RB LEIPZIG V TOTTENHAM
A BIG UPPER HAND
RB Leipzig have a pivotal lead after the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 encounter with Tottenham – and are in terrific position to advance as the series shifts to Germany. Leipzig stole a 1-0 road victory from their English Premier League opponents and can reach the quarter-finals with a victory or a draw. And oddsmakers like the chances of a sweep, making the hosts -182 favorites to win Tuesday’s rematch. Tottenham (+450) face an enormous task, particularly with Leipzig having gone unbeaten in their previous 11 home matches (seven wins, four draws) across all competitions.
VALENCIA V ATALANTA
MORE GOALS COMING
Atalanta filled the net in their first Champions League elimination round game against Valencia – and while they’ve all but assured themselves a spot in the next round, the books are still optimistic of a two-game sweep as the teams face off Tuesday in Spain. Atalanta cruised to a 4-1 home triumph in the first of their two-leg series, and need only avoid a complete collapse to move into the Round of 8. They’re +137 to prevail this week against a shell-shocked Valencia side (+175) that has just one victory from its previous seven matches overall and will play in front of an empty home stadium due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
PARIS ST GERMAIN V BORUSSIA DORTMUND
Borussia Dortmund did what they had to do in order to give themselves a shot at a Round of 16 upset – but the second half of their task will be a real doozy as they head to France for a Wednesday date with Paris-Saint Germain. Dortmund kicked off the two-leg Champions League series in style, pulling out a 2-1 home victory on teen phenom Erling Haaland’s second goal of the game in the 77th minute. But a sweep might not be in the cards, with Dortmund (+310) renewing hostilities with a PSG squad (-134) that has just two losses in 21 home games this season and is averaging 4.4 goals in its last eight matches there.
LIVERPOOL V ATHLETICO MADRID
THIS COULD GET INTERESTING
The defending Champions League winners are in a bit of a predicament as they wrap up their Round of 16 series Wednesday against visiting Atletico Madrid. Liverpool were stunningly held off the scoresheet in a 1-0 setback at Madrid two weeks ago, the beginning of a rare stretch of futility during which the English Premier League juggernaut has been blanked three times in a five-game span. But it’ll still be a tall task for Atletico Madrid, who come into this one as massive +550 underdogs to prevail outright against a Liverpool side (-182) that has won 12 straight home games and 21 of its previous 23 overall.
* Whenever Atalanta is involved, you probably can’t go wrong with an Over bet on the team’s goal tally. Not only did the fourth-place team in Serie A put four goals past Valencia in their previous encounter, it also ranks first in the Italian League by a wide margin in goals scored (70). Even in hostile territory, we like the visiting team on the O1.5 at -138.
* If Tottenham found the offensive sledding tough in their first encounter with RB Leipzig, they could be in for an even tougher time in Tuesday’s rematch. Leipzig have allowed just 26 goals from 25 Bundesliga matches – tied with Bayern Munich for the fewest in the league – and have surrendered just one goal in their last six games overall. We like the Leipzig clean sheet at +137.
* If you read the write-up for this game, you probably know where we’re going with this play. PSG has been a dominant force on offense in recent games at Le Parc des Princes, and know that they’ll need to be at their best if they want to keep their Champions League hopes alive. For that reason, we highly recommend the O2.5 play on their team total (+137).
* If you have any faith at all in Liverpool’s shot at a Champions League title defense, you’re probably a fan of whatever prop sees the home team pull out a convincing win Wednesday. And with the hosts having outscored opponents 26-6 in their previous 12 games at Anfield, there could be a decent profit to be had on the Liverpool -1 handicap play at +150.
* The next round of the Europa League kicks off Thursday, with one of the marquee matchups featuring Sevilla hosting Roma. The visitors had had to fight to get past defensive stalwarts Gent in the last round, and while they’ve been on a tear with four goals in each of their past two league games, Sevilla (29 goals allowed in 27 league games) is a strong clean sheet play at +150.
* LASK might need LASIK to see the net Thursday as they host defensive stalwart Manchester United in a Europa League tussle Thursday. Man United are modest +110 favorites but have been ultra-stingy in this tournament, holding opponents without a goal in seven of their previous nine matches. The road shutout is priced at a tantalizing +150.
* Arsenal will likely be without its top midfielders for the remainder of the season. Uruguayan star Lucas Torreira suffered a fractured ankle last week in an FA Cup victory over Portsmouth and is expected to miss up to 10 weeks. It’s a significant blow for an Arsenal side that sits ninth in the English Premier League table and sits eight points back of fourth-place Chelsea.