Champions League betting: Madrid derby kicks-off battle for 2016-17 title

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Updated: May 2, 2017

The semi-final draw for the UEFA Champions League again matched the two teams from the Spanish capital, with Real to host Atlético in a derby match-up and the first leg of this rematch of the 2014 and 2016 finals; overall record: 50-5-35, +28.25 units

 

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UEFA Champions League semi-final, first leg: Real Madrid (Spain) v Atlético Madrid (Spain)
Where: Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain
When: Wednesday, May 3, 4.45am (AET)
Prices: Real $1.75, Atlético $5.00, DRAW $3.60

Confirmed bets: -2.5/total (two units @ $1.75); correct score/first half 0-0 (one unit @ $3.00)

TIW says: Holders Real Madrid CF could scarcely face a more familiar foe as they continue their bid to become the first team to successfully defend the UEFA Champions League title with a semi-final against neighbours Club Atlético de Madrid – the side they beat in the finals of 2014 and 2016. Real Madrid have won four of their seven European matches against Atlético, losing only one, and have ended their city rivals’ Champions League hopes in each of the past three seasons. This is a fifth European tie for Real Madrid and Atlético, all in the European Cup, with Madrid having won all four previous ties.

Madrid are through to their seventh successive Champions League semi-final, a competition record. It will be their 12th semi-final appearance in total, also a record. The Merengues have won five Champions League semi-finals, and went on to win the trophy on each occasion. Real boss Zinedine Zidane has been boosted by the news that Raphael Varane is fit after a hamstring injury. However, fellow centre-half Pepe is not available. Zidane refused to be drawn on whether Isco or James Rodriguez would replace the injured Gareth Bale.

 

Atlético look like they will have defensive problems at the Bernabeu, with Jose Gimenez and Juanfran likely to miss. With Sime Vrsaljko already out, centre-half Gimenez was filling in at right-back for Juanfran against Las Palmas on Saturday when he was injured. Without any right-back available, Diego Simeone could play Stefan Savic in the position and bring youngster Lucas Hernandez into the middle, although it is unlikely he would break up the Savic-Diego Godin partnership for such a big game. Atlético have reached the semi-finals of the Champions League for the third time in four seasons.

They had never reached that stage previously. Simeone’s side have been in commanding form of late, winning eight of their past 10 league games and rediscovering some of the trademark defensive grit that appeared to be ebbing away at stages earlier in the campaign. Tellingly, the 5-0 win over Las Palmas last weekend was their 15th clean sheet of 2017. Los Colchoneros are unbeaten in 15 away matches (across all competitions) and held their city rivals at the Bernabéu just last month. Atlético have kept 27 clean sheets in 46 Champions League games under Simeone since 2013-14.

 

Most recent results: 1-0-1, +0.1 units

FC Barcelona v Juventus FC +3.5/total (two units @ $2.00) LOSE (0-0)
AS Monaco WIN v Borussia Dortmund (one unit @ $3.10) WIN (3-1)

 

 

• Selections are listed in three categories – 1) Suggested (likely bet but yet to be finalised); 2) Confirmed (locked in at the price listed); and 3) Leans (tips, but not recommended bets); all times quoted are Australian Eastern Time (AET); prices with thanks to Bet365 (except where markets are not available), correct at time of publication. Results/comments on today’s games/races will follow in the next post.

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