With the coronavirus pandemic causing a delay to the end of most 2019-20 professional soccer leagues across the globe, the UEFA Champions League has been no different. In addition to delaying some dates, however, this year’s Champions League also received a change in format.
The group and knockout stages were mostly normal this year, with each matchup being played over two games and the aggregate scoring determining who advanced. The quarterfinals, which will be completed over the coming days, are now one game, winner takes all and advance.
With the new format in mind, strategy becomes different as each team has just 90 minutes to put their best foot forward.
Let’s take a look at two matchups I have my eye on where I see some value in this round.
All odds listed provided by our friends over at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Barcelona (+250) vs. Bayern Munich (-105)
Friday, 3:00 PM EST
When Barcelona and Bayern Munich line up to go at it Friday afternoon, not only will two juggernaut franchises be squaring off but two of the game’s best players in Lionel Messi and Thomas Muller will go toe to toe in must-watch TV.
For Barca, the return of Arturo Vidal from suspension should give an already stacked top line an added boost when they need it the most. In addition to Messi and Vidal, Barca needs a big night from the mostly quiet as of late Luis Suarez if they want to compete with this Bayern team.
In addition to Muller, fellow midfielders Goretzka and Thiago could make it a long night for the Barca backline and as the line indicates, dominance could be in short order this go around.
While the odds are too long for my taste in the full match, I think Bayern to be up at the half has some value. They are the clear more talented side this season, and there could be some pinned down value in Barca’s name alone, driving the betting market mistakenly in their direction.
Manchester City (-410) vs. Lyon (+1000)
Saturday, 3:00 PM EST
Though they started too far behind the eight ball in the restart to be able to come back and win the Premier League, Manchester City’s form as of late can’t be ignored. Finishing the season with five straight wins and an average goal differential of over +4, City could be a real problem if they bring that same energy into this tournament.
For Lyon, a sluggish end to their regular season followed up by two losses since, have them trending in the opposite direction and in real danger of bringing that lack of energy into this one.
Looking at a total that I could easily see Man City getting to by themselves, I am hammering the over and looking at any goals from Lyon as an added bonus to this bet.
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