UEFA Champions League betting: Euro giants to clash on opening night

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Updated: September 12, 2017

UEFA Champions League group stage action kicks-off tonight across the continent with Groups A, B, C and D scheduled for matchday 1 contests. Euro giants Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Manchester United are all at home for their opening match-ups but there’s a standout game as Barcelona start the new UEFA Champions League season as they ended the old – with a visit from familiar foes Juventus.

 

UEFA Champions League matchday 1, Group D: FC Barcelona v Juventus FC
Where: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
When: Wednesday, September 13, 4.45am (AET)
Prices: Barcelona $1.61, Juventus $5.00, DRAW $4.20

Confirmed bet: Juventus/double chance (three units @ $2.15)

TIW says: Catalunya is normally sunny and warm at this early point of the autumn but unseasonably grey and wet conditions – familiar to Juventus – await the giants of Italian football as the journey to Barcelona for the opening night of Champions League football for 2017-18. It’s a clear highlight on matchday 1 as last season’s quarter-finalists renew hostilities just five months after their most recent meeting, which ended in favour of Juventus 3-0 across two legs. The Bianconeri held out for a goalless draw at the Camp Nou in the quarter-final second leg after a 3-0 victory on home soil. Juve went all the way to the final but were unable to get the better of Real Madrid, going down 4-1 in Cardiff. These teams also met in the 2015 UEFA Champions League final in Berlin, where Barcelona triumphed 3-1 to claim the trophy for a fifth time.

 

Incredibly, the two teams are exactly level in their nine encounters – three wins, three draws and three defeats apiece with 10 goals for and against. Barcelona are unbeaten in 21 matches at home in this competition, a run that started in September 2013 (W19 D2). Barca have had a perfect start to the La Liga season (with an aggregate of 9-0), but this is a big step up from Betis, Alaves and Espanyol, and the more helpful form line might well be the Spanish Super Cup in August, in which Barca were comprehensively outplayed by Real Madrid. Remember that Neymar left the Blaugrana in the off-season and now wears the colours of Paris Saint-Germain. The draw at Barcelona was the only one of Juve’s six away games in last season’s competition that they failed to win, with five clean sheets and just one goal conceded to 12 scored.

 

After losing 3-2 to SS Lazio in the Italian Super Cup on August 13, Juventus have started their pursuit of a seventh successive Serie A title (yes, seven) with three wins in as many games, beating AC Chievo Verona 3-0 on Saturday. Their 3-1 defeat to Roma on May 14 is the only loss in their past 22 Serie A fixtures. Paulo Dybala (pictured above) has scored seven goals in four club appearances this season, including a hat-trick in the 4-2 success at Genoa on August 26 – a game in which Juve were 2-0 down after seven minutes. Leo Bonucci was the big summer departure, but despite that, their squad looks significantly stronger, with Medhi Benatia, Mattia De Sciglio and Benedikt Howedes all arriving while Douglas Costa, Blaise Matuidi and Federico Bernardeschi add further depth. The seasoned Italian outfit offer staggering value in this spot given their Champions League experience.

 

Other confirmed bets

Group A: Benfica WIN v CSKA Moscow (two units @ $1.70)
Group C: Chelsea -2/hcp v FK Qarabag (one unit @ $2.25)
Group C: Roma v Atlético Madrid -1.5/total (one unit @ $3.00)

 

Tonight’s other games

Group A: Manchester United v FC Basel
Group B: Celtic v Paris Saint Germain
Group B: Bayern Munich v RSC Anderlecht
Group D: Olympiakos v Sporting Lisbon

 

 

• 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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