Besiktas vs Sporting | Tuesday 19th October 2021, 17:45 | BT Sport
Besiktas welcome Sporting to Turkey looking to end a run of five consecutive UEFA Champions League defeats, while the visitors haven’t been fearing much better, losing their last three in the competition, so something has to give here at Vodafone Park Istanbul with both sides keen to get off the mark to keep their hopes of an extended run in European competition, alive.
Sergen Yalçın’s side have had a terrible injury list which has certainly helped put the brakes on a start to the season which saw them win four of their opening five fixtures but have now only won once in their last five, and with them expecting to still be missing some key personnel here, they look likely to make it a third successive European campaign to end at the group stage, winning just three of those 12 fixtures.
Before we get too carried away jumping in to bed with Sporting let us consider that their record doesn’t provide much confidence either!
Not only have Ruben Amorim’s side lost those last three UCL fixtures, for a side that had a better defensive record than any other in Europe’s top five leagues last season, in conceding just 20 goals, it is incredible to note they have kept just one clean sheet in their last 14 group stage games in this competition and in none of the last 12.
Goals have to be the way forward in this tie and it can’t be ignored that Leões have been in superb form domestically, undefeated in eight games this campaign, losing once in their 38-game title winning 20/21 season and in total have won 46 of their 65 Primeira Liga fixtures, losing just 7, under their 36-year-old manager.
Not only have Besiktas lost their last five UCL games, they have been trailing at half time in all of them too and although I haven’t enough confidence in the Portuguese champions to back them to extend that run, odds of even money with Bet 365 for a first half goal from them, look good and is something they have done in seven of their 12 fixtures this term – even including the 5-1 drubbing suffered at the hands of Ajax on Match Day 1.
Sticking with goals for my second pick, Sporting have scored in 11 of their 12 competitive fixtures this season seeing an average of 2.58 goals, with Besiktas have netted in nine of 11 but all six home games with an overall average of 3.09 goals – as a result and given the nature of this game over 2.5 goals is a play at odds of 21/20 with Betfair.
Ajax vs Dortmund | Tuesday 19th October 2021, 20:00 | BT Sport
This promises to be an absolute belter at the Johan Cruijff Arena Amsterdam, with Ajax following up their astonishing 5-1 destruction of Sporting in Lisbon with a comfortable 2-0 victory on home soil over Besiktas and while Dortmund have been a bit more subdued with 2-1 and 1-0 wins over the same opposition, their hosts here could set the game up perfectly to be a goal fest.
With the over 2.5 goals set at a best priced 10/21 I will leave you to add that to a bet builder or similar while I go and hunt out something a little juicier for you!
After being on a glorious run of form, winning seven straight games, Erik ten Hag’s side suffered a shock reversal in this arena at the hands of Utrecht prior to the international break but normal service was resumed to some degree with a 2-0 win over Heerenveen at the weekend.
Dortmund kept in touch with Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich, with a 3-1 win over Mainz at the weekend, perfectly illustrating their “we will score more than you” philosophy which has seen them find the net 22 times in just eight league games but keeping just one clean sheet in doing so.
I’ve mentioned that the goals market is a prohibitive one so the next best option is to look at who has been scoring them and we have two of Europe’s most inform marksman on show here in Sebastien Haller and of course Erling Haaland.
Six-foot three-inch Haller is looking back to his prolific best, added to his six Eredivisie strikes, he has five goals in his first two UCL games which sits him at the top of the competition’s goalscoring charts in his debut campaign, he has even been rumoured as a possible replacement for Haaland.
The Norwegian who at six-foot-four stands an inch taller than the Ivorian, hit two more goals in the weekend victory at Signal Iduna Park to take his league tally to nine, keeping him neck and neck with Robert Lewandowski while with just one goal from his solitary UCL appearance he will be keen to close the gap on the hot-shots in this competition.
So, in a game which screams goals – I'm putting both these marksmen together in a goalscorer double which pays 33/10 with Unibet.
Referee Jesús Gil Manzano is in charge in Amsterdam and has a strong penalty record in this tournament, having taken charge of 10 UCL games pointing to the spot on five occasions, that ratio is replicated in all competitions this season where the 37-year-old from Don Benito has awarded four penalties in eight games including one at the weekend for Barcelona against Valencia.
In a game where we expect to see plenty of action in both areas, I’m going to take the 31/20 with Unibet for a penalty to be taken.
FC Porto vs AC Milan | Tuesday 19th October 2021, 20:00 | BT Sport
This is a massive clash for two sides chasing their first win of the campaign and AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli has already fanned the flames by claiming the two upcoming Champions League matches against Porto will be decisive for his side's chances of qualifying.
