard to stop.
Lucian Favre did good things at Borussia Monchengladbach and he’s once again proving his strong coaching credentials in North Rhine-Westphalia. This season Favre has seen his side W6-D2-L0 in all competitions, scoring 26 goals in the process. Five of those wins have come by two goals or more – impressive stuff.
The attacking options available at BVB are boundless. Marco Reus, Christian Pulisic, Mohamed Dahoud, Maximilian Phillip and Jadon Sancho have all played their part in their blistering start to the campaign. Even summer signing Paco Alcacer grabbed a brace off the bench in their come-from-behind win at Leverkusen on Saturday.
I’ve had the pleasure of being at a Dortmund home game and their isn’t an atmosphere like it in Europe. The famous Yellow Wall makes it an intimidating environment for the opposition and this young Monaco side may well get rolled over.
I’m all over the even-money available with 888 for the hosts to cover the -1.5 Asian Handicap line. This bet will see us profit should Dortmund do what they have been doing with regularity and win by two or more goals.
Atletico Madrid v Club Brugge | Wednesday 3rd October 2018, 20:00 | BT Sport
Sticking in Group A, I’m backing Atletico Madrid to have a ‘get the job done’ mentality as they host Club Brugge.
The brand spanking new home of Atleti, the Wanda Metropolitano, will host this year’s final and you can bet they will be doing everything in their power to be there come 1st June.
The last eight years have been hugely impressive for Los Colchoneros in the European field. 2014 and 2016 saw the Spaniards go all the way to the final of this competition and they’ve also won the Europa League thrice, in 2010, 2012 and 2018.
Diego Simeone sets his team up with superb defensive discipline first and foremost, and it starts from the front with Antoine Griezmann. It’s a mightily impressive collective attitude that surrounds the club, hard working and hard to beat. This match shouldn’t be as much of a test as they’re used to but their ethos will remain the same.
Brugge battled well when they hosted Dortmund on matchday one but were denied a point by a late Cristian Pulisic strike. They do lead the way in the Belgian top-tier – two points ahead of Genk – and they have two impressive youngsters who’ve played their part in front of goal this season in Siebe Schrijvers and Arnaut Groeneveld.
You have to be seriously good to get any change out of this Atleti backline, mind. Prices around the 2/7 mark on the hosts make little appeal but we can boost that to an attractive even-money quote by chucking in Under 3.5 Goals (Boylesports).
All of Los Rojiblancos’ victories this season have also seen Under 3.5 Goals land. Stretch this back to last season and it also landed in nine out their last 10 victories in the 2017/18 campaign.
PSV Eindhoven v Inter Milan – PSV Eindhoven +0.25 Asian Handicap (6/7 BetVictor)
Borussia Dortmund v Monaco – Borussia Dortmund -1.5 Asian Handicap (1/1 888)
Atletico Madrid v Club Brugge – Atletico Madrid to win and Under 3.5 Goals (1/1 Boylesports)