The first leg of the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League begins on Tuesday.
Here is a quick betting preview of both games:
Atletico Madrid vs. Chelsea (in Bucharest, Romania)
In Champions League knockout round home legs, Atletico Madrid is basically LeBron James on a fast break. Since the 2013-14 season, Los Rojiblancos have amassed 10 wins, three draws and zero losses and allowed a total of two goals in 13 home legs. On the three occasions the club drew, the games ended 0-0.
Currently at BetMGM, Atletico is + 175 on the three-way moneyline and a pick ’em on the goal line. If you want to get the push protection with the goal line, it’ll cost you a quarter (-125). Chelsea is + 190 on the three-way and %plussign5 on the goal line. The draw ML is + 190 and the total is set at two -- juiced to the over at -115.
If you’re not willing to get behind a side pre-game, or have justifiable concerns about Atletico’s “home” leg being played in Bucharest rather than the Spanish capital due to Spain’s COVID-19 regulations, there are two alternate approaches I recommend for betting this game, both involving the total.
If you’re betting with a book that doesn’t offer alternate totals, this game is ripe for live betting. Fifteen minutes of scoreless play will almost certainly see the live total drop to 1.5. From there, you could bet with a little more conviction knowing you’ll avoid a push if the game lands on two.
Alternatively, if you shop at a book such as DraftKings which does offer alternate totals and lean toward the Under like I do, a pizza-money flyer on Under 0.5 at + 600 and Under 1.5 at + 170 looks pretty appealing.
But given Atletico’s stellar history in home legs, I recommend rolling with Diego Simeone’s side on the goal line at -125.
Bayern Munich at Lazio
If you had asked me about this match a week ago, I would have wholeheartedly recommended splitting a unit on the Bayern moneyline at -180 and laying a goal at even money.
But in the days since, Bayern has dropped points against relegation-candidates Arminia and Bundesliga darlings Eintracht Frankfurt. Subsequently, the market has seen Bayern move from -180 on the moneyline to -135 at BetMGM.
On the buyback, Lazio currently sits at + 333 on its moneyline, with a draw pricing out to + 300. If you prefer to grab the half goal with the Group F runners-up, the line currently sits at + 125. As for the O/U, bettors are currently looking at a three-goal total juiced to the over at -135.
Even after its struggles this past week, I’d still lean with Bayern on the side but would be looking for closer to -140.
Lazio brings enough attacking prowess in Ciro Immobile and Joaquin Correa to challenge Bayern’s high line and score at least once, but I’m worried about an inexperienced back line holding against a Bayern team that generated three goals per game in the group stage.
Additionally, Bayern has won three of four against Italian opposition since the 2014-15 season and last dropped all three points away from home in the Champions League in the 2017-18 group stage.
One alternate bet I do find to have good value if you’re betting in East Coast markets is Bayern to win and both teams to score at + 185.