Real Madrid v Roma – Santiago Bernabeu Stadium at 19:45 live on BT Sport Europe
The UEFA Champions League returns to our BT Sport Europe screens this week, although if media reports are to be believed, there is not that many people actually watching Europe’s most prestigious club competition since its move from Sky to BT.
Regardless of the media digging around for a story about how the competition may look in the future, it is and always has been the pinnacle of club football in Europe. No club has won the trophy more than Real Madrid and the 10 time winners look set fair to advance through to the quarter-finals once again.
I previewed the first leg of this Last 16 clash a few weeks ago and Zinedine Zidane’s team landed us a good value winner by covering their -0.5 Asian Handicap, in a comfortable 2-0 victory in Rome.
This week, I was again surprised to see that the value (and huge value at that) in the markets is on Real Madrid despite the first leg outcome and both teams form in the competition.
Real come into the match with a record of W7 D2 L1 of their last 10 games in all competitions and given that the solitary loss was a 1-0 defeat against neighbours Atletico Madrid in the Derby, you can see that only the very best teams in Europe, can be considered a real threat to Real.
This will be Real’s eighth game in the Champions League this season and so far they have won seven and drawn one of their games at Europe’s top table. In fact, only Shakhtar Donetsk have managed to find the net against Zidane’s team and that was in their home game against the Spanish giants.
Real faced PSG during the group stage and managed to shut them out in both games, so facing a Roma side who have somehow reached this stage of the tournament by winning just one of their seven games so far, will hold no fears for Cristiano Ronaldo and company.
To add to their obvious superiority heading into this deciding second leg match, Real will be licking their lips over Roma’s dire away record in the Champions League this season. So far they have, P3 W0 D1 L2 and they have conceded and incredible 13 goals in those 3 games!
However, Roma’s current domestic form is vastly improved since the end of January, they have won seven straight Serie A matches, culminating in an impressive 4-1 win over Fiorentina last Friday night.
That result saw Luciano Spalletti’s side move clear into the third and final Champions League qualification place in Serie A. It would be a huge upset if they were able to overturn a two goal deficit in Madrid, but their league form will have boosted their confidence and there is nothing to lose tomorrow night.
But, with Real Madrid now a distant 12 points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona, the club’s focus will be well and truly on the Champions League and that could spell trouble for the visitors tomorrow and any other team they face in pursuit of further European glory.
Plus, with the likes of Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Marcelo all returning or close to returning from injury, Los Blancos could well be set to go all the way in the Champions League once again.
As indicated earlier, the value in the betting markets is all with home side, based on my model and combined with the two teams respective Champions League form, I have no trouble in recommending another comfortable win for Real Madrid.
At home this season they have covered the -1.5 Asian Handicap line in 11 of 15 matches and with only 10 goals (4 by Barcelona) conceded in front of their own fans all season, a 2-0 victory should be the minimum margin of victory at the Santiago Bernabeu tomorrow night.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Real Madrid -1.5 at 2.12
Prices correct at the time of writing.
Eastbridge Soccer Betting Broker, winners welcome.