ARGUABLY the tie of the round, Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) takes a look at the betting ahead of Barcelona’s trip to PSG in the Champions League quarter-final.
PSG v Barcelona | Wednesday 19.45 | Sky Sports 1
PSG and Barcelona meet for the fifth time in two years on Wednesday night and although the Parisians are unbeaten at home in continental competition since November 2006, the French champions are handicapped by a number of key absentees for the Parc des Princes showdown.
Key suspended trio Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Serge Aurier and Marco Verratti will be joined on the sidelines by injured threesome Thiago Motta, David Luiz and Lucas Moura to deprive the Parisians of at least six first-choice stars. With the riches around Laurent Blanc’s squad, the home side can still boast a strong XI but it’s not ideal for the visit of Barca.
The League Cup was collected in emphatic style by PSG on Saturday as a Zlatan double helped the all-conquering capital club to a 4-0 success over Bastia. French media are swooning over the chances of a possible quadruple from Blanc’s men with a 3-2 home win over the Catalans earlier in the season still fresh in the memory of Parisian supporters.
That victory was secured without their totemic Swede but two of the goalscorers that day (Luiz and Verratti) will be missing, as mentioned above. Barca failed to deal with PSG’s aerial threat from set-pieces in that loss whilst struggling for control and retention of possession in the midfield. But Luis Enrique’s side have improved immeasurably since.
The Catalans produced their best 30 minutes of football this season at Sevilla on Saturday, have won six consecutive Champions League games for the first time since 2011/12, have W30-D2-L2 of their last 34 fixtures in all competitions and W16-D2-L2 on the road since that Paris defeat.
Dani Alves is suspended for Wednesday night’s trip but it’s hard really to argue with 4/5 quotes on an away win considering PSG’s selection issues. That is until you see the Blaugrana’s record on the road in away Champions League ties.
Dating back to 2008, Barca have W15-D12-L9 – that’s a rather meek 42% win ratio. Over the same timeframe, the Catalans have W5-D7-L6 of away knockout ties in the Europe’s elite competition – their win ratio falling to 28%.
So rather than take Barca at 4/5 quotes, I’d be much happier cheering on PSG in the Double Chance market at 11/10 with Boylesports; after all, as referenced above, they’re unbeaten at home in Europe in nine years! With this selection, we’ll make money should the hosts avoid defeat at the Parc des Princes.
Elsewhere, Both Teams To Score at 4/5 from BetVictor holds plenty of appeal. The four meetings between the clubs in the past 24 months have averaged 3.75 goals-per-game and each of the last six head-to-head clashes in this competition have seen both teams find the net.
The French hosts have conceded the most goals (10) among the eight teams left on the battle field but with Luis Enrique’s team keeping just two clean sheets in eight away matches, it would be a surprise to see Barcelona keep PSG out on home soil. With that in mind, the 17/4 quotes from Bwin on the match ending all square with Both Teams Scoring would appeal.
But hey, I’m going for the Hollywood pass. Combine the Double Chance pick along with a Both Teams To Score bet and the likelihood is this fixture ends in a score draw so rather than the 17/4 option, let's dive deeper. I'm going to have a small play on the 1-1 and 2-2 correct scores at 7/1 and 17/1 from BetVictor; it makes sense, right?
PSG v Barcelona – PSG double chance (11/10 Boylesports)
PSG v Barcelona – 1-1 correct score (7/1 BetVictor)
PSG v Barcelona – 2-2 correct score (17/1 BetVictor)
Free Bet If Messi Scores First
Betfair are offering you a choice of money back options for Barcelona’s trip to PSG but by far the most attractive is the chance to earn a Free Bet if Lionel Messi scores the first goal.
That’s right. Get a refund as a Free Bet up to £25 on Correct Score, Anytime Correct Score, First, Last or Anytime Goalscorer bets if your bet loses and selected trigger happens.