THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE returns on Tuesday as the Group Stage gets undeway. Ben Levene (@benlevene96) shares his betting thoughts.
Monaco v Atletico Madrid | Tuesday 18th September 2018, 20:00 | BT Sport
Much fancied to make a final appearance on home turf in May, Atletico Madrid can get off to a positive start this Tuesday.
Atleti endured a dreadful Champions League campaign last season, exiting in the group phase. However, they were unbeaten in all three away trips and we can back them to continue that trend. All three of those games saw Under 2.5 Goals.
Since the start of the 2013/14 season, Diego Simeone’s side have lost just seven of 26 Champions League away matches with five of those coming at one of Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich.
17 of those 26 games saw Under 2.5 Goals, a convincing 65%. Monaco are winless in four and are a shadow of the side that reached the semi-final two seasons ago.
Atletico Madrid double chance in a game featuring Under 2.5 Goals is available at 93/100 with Betfair. I make that value and that’s my best bet from Tuesday’s card.
Since the start of the 2016/17 campaign, this bet has landed in 22 of Atletico’s 40 La Liga travels.
Liverpool v PSG | Tuesday 18th September 2018, 20:00 | BT Sport
Goals are expected here. With that in mind, it’s no surprise to see Over 2.5 Goals as short as 4/9.
Last season, 46 of 96 Champions League group stage matches saw Over 1.5 first-half goals – that’s 48%. It landed in five of Liverpool’s seven home matches en-route the final.
Under Thomas Tuchel, PSG have scored three or more goals in all six games, scoring in the first-half in five of those. They’ve conceded in three of their last four.
Goal frenzies are nothing new for Tuchel sides. Augsburg II averaged 3.7 goals per-game under his reign. It was 2.94 at Mainz and then 3.31 at Dortmund.
Eight of 10 Champions League games during his time at Dortmund went Over 2.5 Goals, including an 8-4 win versus Legia Warsaw, 2-2 draws home and away against Real Madrid, and 3-2 and 3-1 loses in the quarter-final defeat to Monaco.
He certainty wasn’t conservative when his Dortmund side lost 4-3 to Klopp’s Liverpool at Anfield in the Europa League quarter-final back in 2016, either.
Tuchel teams tend to adopt a gung-ho, all-out-attack approach. He himself suggested this when stating,”There's definitely a style that’s been attributed to me, that we brought to the table at Mainz: pace going forward and attack-minded football.”
Over 1.5 first-half goals is available at 27/20 (Coral) which implies a 43% chance. As already alluded to, this bet landed in 48% of group games last season and for me this pair are above average attacking teams.
With the egos and expectation involved, neither will settle for the draw and so both sides will come out all guns blazing.
Club Brugge v Borussia Dortmund | Tuesday 18th September 2018, 20:00 | BT Sport
Borussia Dortmund have made an unbeaten start to the season and whilst a case can be for the 5/6 about them, I’d prefer to have a small stake at a 13/2 Anytime Goalscorer.
Mahmoud Dahoud failed to score for Dortmund last season but has already notched once this season. No Dortmund player has attempted more shots than Dahoud so far this campaign, with the midfielder hitting the target more frequently than any of his teammates.
Including pre-season, Dahoud has had at least two shots in six of his last seven.
Thomas Delaney and Axel Witsel have freed up the German to get involved with attacks and against a Club Brugge side who have conceded in four consecutive matches, he could get chances.
I’m happy to chance the 13/2 (Betfair).