Champions League 2017/18: Match Day 3

UEFA Champions League 2017/18

Match Day 3

Manchester City v Napoli

Wednesday October 18, 5:45am AEDST

Following their 7-2 demolition of Stoke at the weekend, Pep Guardiola’s side have netted an incredible 32 goals in their last eight fixtures across all competitions, including six goals in two Champions League fixtures so far. In fact, they’re now on a run of seven wins from 10 unbeaten games in this competition at the Etihad, including victories over Barca and Monaco last season. Both of these games saw Man City concede despite earning the three points, and we can see something similar against a Napoli side that’s scored 26 goals in eight Serie A games so far this term.

Napoli of course have a potent attack with the likes of Mertens, Insigne and Hamsik in their ranks, and their games against teams we have ranked in Europe’s top-10 have produced plenty of goals in recent times. Against such opposition since 2013/14, they’ve only failed to score in once in eight games, but also registered just the single clean sheet, and so we’re expecting plenty of goals here.

Maurizio Sarri’s team went down 2-1 at Shakhtar in their opening road game and have benefited from a rather lenient fixture list so far domestically (they’ve already faced all three promoted sides), and so given City’s record in this competition on home turf, we’re backing Man City/both teams to score.

Betting Strategy

Back on Betfair BACK – Man City Win & BTTS at 2.6

Real Madrid v Tottenham

Wednesday October 18, 5:45am AEDST

The group of death really gets hot here with a vital clash involving two sides that have won both their games so far. Real won’t be enthralled by the start they’ve made domestically, but with Ronaldo and Benzema back in full swing following suspensions/injuries (both netted in victory over Getafe at the weekend) they’ll be looking to get back on track and wrestle control of the group in front of their demanding fans.

Real hold a fantastic Champions League record at the Bernabeu since 2011/12, winning 31 of 37 games and only losing twice. In fact, they’ve won eight out of 13 there since 2015/16 by more than one goal, and so we’re looking to the -1.5 Asian handicap to provide us with some value.

Spurs struggled on their travels when facing the better sides last term, losing three of five winless games against the top-six in England as well as going down 2-1 in Monaco. Whilst their opponents only covered the -1 handicap in one of these games, Real pose a more significant challenge, and with the likes of Isco and Asensio in great form too, there should be some fireworks here. In fact, there’s a strong argument to suggest Real do better with those two than with the currently injured Bale, with Isco imperative for Los Blancos at the back end of last term.

Betting Strategy

Back on Betfair BACK – Real Madrid -1.5 Asian Handicap at 2.2

Benfica v Manchester United

Thursday October 19, 5:45am AEDST

These sides have polar opposite records so far in Group A as Benfica have 0 points after shipping seven goals and scoring just once while Man Utd are two from two netting seven times and conceding just once. It is perhaps a little surprising then that we don’t fancy the visitors here.

Man Utd were at their dire worst at Anfield on Sunday due to a combination of absentees and tactics. The injury list at Old Trafford is almost as big as it was at the end of last season. They are now without the services of Carrick, Fellaini, Ibrahimovic, Pogba, Rojo and Bailly though the Ivorian could possibly return here. Pogba and Bailly are arguably United’s best two outfield players and it’s no surprise they couldn’t put any pressure on Liverpool’s spine without them. The visitors have scored just two goals in the last six away games that Pogba has missed.

We have Liverpool (19) ranked just five places above Benfica (24) however Man Utd were 2.8 to beat Liverpool while they are 1.8 for three points in Portugal. Benfica have conceded costly penalties in their two Champions League games so far and they need a result here to have a chance of reaching the Last 16. Their defeat in their opener hosting CSKA was just their fourth loss in 14 home games in this competition over the last four seasons.

All of Benfica’s last four Champions League games hosting English opposition here have featured fewer than three goals. We like both Unders and Man Utd lay but it’s tough to choose which is better!

It’s been a while since the visitors were regulars in this competition but they struggled on the road when they were. Man Utd have won just two of their last 11 away Champions League fixtures.

Betting Strategy

Laying on Betfair LAY – Man Utd at 1.82

Back on Betfair BACK – Under 2.5 Goals at 1.90

Chelsea v Roma

Thursday October 19, 5:45am AEDST

Both teams come into this fixture on the back of domestic defeats at the weekend. Chelsea are nine points behind Man City already after they racked up their third loss of the season. Kante and Morata were both notable absentees against Palace and they’ll be missing again here as the Blues try and keep a grip on this Group of Death. Chelsea’s win with the last touch of the game in Madrid means Antonio Conte’s side have one foot in the knockout stage already but that can quickly change with one poor result particularly as Atletico travel to group whipping boys Qarabag.

Chelsea have won 18 of their 23 home Premier League matches under Conte including beating Man City, Spurs, Man Utd and Arsenal at the Bridge. They’ve also won their last six at home in the Champions League and four of their last six games hosting Italian opposition.

Roma have a strong recent history in this competition but upon closer inspection they struggle in the toughest of matches. They’ve lost six of seven winless trips to teams we have ranked in the top-10 in Europe – Chelsea are currently ninth – and we think that it’ll become seven in eight when they travel to Conte’s wounded beasts.

Betting Strategy 

Back on Betfair BACK – Chelsea Win 1.67

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