There are only 16 teams remaining in the 2015-16 UEFA Champions League. The two-game, home-and-home series in the Round of 16 will start on February 17 and finish on March 15.
The oddsmakers have clearly signaled who are the strongest squads, and upsets will be a little harder to find at this stage. But there are some intriguing matches on the slate, including Arsenal vs. Barcelona and Juventus vs. Bayern Munich.
Let’s take a look at each matchup and each team’s odds to advance to the quarterfinals:
Champions League Round of 16 Odds
Benfica (+100) vs Zenit (-137)
This is not the most attractive matchup of the Round of 16. Neither team is considered a title contender. However, Zenit, who won five of their six Group Stage games, spent a ton of money in advance of the UCL season and it would be inexcusable to lose this matchup.
- Pick: Zenit.
PSG (-162) vs Chelsea (+125)
This is the third straight season PSG and Chelsea will meet in the knockout stage of the Champions League. But this is the first time that one of them is a clear favorite. The Blues are having a miserable season, domestically, fighting to stay out of the relegation zone in the EPL. They’ve performed better in the UCL, but still should be no match for the powerful French side. If PSG don’t advance to the semifinals, at least, the entire project will be heavily second-guessed by their owners.
- Pick: PSG.
KAA Gent (+200) vs Wolfsburg (-275)
Having a Belgium team in the Round of 16 is a pleasant surprise, but the fairytale for Gent ends here. Like Gent, Wolfsburg also overachieved in the Group Stage, yet the Germans are the better team; they have an offensively loaded roster that eliminated Manchester United with its aggressive, attacking style.
- Pick: Wolfsburg
AS Roma (+333) vs Real Madrid (-500)
These two massive clubs both enter the Round of 16 with new coaches. Roma hired Luciano Spalletti to replace Rudy Garcia; Real Madrid gave Zinedine Zidane the job over Rafa Benitez.
The problem for Roma is that Real Madrid’s roster is one of the best on the planet, and there’s an undeniable gap between the talent on these two teams.
- Pick: Real Madrid.
Arsenal (+333) vs Barcelona (-500)
Arsenal had to fight tooth-and-nail for a spot in the Round of 16 after a horrible start to the Group Stage. Their UCL season doesn’t get any easier now, drawing arguably the best team on the planet, Barcelona. Barca are not only the defending champs, but they come into the Round of 16 in top form, leading La Liga and with all their three strikers, (Neymar, Lio Messi, and Luis Suarez) healthy. If that wasn’t enough, history isn’t on Arsenal’s side, either. These two teams have met twice before in the Champions League playoffs, and Barcelona advanced both times.
- Pick: Barcelona.
Juventus (+275) vs. Bayern Munich (-400)
Juventus reached the UCL final last season, but the offseason brought sweeping changes to the roster. Most experts predicted a sharp decline for the Italian squad – and that looked prescient, off the bat, as Juve struggled in Serie A. Over the last month, though, no Italian team has played better.
Does that mean Juve are poised to post an upset? Possibly. Bayern Munich have arguably the second-best roster in the world after Barca, but they’ve yet to perform well in the UCL playoffs under manager Pep Guardiola. That said, Pep is slated to leave the team this summer, and this is his last chance to bring a European trophy to Bavaria. He should have the squad ready to roll come February.
- Pick: Bayern Munich.
Dynamo Kiev (+225) vs. Manchester City (-300)
Guardiola is rumored to be aiming for Manuel Pellegrini’s job with Manchester City. Pellegrini is trying to cement his spot at the City helm with a Champions League title. He starts off with a fortuitous matchup against Kiev and shouldn’t have any problems advancing to the quarterfinals.
- Pick: Man City.
PSV (+300) vs Atletico Madrid (-450)
Quietly, Atletico Madrid are giving Barcelona a fight in La Liga. Their manager, Diego Simeone, is one of the most underappreciated coaches in the world; his style isn’t appealing to the general public, but it is undeniably effective.
Atletico are the favorite and should advance, but this won’t be the easy matchup that the odds suggest; the Colchoneros don’t have the offense to dominate opponents, and PSV will come in loose as a goose, having already exceeded expectations.
- Pick: Atletico.
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