Lazio vs Club Brugge | Tuesday 8th December 2020, 17:55 | BT Sport
Lazio need only avoid defeat to secure their qualification into the next stage of the Champions League although they do have the carrot of possibly winning the group should they be able to better Borussia Dortmund’s result in Russia.
The visitors motivation is simple – beat their opponents and take their place in the round of 16, which should make for an entertaining encounter with the possibility of late twists and turns especially when you consider the reverse fixture ended in a 1-1 deadlock.
One man missing in that first meeting between the two sides was Le Aquile’s prolific talisman Ciro Immobile who is back in the form that bagged him 36 Serie A goals last season.
The 30-year-old Italian marksman already has four goals in this competition to go with his six league goals and is on an incredible run of scoring in eight consecutive competitive appearances for his club.
I can’t help but put Immobile forward again as I did successfully in last week’s preview however not at odds on so instead, I’m taking a chance on a tried and trusted path to goal.
Lazio topped the Serie A charts for penalties won with 18 last season and of his nine goals in those eight consecutive games, four have come from the spot, including one in three of the last four games.
With referee Cüneyt Çakir having given one spot kick from his two UCL appointments there is nothing to put me off using Bet Victors Bet Builder feature to select Immobile to score a penalty with odds of 16/5.
With so much on the line we should expect a competitive affair and one man who should revel in such an environment is Club Brugge midfielder Mats Ritz.
The Belgian is expected to reclaim his place in the side having been suspended for last weeks victory over Zenit and played the full 90 minutes in his side’s weekend league win.
It seems the UCL theme tune gets the adrenalin pumping through the 27-year-olds veins with only two yellow cards from 13 league games in contrast to the three cautions picked up from four outings in this season’s competition. I’m prepared to take the 13/5 with Sky Bet that he adds to that total in this crunch clash.
Zenit vs Dortmund | Tuesday 8th December 2020, 17:55 | BT Sport
Zenit’s race is run. Six points adrift at the bottom of Group F all that remains for them is to salvage a little pride and, if they so choose, to try and prevent their visitors securing the much-coveted top spot.
A massive blow in Dortmund’s quest to become group winners and in doing so gain a more favourable round of 16 draw is the absence of Golden Boy himself Erling Haaland with a hamstring injury.
Visiting Sergey Semak’s side in their own back yard is never easy as illustrated by their impressive record of scoring in 15 straight home games, winning 12 in the process but with only one of those victories coming “to nil”.
A comparatively poor run of recent form has seen Lucien Favre’s side travel here without a win in three games and they have lost six of their previous nine UCL road trips.
I can see the hosts making life tricky for Dortmund, at least initially, and it may take a while for the visitors to get going, my temptation was to play a 25/1 half time/full time selection of Zenit/Dortmund but instead I am going with two options based around that train of thought.
Dortmund have conceded inside the opening 10 minutes in two of their last three matches, so I like the 7/5 with Betway for Zenit to score a first half goal.
Even missing key players Dortmund do still have a rich pool of talent to call on and I do expect them to eventually get the win they desire, and I also like the odds of 9/4 for a Dortmund win and both teams to score.
Barcelona vs Juventus | Tuesday 8th December 2020, 20:00 | BT Sport
Barcelona suffered another embarrassing defeat at the weekend, this time at the hands of newly promoted Cadiz while Juventus stretched their unbeaten run to eight games since defeat in the reverse fixture in Turin.
Andrea Pirlo’s men have it all to do if they are to snatch top spot in the group away from their Catalan rivals who hold a three-point advantage.
Not only do the Old Lady need to win but they need to do so by scoring at least three goals and with at least a two-goal margin.
It certainly adds and extra touch of spice in what could be the last time we see Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo perform on the same pitch in competitive action.
CR7 missed out on facing his long-standing foe in the reverse fixture due to a positive coronavirus test so we can only imagine he will be chomping at the bit for this one to get started and add to his impressive, but standard, haul of 10 goals from nine appearances this season.
A straight up shoot out!? Possibly. Which is why I headed to Betfair to utilise their same game multi option and add both Ronaldo and Messi to have two or more shots on target each at odds of 11/4.
Again, we should expect this to be a fierce battle for all of Barcelona’s domestic struggles they have a 100% record in the group and haven’t lost at home in the UCL by three or more goals in seven years.
As a result and taking in to account any game which involves Sergio Busquets usually sees plenty of tackles flying about my next selection is expecting Juventus’s Adrien Rabiot to be heavily involved.
Having been an unused sub last week in Kiev, the 25-year-old returned to the starting eleven at the weekend and completed four tackles in his 70 minutes on the field meaning from his last six starts the Frenchman has delivered 5-7-5-4-2-4 tackles.
With Busquets in direct competition and being tasked with trying to break up the creative promptings of Messi et al, I like the odds of 21/10 for another four tackles here.
Dynamo Kiev vs Ferencvaros | Tuesday 8th December 2020, 20:00 | BT Sport
Its winner takes all in Kiev – well winner takes a place in the Europa League at least.
With just one point each from their group games so far, gained in the 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture this is a massive opportunity to end their UCL campaign with a bang – and also grant European action in to 2021.
The Hungarian league leaders have already managed to score in away games at Barcelona and Juventus so the trip to Sergei Rebrov’s side will hold no fear, in fact their results and performances have arguably been better away from home than in their own stadium.
