Champions League 2018–19: Week Three Preview
We’re on to round three of this season’s Champions League and even at this early stage, the group tables are starting to take shape. We’ve also seen some high scoring affairs and already, it’s looking likely that the clubs will break the goals to game record that was set last season.
This week carries some important matches where some sides can effectively confirm their place in the knockouts while others have to win to avoid complete elimination or a drop down into the Europa League after Christmas.
Group E Showdown
Tuesday evening’s matches get underway at 5.55pm UK time with an important tie over in Greece as AEK Athens host Bayern Munich. The German giants are struggling to maintain their dominance in the Bundesliga and, having drawn with Ajax in the last round, Bayern are second in the group and need to win this.
They have the backing of the bookmakers here with Bayern Munich favourites for the win at best odds of 5/19 with SportingBet, followed by the draw at a top price of 11/2 with William Hill and a win for AEK at a best of 25/2 with MarathonBet.
Top of the table Ajax will be looking to maintain their positive start to the season when they host Benfica. This is a much tighter market but that impressive opening to the campaign sees Ajax as favourites at best odds of 21/20 with Black Type, followed by the draw at a top price of 45/17 with Unibet and a win for Benfica out at a best of 71/25 with MarathonBet.
Group H Leaders Face Off
One of the most intriguing ties of the night takes place at Old Trafford where Manchester United face Juventus in Group H. Juve have taken their perfect run in the league through to the UCL and sit top of the table with six points from two matches while United are in second place, two points behind.
With Valencia rated as 21/20 favourites to beat Young Boys earlier in the evening, this is looking like a must win for Jose Mourinho’s men. Juve, with former United favourite Cristiano Ronaldo likely to line up in their ranks, are favourites at best odds of 121/100 with MarathonBet, followed by the draw at 23/10 with BetBright and a victory for the home side at a top price of 5/2 with 888Sport.
Points Needed in Group F
After dominating the English Premier League last season, some bookmakers had Manchester City listed as their favourites in the outright tournament betting but defeat last time out to Lyon leaves Pep Guardiola’s men in second place in Group F.
On Tuesday, City make the long trip to Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk as they seek the win that will get their campaign back on track. Manchester City have come unstuck here in the past but they are hot favourites for the win here at best odds of 43/100 with MarathonBet.
Pointless in Group B
We now move to Wednesday and after a positive campaign last season that saw them take four points from Real Madrid, Tottenham Hotspur were confident of progressing to the knockouts once again. However, two games in and Spurs have not secured a single point so their trip to PSV Eindhoven is looking like a must win.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men have the backing of the bookies and are odds on in places while the best available odds stand at Even Money with 10Bet. Victory for PSV follows at a top price of 11/4 with Boylesports while the draw completes this one at a best of 29/10 with 188Bet.
Group C – the Group of Death
With Napoli, Liverpool and PSG put together in Group C, it seemed as though things would be tight and that’s certainly proving to be the case. After two games, Napoli have a slender lead with four points, followed by Liverpool and PSG on three while Crvena Zvezda have picked up a point at the bottom and could have an ultimate say in this section.
On Wednesday, Liverpool host Crvena Zvezda and their task looks to be simple enough with Jurgen Klopp’s men available at best odds of 1/14 with Black Type for the win. The draw is quoted at a top price of 14/1 with William Hill while the same bookmaker has the away victory way out at 40/1.
The biggest game in this section therefore, is the clash between PSG and Napoli in Paris. The Italian side may top the group but the bookmakers can only see this going one way with the French hosts listed as favourites at best odds of 19/40 with Betway.
The draw is the second option here at a top price of 85/20 with MarathonBet while a win for Napoli completes the betting at a best of 11/2 with Ladbrokes and Coral. It’s a tough call in what looks to be the most crucial game in round three of this season’s Champions League.
There are 16 games in total to be played out on Tuesday and Wednesday so it’s impossible to go in depth on each and every one but we’ve highlighted the most important games and the ones where we think there is some value to be found.
The first game that really stands out is at Old Trafford where Manchester United face Juventus: For many, this is the tie of the round and, with odds against prices on all three options, there will be plenty of support for Juve at 121/100 with MarathonBet. However, while United have been disappointing this season, they have the knack of raising their game when it’s needed and we like the look of those 23/10 odds on the draw.
The other tie that attracts our interest is in Paris where PSG host Napoli. The home side may have demolished Red Star Belgrade last time out but they are not infallible and, if Neymar can be kept quiet, this is another match where the outside bet has a great chance of taking a share of the points.
- Manchester United v Juventus: The Draw at 23/10 with Betway
- PSG v Napoli: The Draw at 85/20 with MarathonBet