The Rossoneri are hampered in their quest for three points by several absentees, with a combination of positive COVID-19 tests, injuries and suspension ruling out several first-choice options – but the sight of Zlatan Ibrahimovic coming off the bench to help complete a winning comeback from 2-0 down at home to Verona would have been a timely boost.
Although the visitors have lost four successive UCL games predicting which Porto turns up here is no easy task as their results in the opening two group games could not have been more contrasting following a hard-fought goalless draw at Atletico Madrid with a humiliating 5-1 thumping at the hands of Liverpool in this stadium prior to the international break.
The aforementioned defeat to the Reds is Sérgio Conceição’s sides only defeat of the season so far, remaining unbeaten after eight Primeira Liga games, winning six and sitting second, just a point behind Benfica.
A win for the home side would effectively extinguish Milan’s interest in this season’s UCL and in turn keep alive their own hopes of a fifth successive progression, but in finding a winner too close to call, I am once again looking at the goals markets.
I can’t see either side settling for a draw here and of Porto’s five competitive home games the last four have seen three or more goals, while three of the visitors five road trips have crossed the same line, the 42/41 available with SBK for over 2.5 goals in a game which both sides want to win and can see-saw until the final whistle, is very attractive.
In the same way Porto have been one extreme to the other for goals in their opening two group games, the same can be said for cards – none last time out versus Liverpool but nine yellows and a red at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Referee Felix Brych followed a similar pattern, showing just two yellow cards when taking charge of Atalanta v Young Boys in MD2 but opened the campaign with seven cautions for Benfica and PSV – all of which came in the second half.
The German official flexed his disciplinary muscles in the weekend clash between Monchengladbach and Stuttgart showing three yellow cards apiece, as well as taking five names during the international break in the game between Turkey and Norway.
Given the anticipated nature of this game presenting the perfect environment for cards I am prepared to take over 4.5 total cards with Bet 365 at odds of 4/5 – a card count which has occurred in a combined 11 of 16 (69%) of these two sides league games this season.
Inter Milan vs Sheriff Tiraspol | Tuesday 19th October 2021, 20:00 | BT Sport
Once the groups were drawn it wouldn’t have surprised many to see this fixture on MD3 pitch the team at the top of the group boasting a proud 100% record against the side who are yet to register a goal yet – what is a surprise is that it is the 19-time Moldovan champions that have won their opening two fixtures while the Scudetto holders will be in desperate need of a first goal and win.
Following the sensational shock win at the Bernabéu in MD2, Sheriff cannot afford to be taken lightly by Simone Inzaghi and his team, for the visitors also come in to this tie undefeated in 19 competitive matches, winning 16, having lost just once in their previous nine European road trips.
Can lightning strike twice?
Well, the visitors have the luxury that the pressure is off and all on their hosts, the bookies have written them off once again and I can’t resist taking the Asian Handicap line for Head Coach, Yuriy Vernydub’s side.
Of course, Inter have the firepower to blow the Zholto-chornyye away here, having handed 6-1 (Bologna) and 4-0 (Genoa) hidings out in just three home Serie A games, but the Moldovians haven’t conceded an opening match goal on the road since November 2020 & proved they could soak up pressure in Madrid, withstanding 30 shots in total with 11 on target – I feel the San Siro will hold no fears.
We can get Sheriff onside with a +2, +2.5 Asian Handicap meaning a full win even if they are defeated by the odd goal and still half a win if they lose by exactly two, I’m hoping they will be a tougher nut to crack than Bet 365 expect.
It would be reckless not to get the Italian champions onside in some respect as regardless of result we should see them dominate the ball and dictate much of the play, with Shakhtar and Real Madrid seeing 75% and 76% possession respectively.
For those of you happy to back odds of 8/11 I will point you in the direction of Unibet and the possession line of over 64.5% for Inter – which looks close to buying money in my opinion, but that is too short for me to put forward here.
Instead, I am going to focus on a line which I noticed on MD1, backed on MD2 and now will put forward again in MD3 in the expectation that the above possession will be a minimum reflection of the home sides dominance.
Over the two matches so far Sheriff have conceded 30 corners, with Shakhtar amassing a huge 17 and Real Madrid crossing their line of nine by taking 13.
On this occasion Inter’s line is one lower than the one Real Madrid comfortably hit and looks good value to me at 11/10 with Betfair.
