Champions League: Second-half goal frenzy forecast

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THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE group-stage concludes on Wednesday evening. We asked Tom Love (@TomLove_18) to source the best bets in games not involving Premier League teams.

Shakhtar Donetsk v Lyon | Wednesday 12th December 2018, 20:00 | BT Sport

Wednesday has an awful lot of games that can be regarded as dead rubbers, therefore I’m giving my full focus, love and attention to the match you must tune in for at 8pm in Ukraine.

It’s one of the few games left with everything to play for in the final matchday of Champions League group-stage action and it promises to be a highly intriguing, and entertaining affair.

Group F has lived up to its potential of being one of the most entertaining pools – there’s been 84 goals in the 20 games, which averages out to a mammoth 4.20 goals per-game. Goal lines have often been set higher than the average, but they’ve been surpassed regularly.

Let’s set the scene then…

Lyon have to avoid defeat here in order to progress to the knockout stages. Shakhtar Donetsk have to win to take second spot. Therefore, this match-up has the potential to have plenty of swings.

Psychologically, these games I find extremely interesting; do the team that need to win come out the blocks flying, and try get into a lead with a comfortable buffer and then soak up the pressure? Or alternatively, do they set-up with the objective of not conceding early on, and try nick the game in the latter stages?

Naturally, I want to get with goals. Every Shakhtar Champions League tie this season has seen Over 2.5 Goals, four of which have successfully overcome the Over 3.5 Goals barrier too. Meanwhile, Lyon have seen both sides score and Over 2.5 Goals in every game in their European campaign this year. Again, 4 of five have also seen Over 3.5 Goals land.

Second-half goal scenes

Over 3.5 Goals has been chalked up at 7/5 (Betfair) and it’s certainly a viable play. However, I’m going to go a bit more conservative and focus on goals after the break.

Over 1.5 second half goals is available to back at 3/4 with BetVictor and I’m a fan. If the two sides revert from their natural way of playing, not wanting to give anything away in the early stages, which is a possibility, then it means it has to open up at some point in the second 45.

Even if there’s a first-half goal, one team has to go for it in the second. This also means there’s potential for space to exploit on the counter-attack.

Sticking with a similar theme, I’m also happy to take a punt on both teams scoring in the second half – we can get a 13/8 quote with William Hill on this. Given the fact BTTS in the 90 is as short as 2/5 in some places, this looks a decent price.

It landed in the reverse fixture, it’s also landed in three of Lyon’s five games in this competition. Both sides are great going forward and possess many attacking threats but I can’t trust either defence. If you combine the two sides results in the Champions League then there’s a grand total of zero clean sheets in 10 combined encounters.

This is what we want to see as a neutral in the final game of the group stages. Let’s hope for things to explode in the second-half.

Best Bets

Shakhtar Donetsk v Lyon – Over 1.5 second-half goals (3/4 BetVictor)

Shakhtar Donetsk v Lyon – Both Teams To Score in the second-half (13/8 William Hill)

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