Lille v Chelsea
You could argue that these two sides were hard done by on matchday 1. Ross Barkley missed a penalty in Chelsea’s home defeat to Valencia, the hosts outshot Los Che 14-7 and were surprisingly profligate. Lille on the other hand lost 3-0 at Ajax but that was far from the full story as Les Dogues actually won the expected goals battle 2-1.5 in Amsterdam.
They were superb last season, finishing runners up to champions PSG under the wiley tutelage of Christophe Galtier. Galtier has made the modern Stade Pierre-Mauroy a fortress, they’ve won 74% of their home games since the start of last season and teams do not like going there.
Sure, the likes of Nicolas Pepe and Rafael Leao left in the summer but they’ve still got the two Jonathon’s, Bamba and Ikone, who are excellent as wide forwards. Pre season signing Victor Omishen has been on fire and more than filled the Pepe void, the Nigerian has bagged 6 already this campaign.
Yusuf Yazici starred for Trabzonspor last season and was one of the top 3 players in Turkey, he adds quality in advanced midfield. I’m a huge fan of their options in holding midfield with Xeka, Benjamin Andre and Boubakary Soumare. Whichever of them play will provide a solid base for the hosts, they help this side be a solid defensive unit at home.
Lille at 3.750 look big in my eyes and that brings in the 1.850 with a +0.5 start on the asian handicap which also appeals greatly. I’m not fully convinced by this Chelsea side, at the back at least, and their young forward plays have no champions league experience.
Lille are excellent on home turf and the grounds reaction when they secured champions league football towards the end of last season showed just how much this means to them. I think they’ve been underrated here and I’ll back them to avoid defeat at a fair price.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Lille +0.5 at 1.860
Barcelona v Inter Milan
There seems to be a lot of high goal lines on matchday two and I’m happy to go against the markets thinking given the set lines. This game sees the asian totals set at a flat 3 and I’m much more inclined to take the unders here.
The main reason is Antonio Conte. The new Inter manager prefers a risk-averse set up when going away from home, Inter have shown their defensive discipline already this season and trust Conte to have his troops well drilled.
His record in the Champions League doesn’t inspire much confidence and I’d expect his eyes will be firmly on the Serie A title. That being said they won’t come here and open up, they’ll try maintain a slightly off colour Barca side.
Leo Messi is a doubt for the Catalans and without him a large goal threat is omitted and I’m not sure the price in the goal markets has factored that in. Another big blow for Barca is the fact Jordon Alba is unlikely to be fit for this clash, he’s long been a vital cog in this well-oiled machine.
Without the cleverness of that duo they could struggle to unlock a solid 5-3-2 formation with little space in the centre of the pitch. Whilst all are excellent players in their own right, a midfield three of Sergio Busquets, Artur and Frenkie De Jong doesn’t look a particularly creative threat or a goal threat for that matter.
With 1.890 on under 3 goals, the only way we lose money is if four or more goals are scored. Barcelona have seen fewer than four goals in their last four games whereas five of Inter’s last six games have seen 3 or fewer goals scored.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: under 3.00 goals at 1.890
Slavia Prague v Dortmund
Sticking in Group F I’m happy to swerve a goal heavy game in the early kick off between Czech champions Slavia Prague and German giants Borussia Dortmund.
When we think of Dortmund adjectives such as ‘exciting’, ‘entertaining’ and ‘open’ come to mind, and for the most part they’re still relevant ways to describe them. However, they’ve struggled for goals in this competition recently, failing to score in five of their last six champions league clashes. They’ve also been relatively tight at the back too which is unlike them, no surprise that five of their last six UCL games have also seen under 2.5 goals cop too.
Holding midfielders Thomas Delaney and Axel Witsel provide a decent base for their exuberant front four, they’re key to the balance of this side. The likes of Marco Reus, Jadon Sancho and Pavo Alcacer can be electric on their day but I think they’ll find it hard against a tough to break down Slavia outfit.
BVB like to play in open games on big pitches with space to exploit on the counter. I’m not sure they’re going to get that as they travel to the right and compact Sibolo Stadium in the Czech capital. Slavia Prague will set up in that tight, compact manner too you’d imagine. They’ve been utilising a 4-3-1-2 formation which gives them plenty of legs in the middle of the park.
They’ve been superb defensively this season, keeping 11 clean sheets in 14. This is a step up in class but they’ll fancy their chances of upsetting the odds and at least making this competitive. Their last seven UCL games have also seen fewer than 3 goals.
Under 2.5 goals at 2.300 looks a bit too big but I’ll take a slightly more conservative approach and plump for the 1.850 on under 3 goals on the asian totals. It just gives us an added layer of insurance with a refund should exactly 3 goals be scored.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: under 3.00 goals at 1.850
Preview by: TomLove_18