THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE continues on Wednesday. Ben Levene (@benlevene96) shares his betting thoughts.
Ajax v AEK Athens | Wednesday 19th September 2018, 17:55 | BT Sport
Ajax were pretty impressive during qualification. They host an AEK Athens side who are appearing in the group stage for the first time since 2006.
The Greeks edged past Celtic and then Vidi by the single goal in aggregate to reach this stage and failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their four qualifiers.
Ajax have made a flying start to the season under Erik ten Hag, winning their last four home matches a cumulative 14-1.
The hosts should grab all three points here and I like the idea of Ajax winning both halves at 11/5 (Unibet). It’s landed in six of 11 of their games this season and in three of four at the Johan Cruyff Stadium.
Benfica v Bayern Munich | Wednesday 19th September 2018, 20:00 | BT Sport
Niko Kovac makes his Champions League debut as a manager when leading Bayern Munich to Benfica this Wednesday. The German giants have won five games from five this season and have conceded just once from open play.
I caught patches of Benfica’s qualifying victory against PAOK and it’s fair to suggest they were more than fortunate. The home side lost all three home Champions League group games last season and I expect that to be the case here.
Admittedly, Bayern will be without Corentin Tolisso who damaged his ACL at the weekend, and long-term absentee Kingsley Coman, whilst Mats Hummels and Leon Goretzka are doubts. Nonetheless, the Bavarians have a deep squad and will still be able to monopolise the ball.
Ajax and AEK Athens make up Group E and so the hosts could sit back and aim to frustrate Bayern, with view to picking up points in future games.
I’m not expecting a goalfest, but I am expecting the Germans to prevail. I’m happy to back a Bayern win in a game featuring fewer than five goals at 19/20 (Coral).
Valencia v Juventus | Wednesday 19th September 2018, 20:00 | BT Sport
Marcelinho has done an excellent job since taking the helm at Valencia. Since the start of last season Lose Che have lost just four of 26 home games. They are organised, rigid and tough to beat, boasting La Liga’s third best defence.
Juventus are yet to click into gear this season despite boasting a 100% record, with star-signing Cristiano Ronaldo taking four games to find the net. If anything can spark CR7 into life, it’s this competition. Ronaldo has scored 105 goal in his last 101 Champions League appearances.
Both sides are solid defensively and I expect this to be an evenly fought, tactical affair. I like the draw at 53/20 (Marathon).
Juventus have drawn six of 21 Champions League away matches since Allegri took charge and the Italian is pragmatic enough to settle for a draw this Wednesday.