Champions League Preview 4/13
All times EST
Hi everyone! This article will hopefully help to provide you with an insight into tomorrow’s soccer games. With the help of Statsational’s model, we will analyze where there is value and which spots would be best to avoid. Soccer can be a fickle sport, so I typically stick to smaller (0.25-0.5) units. Also, please note that I am not a coach and thus these picks should always be considered unofficial and for fun. Good luck!
As always, if you have questions about any team or matchup, feel free to ask in the free public #soccer channel on the SBA Discord!
3:00pm: Bayern Munich @ Paris Saint-Germain
The quarterfinals of the Champions League continue tomorrow with a second-leg matchup as Bayern Munich (1st, German Bundesliga) travels to Paris Saint-Germain (2nd, French Ligue 1). In the first leg last week, we backed Bayern Munich, and they absolutely dominated the statline. Bayern had the ball 64% of the time and generated 31 shots (12 on goal) compared to only 6 (5 on goal) for PSG. They earned a whopping 15 corner kicks compared to only 1 for Paris Saint-Germain. Bayern, however, didn’t win the only category that truly matters: goals scored. PSG came away a 3-2 victor and now takes the advantage home to Paris as they look to advance once again to the semifinals.
Bayern Munich certainly won’t lie down easy though, and last year’s champions have to be feeling confident despite the loss. If they are able to once again generate five times as many shots as PSG, it is hard to see Bayern losing two in a row here. They have been the more consistent team all season, and it took a great deal of luck for PSG to take them down in the first leg. If anyone is able to come back from a one-goal deficit, my money would be on a team that has shown time and again they know how to win.
Paris Saint-Germain, on the other hand, are no slouches themselves. Though they have had an inconsistent season, they are finally getting healthy and seem to be finding their form in the French Ligue 1, though they still trail Lille by three points with six games to play. The league race will be far from their minds tomorrow though, as they look to finish off Bayern and earn their revenge from last year’s loss in the Champions League final. With Neymar only getting more fit and the return of Marco Verratti, I think Bayern Munich will have a hard time dominating the possession and shots quite as much as last time. Instead, they will need to find a way to get through PSG goalkeeper Navas, who had 10 saves in the first match last week.
The lines for this game see Bayern Munich as the +115 favorite, while the expert model from Statsationl has them at +127. PSG, on the other hand, is a +200 underdog while the fair line should be +190. This means that we find a small value on PSG to not only seal the overall match but to win this second-leg outright. Personally, I’m not buying it. While it is entirely possible that PSG wins this game, I just don’t think Bayern had any business losing last week and I think their quality will come through tomorrow. With a negative EV of 5%, I don’t love taking them to win at +115. I do, however, like them to advance to the next round which has odds of +220. This is definitely a riskier bet but I think Bayern has a great chance to pull it off so I will be putting 0.25 units on them to advance at +220 odds.
3:00pm: FC Porto @ Chelsea
The next game features Chelsea (5th, English Premier League) hosting FC Porto (2nd, Portuguese Primeira Liga). Though Chelsea is designated as the home side in this one, both legs of this matchup will be played in Seville due to COVID-19 restrictions. Porto has been the Cinderella story of this year’s Champions League, but the clock may be about to strike midnight after a 2-0 “home” defeat to Chelsea in the first leg last week. FC Porto mustered a strong effort in that one despite numerous injuries and was able to generate 12 chances, mainly off of counter-attacks. That has been their M.O. this tournament, with a fast-paced style that looks to catch their opponents off guard. They certainly have their work cut out for them this time as they look to make up the two-goal deficit.
Chelsea, meanwhile, is starting to look like a potential Champions League favorite. If they are able to take care of business against Porto tomorrow, they will meet the winner of Liverpool/Real Madrid (Real leads 3-1 on aggregate). Neither one of those teams has been impressive this season and is certainly a better draw than Man City or the winner of Bayern Munich/PSG. Chelsea has been in excellent form since the hiring of manager Thomas Tuchel a couple of months ago, save for a blip against West Brom when they picked up an early red card. Look for Chelsea to dominate the ball possession again (they had it 60% of the time in the first leg) and play a tight defensive shell to take away Porto’s countering ability.
Chelsea is currently a massive favorite, with a line of -117 compared to +320 for FC Porto. Looking at Statsational’s model, the value is on Chelsea here, who should be an even larger favorite of -191. FC Porto should have a fair line of +739 which means there is absolutely no value on the underdog in this one. While it is definitely risky to take a team that is up by two goals, since they might just play in a defensive shell, I don’t think Tuchel will be content to let his team do that. I think Chelsea will look to continue their winning ways and build momentum heading into both the Champions League semifinals and the final push in the EPL. With a positive 25% EV, I will be betting on Chelsea at -117 odds to win 0.25 units.