PSG vs RB Leipzig | Tuesday 19th October 2021, 20:00 | BT Sport
Having had their South American players arrive back from international duty too late to feature in the Friday night win over Angers, PSG have some talent to call on for this one with the likes of Neymar, Lionel Messi and Marquinhos expected to be returned back to the starting lineup – which could look very similar to the one which defeated Manchester City on MD2.
For RB Leipzig, they need to halt a run of four successive defeats in the UCL, whilst conceding two or more goals in each of the last six.
Unlike some of the other sides I have mentioned earlier, Jesse Marsch can’t even point to strong domestic form, having won only two of their last nine competitive matches, with their only away win this term coming in the DFB Pokal at second tier Sandhausen – a run of eight league and UCL fixtures.
Although relatively unconvincing so far, PSG top both Ligue 1 and UCL group A, boasting a record of 22 wins in their last 28 home UCL group stage games, scoring an average of 2.71 goals per game in that sequence, slightly up on their home goals per game average for this season of 2.67.
After collecting that data, I was surprised to be able to get PSG with a –1 Asian Handicap at 25/28 with Mansion Bet – a line they have provided a win on in 15 of those aforementioned 28 home games, returning the stake in another seven and only losing the bet six times.
These two sides met at this stage last year in what was two very feisty clashes and although the personnel are slightly different this time round, I feel there is enough about this game for it to potentially ignite once more.
Marco Guida is the referee and he warmed up for this clash by issuing seven cards in a Serie B fixture between Perugia and Brescia with four for the home side and his lifetime average comes in at just under five cards per game.
I slight leap of faith as there is a chance the game could be closed out quickly but I am prepared to take the 11/10 with William Hill via their Build Your Odds tab that both sides pick up over 1.5 cards.
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Real Madrid | Tuesday 19th October 2021, 20:00 | BT Sport
Both these sides have something in common in that they have already been defeated by supposed group minnows Sheriff Tiraspol.
Real Madrid had the weekend off so should be nicely rested ahead of this trip to Ukraine where they will be well aware they came unstuck last season on the wrong end of a 2-0 score line, a surprise defeat which completed a group double for Shakhtar who had already won a thriller at the Alfredo di Stéfano Stadium by the odd goal in five.
However, the home side come in to this year’s fixture with no goal in their last three UCL games and occupy bottom spot in the group needing to improve on a run of form in this competition which sees those victories over Los Blancos two of just four wins in the last 21 fixtures.
Roberto De Zerbi’s side aren’t a pushover though as shown by their goalless draw with Inter before the international break one of eight stalemates in that run of games, they are also unbeaten in six since losing to Sheriff, with four wins and 18 goals to their name.
Despite the break Carlo Ancelotti could be without some key players here in Kiev and including that shock reversal at the hands of the Moldovan champions have lost back-to-back games 2-1 with Espanyol inflicting a first La Liga defeat just five days later.
Donetsk on home soil is not easy and we can back them with a +1 Asian Handicap at 4/5 with Unibet.
Given the double of last season and that in their 10 home games this season this bet would not have lost once – eight wins, two refunds, I think it is a solid play.
One man who really enjoyed himself against Real last season was Manor Solomon who scored home and away in last season’s double over them.
Although the 22-year-old hasn’t had the best start to his season, netting just once in 13 appearances for his club, he did score in his last outing – the winning goal for Israel in their World Cup Qualifier against Moldova.
That confidence boost ahead of a clash with the side he had such success against last season makes the 5/1 on offer from Betfair for him to score again a very nice price.
Besiktas vs Sporting: Sporting over 0.5 first half goals (1/1 Bet 365)
Besiktas vs Sporting: Over 2.5 goals (21/20 Betfair)
Ajax vs Dortmund: Haller/Haaland both to score (33/10 Unibet)
Ajax vs Dortmund: Penalty to be taken (31/20 Unibet)
Porto vs AC Milan: Over 2.5 goals (42/41 SBK)
Porto vs AC MIlan: Over 4.5 cards (4/5 Bet 365)
Inter Milan vs Sheriff: Sheriff +2, +2.5 Asian Handicap (5/6 Bet 365)
Inter Milan vs Sheriff: Over 7.5 Inter Milan corners (11/10 Betfair)
PSG vs RB Leipzig: PSG –1 AH (25/28 Mansion Bet)
PSG vs RB Leipzig: Over 1.5 cards both teams (11/10 William Hill)
Shakhtar vs Real Madrid: Shakhtar +1 AH (4/5 Unibet)
Shakhtar vs Real Madrid: Manor Solomon to score (5/1 Betfair)