Napoli v Real Madrid – Stadio San Paolo at 19:45 live on BT Sport 3
First up this week is my Champions League Asian Handicap preview of Maurizio Sarri’s Napoli, hosting Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid.
Unfortunately this tie, like a number of others in the Last 16, is all but over after a solid first leg win by Real.
However, Napoli did manage to grab an away goal in Madrid and they are usually very strong at home.
Sarri’s team have had a strong season so far and currently sit third in Serie A, two points behind Roma.
Despite a run of recent poor form the Gil Azzurri, won 2-1 at Roma on Saturday, with the increasingly impressive Dries Mertens bagging both goals.
Marek Hamsik is also having a strong season with 10 goals and 8 assists so far. Plus, Jose Callejon and Lorenzo Insigne have chipped in with 8 goals each.
This array of attacking talent are capable of scoring against anyone and they only need a 2-0 victory to upset the holder’s tomorrow night.
Unfortunately, their recent history in the Champions League performances leave a lot to be desired.
Over the past few seasons their record in this competition is W8 D3 L6 with GF28 and GA29. While, they score a lot, they clearly concede too many goals with these matches averaging 3.35 Goals per Game!
Just one of those six defeats came at home, they have beaten Chelsea, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund in Naples recently.
Los Blancos are the current Champions League holders but the record 11 time winners have not been at their best in the competition this season.
They could only finish as runner up behind Borussia Dortmund in Group F and that left them facing Napoli here.
Alarm bells must have been ringing when Zidane’s side fell behind early at home against Napoli in the first leg.
But, three goals by the 54th minute had swung the tie back in the home teams favour, although the away goal is still a real concern.
Obviously, Real Madrid are the dominant European team when it comes to the Champions League, they have only lost 1 of their last 21 matches in this tournament.
That will not encourage Napoli, but overall Real’s recent away record is nowhere near as impressive; W4 D4 L2.
In terms goals scored in these games they notched 16 times, but they also conceded 13 goals as well. That gives their recent away games in the Champions League an average of 2.90 Goals per Game.
Asian Handicap Prices and Recommendation…
Despite being the home team, Napoli are understandably still underdogs to win the match tomorrow, let alone win by two.
They can be backed at 1.85 on the +0.25 Asian Handicap line with Eastbridge, while the Asian Total Goals line is currently at 3.25.
You can back Over 3.25 Goals at 2.04 and based on the data mentioned, we are likely to see a few goals in this match.
However, I am going to be a little cautious and take Over 3 because if Real score first, this tie really could be over. With Napoli then having no chance of progressing, the game could well die on its feet.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Over 3 Goals at 1.79
Prices correct at time of writing.
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