Champions League Last 16 Betting: PSG could be the round's big flops
Jamie Pacheco looks at the five most appetising Last 16 Champions League ties taking place over the next few weeks and picks out the best bets...
Atletico Madrid v Liverpool
Liverpool on course to go all the way
These are two sides who know a thing or two about getting to Champions League finals over the past few years. Atletico were there for the 2013-14 and 2015-16 editions, only to find Real Madrid a little too good or a little too fortunate (whichever way you want to look at it) for them on both occasions. Liverpool lost the 2017/18 final but made the most of their final appearance last season.
On the domestic front the Spaniards are having a typical Atletico season, very hard to beat but not winning enough matches to be fighting for the La Liga title. They're 13 points off leaders Barcelona and their main objective now will be to overtake Getafe (three clear of them) and secure third.
As for Liverpool, it's hard to know what to say that hasn't been said before. It seems only a couple of injuries in key areas (goalkeeper and central defence in particular) could threaten to derail them because at the moment they can do the lot.
If you don't like the 1.34 on them qualifying, maybe you should consider the 5.80 they go on to win it again. With two or three big-name teams likely to crash out this stage, that price won't be around for much longer. Quite why they're bigger than Man City (5.60) is anyone's guess.
Dortmund v PSG
Primed conditions for Parisian to crash out
One of the fancied teams who could go out are PSG. They have an embarrassment of riches upfront including Neymar, Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi but whoever is left out on a particular day will be grumbling away in the background and that can't be the happiest of dressing rooms. Then there was Neymar's lavish birthday party that didn't go down well with the manager and Mbappe throwing a strop when having started a recent match, he read Thomas Tuchel the Riot Act when he had the audacity to sub him.
Besides, haven't we been here before? PSG's star-studded team messing up a tie they've gone into as favourites for?
Dortmund are currently in a four-way fight for the Bundesliga title and have in Erling Braut Haaland just about the most in-form striker in Europe.
He's got eight goals in five games for Dortmund since arriving in January, eight in this competition scored for Red Bull Salzburg and 32 for the season in 27 games. The arrival of Emre Can (also in January) will give the more muscle in midfield and all in all this looks like one of the stronger squads they've had in recent years. They look a good price at 3.25 to knock out the unpredictable and perennially disappointing French outfit.
Chelsea v Bayern Munich
Stamford Bridge set for goals
The fact that for a change Bayern are actually having to fight for the Bundesliga title may actually play into their hands. In previous seasons being ten points clear at this stage of the season meant their intensity levels fell at the key moments in the Champions League because they'd been in cruise control on the domestic front for so long.
Then again, the fact they're struggling (by their standards) suggests the squad isn't as good as the one from the past two seasons.
It may however be a bit too much of an ask for Chelsea's youngsters to take them out. There's still a lot of experience and class in Bayern's starting XI so the obvious but sensible bet is that the first leg in London, between two such attack-minded sides, has over 2.5 goals, a 1.65 shot.
Real Madrid v Manchester City
First blood Real
With the title gone and second place almost guaranteed, at least City won't have any excuses for not making this competition an even bigger priority than usual.
But just as the likes of Aymeric Laporte are returning to full fitness, they've lost Raheem Sterling to an injury that should keep him out for at least a couple of weeks, with it being nip-tuck as to whether he makes the first leg. There's also always a nagging feeling that if Sergio Aguero is sidelined once again with yet another muscular injury, that could be their campaign gone up in smoke.
Last 16 opponents Real Madrid are in form at the moment. They've won their last six in the league and veteran Karim Benzema is rolling back the years and scoring big goals in big games, while manager Zinedine Zidane is no stranger to knowing how to come out on top in do-or-die ties in the Champions League.
City might just be too good for them in the end but it could well be first blood Real in Spain, with the home win a 2.60 chance.
Napoli v Barcelona
Barca look under-prepared for European glory
Having been so consistent over the past few seasons in Serie A and almost always finishing in the Top 4, Napoli are currently down in ninth.
Manager Gennaro Gattuso looks to be one of those guys who keeps on getting good gigs because of the player he was and the fact he talks a good game, because he's yet to pull up any trees at any of the clubs he's been at.
Still, their attacking options include Fernando Llorente, Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne, Jose Callejon and Arkadiusz Milik, all very capable and all bringing something very different to the table. Of those, it's Milik who's having the best season in terms of goals.
He has nine in the league and three in four appearances in the Champions League. This is the first season in many where he hasn't been plagued by injuries, is showing us all what he's all about and might be worth a look on the anytime goalscorer market.
As for Barca, you'd never completely write off a side with their resources or pedigree to go all the way but the mid-season change of manager is a minus point and they're far from being at their fluent best. Napoli shouldn't be a problem but the 3.45 on them making the final is too short to me and that looks a decent lay.
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