Recapping UEFA Champions League first leg of Round of 16
After the first leg of the UEFA Champions League games are now on the books, sports betting websites are now shifting their lines to the second leg of the Round of 16 in Soccer’s top club competition. We saw a fair share of the favorites prevail, and in some cases virtually seal their spot on the next round, but we also saw some surprises and drama saved for the next games that will take place on March.
The Spanish powerhouses Real Madrid and Barcelona, managed to score important wins on the road against their rivals and take comfortable leads that will make them certified favorites for fans betting on soccer. Real Madrid escaped the Stadio Olimpico de Roma with a 2-0 win against the Italian side of AS Roma. What was even better news for the merengues is that superstar Cristiano Ronaldo managed to score on an away game and be the main man on the attack. Barcelona, on the other hand went to London and with a convincing second half from the attacking triple threat pulled away 2 goals from Arsenal, virtually sealing their passport for the quarterfinals. Lio Messi proved to be perhaps the best player on the planet netting to goals. Sports betting sites will have both Spanish teams as heavy favorites when they play at home for the second leg of this round.
The most thrilling encounter of the first leg of the Round of 16 was that thrilling match between the Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich and the Serie A tittle holders Juventus. The German side had the series almost in the bag with a 2-goal lead (Müller and Robben), but the Italian side managed to tie the game thanks to the appearance of sub players Storari and Dybala. This series will be settled in Munich with the Italian side looking to score quick and soon while sustaining a clean sheet, a very difficult task indeed.
The Belgian side KAA Gent suffered a tough loss at home against Wolfsburg 3-2. While the game was very disputed, and it was just a goal of difference, the Buffalos will resent that the Germans managed to score three times at Belgium. Wolfsburg will need to play smart with KAA Gent’s need to score more than one goal, as it could mean more spaces back on defense. Wolfsburg will very likely be +2 favorites at sports betting sites.
Manuel Pellegrini’s strategy for Manchester City proved to be highly effective as they were able to come back from Kiev with a 3-1 win against Dynamo. The Manchester City coach came back after a smashing loss in the FA Cup against Chelsea (5-1), drawing criticism from the local press because of his decision of saving his starters for the European competition. His gamble paid off as Manchester City took a commanding lead that almost has the English side with more than one foot on the quarterfinals.
Perhaps the most open series of the Round of 16 and the one that could be more attractive to wager on at sports betting sites is the Atletico Madrid and PSV Eindhoven series. These two sides clashed at Philips Stadion to a gridlocked 0-0 draw that has left all the drama for the second leg of the series. Fans betting on soccer could argue that Madrid has somewhat of an advantage coming into this decisive game being at home, but PSV managed to do the second best thing when it comes to playing at this stage, keep a clean sheet at home. This leaves the pressure on Atleti’s side, as they will be forced to stop the dutch squad from scoring in this game. However, under the guidance of Diego Simeone, the rojiblanco team will be the overall favorites to make it to the quarterfinals.