Champions League best bets and preview
It’s a repeat of the 21/22 season as Real Madrid meet Manchester City in the Champions League semi-final. Tom Carnduff has three best bets to consider.
Football betting tips: Champions League
1.5pts Antonio Rüdiger to have 1+ total shots at 6/4 (bet365)
1pt Vinícius Júnior to score anytime at 4/1 (Sky Bet)
0.5pt Rodri & Federico Valverde both to be carded at 22/1 (bet365)
Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair Sportsbook
Another blockbuster involving Manchester City in this season’s competition, a two-legged contest against Real Madrid will undoubtedly provide entertainment over the 180-ish minutes of football.
That will certainly be true if we see a repeat of last season’s semi-final. City were in control throughout, but a late collapse gave Real a spot in the final. Lessons have surely been learned and the fact remains that Pep Guardiola’s side were the better of the two up until that stage.
Real have won seven of their last eight at home, and they will need that outcome if they are to progress once again here. Heading to the Etihad with a deficit would be seriously problematic – City have won their last 14 in front of their own supporters.
Kick-off time: 20:00 BST, Tuesday
TV channel: BT Sport 1
It’s a rare occasion where Real are a price as big as 9/4 in places to win a home contest but City are the clear favourites to win the Champions League. This will be a much tougher test than Chelsea and Liverpool have provided in their all-English route to this stage.
They will have to cope without Éder Militão in defence through suspension, but Antonio Rüdiger can slot in and the first best bet of the game is backing RÜDIGER 1+ TOTAL SHOTS with 6/4 available.
He’s largely been a starter throughout this season, and his average shots per La Liga game figure stands at 0.6. That figure jumps up to 0.8 in European competition.
Rob Holding and Gabriel had two shots each in Arsenal’s recent 4-1 defeat at the Etihad, while Matthijs de Ligt saw one in Bayern’s first leg loss in the last round.
Weston McKennie also had a header saved from a corner as City just beat Leeds at the weekend, further highlighting that they do allow opportunities to the opposition even with a fairly solid defensive record from set-pieces.
Also factor in that, as we’ve seen plenty of times in the past, Rüdiger loves to take a shot from distance. Anything will do, and I’d expect an odds-on price for this given Real’s need to attack in the home leg.
Another home player who should see opportunities is VINÍCIUS JÚNIOR and the 4/1 price available on the forward to SCORE ANYTIME is an interesting one.
He’s enjoying another superb season, scoring 22 and assisting a further 21 across 50 games in all competitions this season. Six of those goals have come in this competition.
You can get 13/8 with Sky Bet on Vinícius Júnior to score or assist, which is a good bet if you want that safety net of any goal involvement, but I’m willing to gamble on the bigger price.
His ten league goals have come from 11.45 xG, while the six in Europe have been from 8.73 xG. So while he’s been scoring plenty in the main competitions, the underlying numbers highlight that he should have had more.
The 40 games have also delivered a sizeable total of 109 shots, with 34 in the Champions League – nine of which have been in the knockout stages.
Given the size of the contest, we’ll also throw in a bigger priced suggestion, and that comes in the form of the 22/1 available on RODRI & FEDERICO VALVERDE BOTH TO BE CARDED.
The bookings have reset at this stage so there will be no worries for second leg suspensions, apart from the obvious straight red card, and the competitive nature of the midfield battle should see plenty of fouls awarded.
Artur Soares Dias is the referee appointed to this one and he falls into the ‘strict’ category. Across 38 games this season, Dias has averaged 5.53 cards in each.
Seven yellows were handed out across the two legs last season (accounting for normal time only), with a further two coming in the extra 30 minutes required following the second leg.
One of those was Valverde, and he’s been averaging 0.8 fouls per Champions League game this season. At home, that figure jumps up to 1.2. Rodri leads City’s squad with 1.4 in the Premier League and 1.0 in Europe.
With the result uncertain, value can be found elsewhere on Tuesday night. RODRI, RÜDIGER, VALVERDE and VINÍCIUS should be involved at the prices available.
Real Madrid v Manchester City best bets and score prediction
- 1.5pts Antonio Rüdiger to have 1+ total shots at 6/4 (bet365)
- 1pt Vinícius Júnior to score anytime at 4/1 (Sky Bet)
- 0.5pt Rodri & Federico Valverde both to be carded at 22/1 (bet365)
Score prediction: Real Madrid 1-1 Manchester City (Sky Bet odds: 6/1)
Odds correct at 1200 BST (08/05/23)
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