THE Champions League continues this Tuesday as Roma welcome Barcelona to the Stadio Olimpico. Ross Casey (@RossCasey24) shares his best bets.
Roma v Barcelona | Tuesday 10th April 2018, 19:45 | BT Sport
Barcelona pretty much put the tie to bed last week, securing a 4-1 win over their Serie A opponents. I was able to land both of my selections in that fixture as Barcelona/Barcelona and Barcelona -1.5 Asian Handicap both came in.
I fancied them to make the most of their home advantage last week, but this week, I have found some statistics that suggest they will show the other side to their game in this one.
The Catalan giants have La Liga all but wrapped up as they boast an 11 point lead, in a competition they remain unbeaten in. They are also undefeated in the Champions League this season, with six wins and three draws to their name.
Whilst they haven't necessarily been at their imperious best in the UCL this term, Ernesto Valverde’s team come into this match having scored 24 goals in their last nine matches in all competitions. However, away from home in the Champions League, they have relied upon their defence to get results.
Barca have conceded just one goal in their four away matches in this competition and scored just two. For me that makes me look at both the Barcelona clean sheet market which has landed in 75% of their UCL away games this season and Under 2.5 Goals in the over/under market which has landed in all four.
Of course goals will be on the agenda for Roma, who need to win by a 3-0 scoreline or better to prevail in this quarter-final. They did of course get on the scoresheet in the Nou Camp which will give them faith that they can penetrate the impressive Catalan defence on home soil.
However, they have had a shocking week, after the drubbing in Barcelona was followed by a surprise home defeat to Fiorentina. That 2-0 loss was proof that perhaps the stuffing had been knocked out of them and the only positive was that Inter lost too so they have held on to their current Champions League place in the Serie A table.
The betting angle
For me, Barcelona have pretty much wrapped this two legged tie up already. What will be interesting is if Barcelona continue down the route of keeping things tight on the road or if they revert to the expansive football that are known for.
I am going to side with an if it ain't broke don't fix it mindset for Ernesto Valverde. Roma need to score of course to have any chance of securing a semi-final spot and defending in numbers to attempt to keep a fourth clean sheet in five away Champions League games.
Considering that this tactic has seen Barcelona score just twice on the road in the Champions League and Roma have seen three of their last four fixtures go Under 2.5 Goals I think that will be my play at the Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday night.
Especially as the market is favouring Under 2.5 Goals but the statistics point towards less than three goals scored at an odds against price of 33/20 (Marathon).
Roma v Barcelona – Under 2.5 Goals (33/20 Marathon)