Atletico Madrid v Monaco | Tuesday 27th November 2018, 17:55 | BT Sport
I was very surprised by the prices on offer here -Monaco are available to back at a huge 22/1 and seeing that I went straight into Asian Handicap markets. I was expecting to get a +1.75 start on the visitors prior to a glance at the Match Odds but we can actually get near even-money (15/16 BetVictor) backing Les Monegasques with a +2 start, knowing we’ll get our stake back if the visitors lose by exactly two.
It’s true that the principality club have had a pretty woeful start to the season. Ex-gaffer Leonardo Jardim was given the boot after a terrible kick-off to the campaign, however the high churn of incoming and outgoing players could’ve played a major part in the lack of consistent quality.
Theirry Henry was given the gig and it’s taken a bit of time for him to adapt to senior management, and it will be a long-term process for Monaco to get back to competing at the top. However, Henry witnessed his first victory at the weekend away at Caen and that will hopefully give them a boost.
Key players are returning from injury as well so an upturn in fortunes could be on the cards; Alexander Golovin, Jemerson, Djibril Sidibe, Youri Tielemans and Radamel Falcao are back in the frame and they’re all regular starters.
These prices might’ve been drawn up purely on Monaco’s recent Champions League form – 3-0 and 4-0 defeats to Borussia Dortmund and Club Brugge were far from ideal but performance data suggests those results were a tad harsh. But this selection is more about Atletico’s no-frills approach.
Diego Simeone’s side have become famous for their low-scoring victories over recent years, and it’s been hugely successful. A strong focus on defensive discipline and a compact set-up off the ball makes it extremely difficult to breakdown, and when teams do, the capital club can rely on the excellent Jan Oblak between the sticks.
Once Atletico go a goal or two up, they tend to sit back and see it out because that’s what they’re trained to do. Key Uruguayan centre-halves Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez remain sidelined, which is a blow for the hosts, and it could give a glimmer of hope to the visitors.
I trawled through Atleti’s Champions League record and the last time they won by three or more goals was in October 2015 and that was at home to the Kazakhstan outfit Astana. If you’d have backed this bet in the last 32 Champions League fixtures involving Los Colchoneros you wouldn’t have lost money.
Monaco will want to leave the Wanda Metropolitano with a degree of dignity and the hosts style could help them here.
If Monaco win, draw, or lose by one goal we win, even if they lose by two goals our stakes are returned. The only way we make a loss is if Atleti win by three or more goals.
Borussia Dortmund v Club Brugge | Tuesday 27th November 2018, 20:00 | BT Sport
We’re sticking with the same pool here and I want to get on a goal-filled home victory when Borussia Dortmund welcome Club Brugge to Germany in Group A on Wednesday night.
BVB have had an excellent start to their campaign, covering all competitions. Excitement and entertainment has been in plentiful supply and gaffer Lucian Favre has implemented his attacking, attractive football in seamless fashion.
Another win away at Mainz on Saturday kept Die Schwarzgelben at the top of the domestic tree with a W9-D3-L0 return.
Dortmund’s attacking approach can leave them vulnerable at the back if teams can be brave enough to counter them, mind. I was considering backing Dortmund with a -1 handicap but it wouldn’t surprise me if Brugge managed to nick a goal given the fact the hosts have conceded against the likes of Augsburg, Mainz and Hertha Berlin, as well as lower division opposition Union Berlin and Sportfreunde Lotte this season.
Having said that, BVB have the artillery to outscore their opponents. Paco Alcacer has been a revelation since his arrival; when he’s confident he’s a serious threat. Behind him you have a wealth of options with the likes of Maxi Phillip, Mohamed Dahoud, Jadon Sancho, Marco Reus, Mario Gotze, Jacob Bruun-Larsen and Christian Pulisic.
All the above have contributed so far and the strong defensive midfield duo of Axel Witsel and Thomas Delaney is a major factor in allowing the forwards to have the freedom and ability to express themselves. Their discipline also allows attacking full-backs Raphael Guerreiro and Achraf Hakimi to bomb on and join attacks, both of whom have provided goals and assists this term.
Club Brugge arrive at the Westfalenstadion on the back of successive defeats in their domestic league, against mediocre outfits Charleroi and Zulte-Waregem. Those results saw them drop to third and it’s sure to knock their confidence; now the last place you want to go is the intimidating Yellow Wall.
Brugge are currently on four points and likely to finish third and take a Europa League spot; they’ll be coming here with little pressure on them to get anything and it could make them come out and try play a bit. Attacking trio Hans Vaneken, Arnaut Groeneveld and Wesley have been the standout performers for the Blau-Zwart in this competition and it will be interesting to see if they can assert their qualities.
Dortmund are formidable hosts though and have the ability to take apart whoever they want when they’re on it, that was seen in the home game against Atletico Madrid where they ran out 4-0 victors. They should win here and they could rollover a Brugge side low on confidence but I don’t want to rule out the possibility of the visitors notching.
Therefore I’m going to plump for the 3/4 available for Dortmund to win and Over 2.5 Goals (3/4 Boylesports).
Atletico Madrid v Monaco – Monaco +2 Asian Handicap (15/16 BetVictor)
Borussia Dortmund v Club Brugge – Borussia Dortmund to win and Over 2.5 Goals (3/4 Boylesports)