Calling a winner for me is virtually an impossible task, so instead I will focus on goals and cards!
I have already mentioned the 2-2 draw in Hungary but also Kiev have won five of their last nine UCL home matches scoring at least two goals in each win, while the visitors have conceded a total of 35 goals in just 11 group stage games in this competition at an average of 3.18 and 16 of those have come in this campaign, although they have at least scored themselves in four of the five games so far.
With nothing to lose and it all to gain I can see this game being entertaining and fairly open, with the potential of a goal at any time changing the complexion of the tie, so as a result I am playing Over 2.5 total goals and both teams to score at odds of 11/8 with Boyle Sports.
The reverse fixture in Hungary saw seven yellows and a red card and with lots riding on this game there’s no reason to expect this not to be a feisty encounter also.
Referee Adreas Ekberg from Sweden went card crazy last week as he took charge of Marseille v Porto – showing seven yellow and two red cards and he also showed seven yellows on his last domestic appointment.
Regularly showing four, five and six cards in his games this season I’m prepared to put a card Bet Builder together with Bet 365 of over one card in the first half for both teams combined and over 0 cards in the second half for both Kiev and Ferencvaros giving odds of 6/4.
PSG vs Istanbul Basaksehir | Tuesday 8th December 2020, 20:00 | BT Sport
Despite Group H being the tightest of all with three clubs locked on nine points both clubs here effectively know their fate – with PSG needing to avoid defeat to qualify and Basaksehir already guaranteed last place and elimination from any European football.
Finding selections for this one was an extremely difficult task with PSG priced incredibly short and most bets keeping them or goals onside far too prohibitive.
After making wholesale changes at the weekend, we should expect to see some familiar faces return for Thomas Tuchel’s men – namely Kylian Mbappe who scored his 100th PSG goal on Saturday after coming off the bench and Neymar who was rested completely after his two-goal star performance at Old Trafford last week.
Mbappe will be eager to hit the back of the net in this one and prevent stretching his UCL goal drought to double figures but he remains at the head of the market to do so at a best priced 5/11. Infact you have to go five players down to find the first of The Parisians who is odds against to score with Angel Di Maria at 11/10 (SBK)
So instead, I am taking a shot at a correct score and in the last three years PSG have won their last home group game and by an average margin of four goals – so it makes sense, in what I see being a comfortable evening for the home side to suggest a 4-0 win at odds of 8/1 with Betfair.
Added to the correct score I can’t see a side from Turkey going to take on one of the favourites for the competition and laying down.
With four cards picked up last week at home to Leipzig, three the week before in Manchester, three in the return fixture with PSG and three more in the opening fixture against the German side only once have Okan Buruk’s men not covered 30+ booking points in this season’s competition so with odds of 7/4 with Sky Bet that seems a solid suggestion.
Rennes vs Sevilla | Tuesday 8th December 2020, 20:00 | BT Sport
This is the epitome of “dead rubber”!
Sevilla have already qualified but can’t catch table toppers Chelsea while Rennes are guaranteed the Group E wooden spoon after a disappointing first UCL campaign.
Julen Lopetegui’s side followed up their 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Chelsea last week with a La Liga home defeat to top six rivals Real Madrid, although having won their last two away games as well as the reverse fixture, I’m sure they will be confident of picking up three points from their visit to Roazhon Park.
However, Rennes find themselves in a rotten run of form and their UCL hangover has spilled over into their Ligue 1 performances having now lost six of their last seven fixtures in all competitions including at home to newly promoted Lens at the weekend.
Second guessing the line ups is tricky so it makes sense to avoid any player-based bets and with potentially heavily rotated sides on show as well as a desire to come through an effectively meaningless 90 minutes injury free it makes you wonder about the pace and desire we will see on display.
Therefore, I’m siding with a low scoring affair but one I feel Sevilla can edge. The visitors have only managed only six goals in total this campaign, with just two coming in the first half and in their last five road trips in the UCL have kept their opponents to one goal or less.
Lazio vs Club Brugge – Ciro Immobile to score a penalty (16/5 BetVictor)
Lazio vs Club Brugge – Mats Ritz to be carded (13/5 SkyBet)
Zenit vs Dortmund – Zenit to score Over 0.5 Firs-Half Goals (7/5 Betway)
Zenit vs Dortmund – Dortmund to win and Both Teams To Score (9/4 Bet365)
Barcelona vs Juventus – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both to have 2+ Shots-on-Target (11/4 Betfair)
Barcelona vs Juventus – Adrien Rabiot to make 4+ tackles (21/10 Ladbrokes)
Dynamo Kiev vs Ferencvaros – Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (11/8 Boyle Sports)
Dynamo Kiev vs Ferencvaros – Over 1 First-Half Cards and Over 0 Second-Half Cards (6/4 Bet365)
PSG vs Istanbul Basaksehir – PSG to win 4-0 (8/1 Betfair)
PSG vs Istanbul Basaksehir– Istanbul Basaksehir 30+ Booking Points (7/4 Sky Bet)
Rennes vs Sevilla – Sevilla to win (13/10 Unibet)
Rennes vs Sevilla – Second-Half to be the Highest Scoring Half (6/5 Betfair)