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We are halfway through the first leg of the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League, with all of the favorites emerging victorious last week. Real Madrid bested Roma 2-0 in the only game decided by more than one goal. Paris SG, Benfica, and Wolfsburg were the other victors, with those four clubs now having a better chance of advancing heading into the second leg, which takes place the second week of March.
There are four more first-leg matches, with two games being played on Tuesday, February 23rd and two more the following day on Wednesday, February 24th. The two teams pegged by online sportsbooks to win it all are both in action Tuesday.
Barcelona is a +200 favorite to win it all, and they are a big -165 choice to beat Arsenal, who is returning a hefty 4:1 payout with a big upset. Even a draw would be a surprise, returning a 3:1 payday, and combined with an over/under of 3 goals, the online sportsbooks are looking for the tournament favorite to win this one in convincing fashion.
After Barcelona, Bayern Munich is the next choice to win it all, returning a +225 payout. But unlike Barcelona, the FCB has a much tougher task on Tuesday. The majrity of online sportsbooks do list Bayern Munich as the favorite, but with a +150 return for a victory while Juventus will net a +195 payday for the win. Juventus will be playing on their home field, and if Bayern Munich can even earn a draw it would be considered a favorable result. The draw is returning the best payday on the board at +215 – an attractive wager considering the stakes.
Both soccer betting favorites are obviously expected to advance to the next round, and are laying heavy odds to do so. Barcelona is -500 to advance, while Bayern Munich is -400. Remember, in moneyline wagering, you have to lay that number (in dollars) to win $100, so backing Barcelona to advance to the next round means you would have to wager $500 in order to win $100.
Manchester City will likely be the English Premier League’s best chance to send a team through to the next round, as City is a big -500 favorite to advance. They are also a +115 favorite to best Dynamo Kiev on Wednesday (+235 payouts for the Ukraine team to upset as well as +235 for a draw). Manchester City is a +950 longshot to win the tournament – far better than EPL counterparts Arsenal (28:1) and Chelsea (23:1).
The other match being played on Wednesday pits Athletico Madrid against PSV Eindhoven, with the Spanish side a hefty -130 choice to emerge victorious. Athletic Madrid shares an identical +950 future payout with Manchester City for their tournament future odds. If the Netherlands side can pull the upset they will return a +375 payout (draw pays +230).
We’ll be back to preview the second leg of the Champions League Tournament in a few weeks.