Thursday Champions League Multi
Schalke v Man City – 7:00 AM
City look to kill Schalke off early.
In what’s definitely the dullest of the eight last-16 Champions League ties, City will endeavour to brush past a poor Schalke side with the minimum of fuss.
The German outfit is languishing 14th in the Bundesliga, and have lost three of their last five league matches at the Veltins-Arena. Do they stand a chance against this City side? No, they don’t.
City wasn’t wholly convincing in the group stages of this year’s competition – particularly in both matches against Lyon – but Schalke is arguably weaker all the teams in City’s group (Shakhtar and Hoffenheim being the others).
The difference between the two sides in question is absolutely vast, which is why I’m backing City to win with a -1 handicap. Pep Guardiola’s men have won 12 of their last 13 in all competitions, while Schalke has just one win in five.
While you’re more likely to see goals in this one, Atletico Madrid v Juventus – which will be going on at the same time – is a much more interesting matchup. Either way, there is still value to be found in City’s trip to Gelsenkirchen.
Atletico Madrid v Juventus – 7:00 AM
Atletico Madrid’s clash with Juventus has the makings of a tense nail-biter, where one mistake (or piece of brilliance) could decide the tie.
Only Real Madrid have managed to beat Atleti at the Wanda Metropolitano this season, and Diego Simeone’s men – as is often the case – have the best defence in Spain, conceding just 17 times in La Liga.
This said, Juve have the best defence (and attack) in Italy; The Old Lady have incredibly conceded two fewer goals than their Spanish counterparts, making this two-legged tie an intriguing prospect.
For this reason, there’s really good value in the anytime goalscorer market, and that’s where our best bet lies. A result looks impossible to call here (though if you twisted my arm I’d go for a draw), so it’s perhaps best to approach that market with caution, but there’s one Atletico player who you can generally bank on to score.
The man who I’m backing to score at any time – priced at a healthy $3.10* – is Antoine Griezmann.
It seems like the Frenchman is Atleti’s only source of goals these days, but with strikes in 10 of their last 13 matches in all competitions, that burden is being shouldered with aplomb.
No side has been able to prevent Atleti from scoring at home this season, and if they are able to find their way past Wojciech Szczęsny on Wednesday, it’ll almost certainly be Griezmann doing the damage.