UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Betting Advice

We’re into the knockout stages of the Champions League tournament, and there are some perennial favorites, some talented newcomers, and a couple teams hoping to ride a wave of good form and good fortune to the promised land of revenue distribution.

Time to preview (most of) the matchups that comprise the Round of 16 and find the smart wagers for the first legs of the two-game aggregate goal series, which take place on Feb. 13, 14, 20, & 21. You can find the odds below at BetOnline.

FC Basel (+675) vs Man City (-250), Draw (+350)

Date: Feb. 13, 2018

This is a little cruel. FC Basel isn’t a bad club, and while we’ve all seen Man City run rampant through the Premier League, this is just one Champions League match. FC Basel is a titch underrated at +675, and -250 is too short for Man City.

Man City lost to Shakhtar just two weeks ago, remember? Sure, that was a thrown-together squad, and sure, Man City did control the ball for the majority of the game, but the fact remains: just because you don’t lose a game for 226 days doesn’t mean you can’t lose on 227.

Betting Tip: FC Basel (+675) and the draw (+350) are both slightly underrated here.

Juventus (-110) vs Tottenham (+275), Draw (+240)

Date: Feb. 13, 2018

Again, the underdog is being underestimated. There aren’t many strikers in this tournament better than Harry Kane, and the likelihood that Tottenham produce an upset here is higher than the oddsmakers think.

Juventus, as last year’s runner up, gets a lot of credit from fans and sportsbooks, alike. Part of that is deserved: Juve has a fantastic defense and an underrated, top-quality striking pair in Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala. Part of it is just recency bias and brand name.

Betting Tip: Tottenham (+275) is the value pick.

Real Madrid (+110) vs Paris Saint-Germain (+215), Draw (+250)

Date: Feb. 14, 2018

This is a fairly accurate line, but you can’t help but think that PSG is a little overrated, what with all their splashy transfers. PSG has the potential to be the best squad in the world, but that hasn’t quite materialized in Neymar’s first year. Getting positive odds for Real Madrid against pretty much anybody is an opportunity to grab at. The Spanish side seems to build their whole team around success at this level specifically, and for all Cristiano Ronaldo’s hype, he does seem to be on a different level in Champions League play.

Betting Tip: Real (+110) is the best line you’re going to see for the club for a long time.

FC Porto (+195) vs Liverpool (+120), Draw (+240)

Date: Feb. 14, 2018

I think this is upside-down. Porto is really good, their 5-2 win against Monaco was very impressive, and it’s not an accident they’ve made it this far. Liverpool’s seven goals against Spartak Moscow are going to draw a lot of eyes, sure, and I’m just as scared of Philippe Coutinho as you are. But I still worry.

There is, of course, the chance that Liverpool puts on another fireworks show and wins by four goals. But there’s an equal chance that Iker Casillas is in great form, Liverpool’s consistent inconsistency rears its head, and something a little unexpected happens.

Betting Tip: Porto (+195) might be a bargain.

Leo Messi, pre-beard
Barcelona’s Lio Messi celebrating a goal (Photo: Lluis (CC License))

Chelsea (+220) vs Barcelona (+105), Draw (+240)

Date: Feb. 20, 2018

This line seems about dead on the money. Barcelona and Chelsea are both fantastic teams, among the favorites to win the tournament outright, and they’d be even more so if they didn’t get each other so early in the draw.

There is a subset of football bettors that just put money on Barcelona regardless of the odds because they have unerring confidence in Leo Messi. This isn’t totally unwarranted, but it occasionally creates value on the other side; there isn’t the same air of inevitability around the defending Premier League champions.

Betting Tip: Chelsea (+220) is likely the best value available here, but this line is extremely sharp.

Bayern Munchen (-500) vs Besiktas (+1000), Draw (+550)

Date: Feb. 20, 2018

Besiktas did a fantastic job making it to this stage of the tournament, and it’s unfortunate that they square off against such a formidable opponent in the opening round. Besiktas fans should be very encouraged by this historic campaign nonetheless

As crazy as it sounds, this wild line actually overrates Besiktas somewhat and underrates a draw. It’s hard to imagine any scenario not involving a bus accident that causes Bayern to lose this game outright. The line of -500 for Bayern is about as accurate as it gets, so the only real value here is in a draw.

Betting Tip: Bayern should move on, but a draw (+550) in the first match is the best value available.

Geoff Johnson

MTS co-founder Geoff Johnson is a lifelong Mets fan, something he can't do anything about. He has a great track record when it comes to wagering on baseball – largely because he's more than willing to bet against the Mets. His career profits are impressive, but not quite as good as his handsome friend Frank Lorenzo. He wishes he hadn't let Frank write his profile.