Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Round 5 Champions League Picks (Part II)

Yesterday was a decent day on the pitch, and you will never hear me complain about hitting 5 and missing 3. The trouble with betting every match is there are going to be some bets you don't like. Yesterday (in retrospect), the Roma/CSKA over and Shakhtar were those bets. Oh well. Can't dwell on it - there are games to bet today, and we're going for all of 'em.

Early Game (12pm)

Benfica @ Zenit
Pick: Zenit ML (Even)
Zenit have been really disappointing. They did extremely well (at least in my memory) in qualifying, but have scored only 3 goals in 4 matches. As it stands, they are on the outside looking in. They need a big home win to keep the dream alive, and Russia's best team should get a boost from the home crowd.

Late Games (2:45pm)

Galatasaray @ Anderlecht
Pick: Anderlecht Pick'em (-185)
These two teams stink! They have no hope of advancing (that will be Dortmund and Arsenal from this group). But I committed to picking every  game, so here we are. Through 4 games, they have conceded 9 and 13 goals respectively (while scoring only 5 and 3). To pile on the stink even further, the only player you have ever heard of on either of these teams (Wesley Sneijder) is fighting with the manager about playing time, and the rumor mill has him headed for Manchester United. I hate everything about this game, but I'll take the home team with less drama (and the protection against a draw).

Dortmund @ Arsenal
Picks: Dortmund Pick'em (-105) and Over 2.5 (-155)
Even with a head-to-head win, Arsenal cannot pass Dortmund in the table in this match. Dortmund have 4 wins in 4 tries, scoring 13 goals and conceding just 1. This is the match of the day so I gave you two picks - Dortmund is just in better form, and I expect something in the 3-1 or 3-2 range in their favor (but again, I like the protection against a 2-2 draw).

Olympiacos @ Atletico Madrid
Pick: Atletico -1 (-165)
Everyone is still alive in Group A, although Juve could essentially eliminate Malmo with a win in Sweden today. This matchup between the top two teams is an easy pick - Atletico are +7 and Old Limp Yakovs are -1. Easy. I almost went with -1.5 (+120), but I like the safety.

Juventus @ Malmo
Pick: Juve -1.5 (-125)
Confession time: I love Paul Pogba. I don't necessarily think Juventus are two goals better than Malmo, but I'm comfortable betting on Pogba/Tevez/Pirlo/Vidal and as this sentence goes on I like this pick more and more. Forza Juve!

Liverpool @ Ludogorets
Pick: Ludogorets Win/Draw (Even)
The second depressing match of the day. Neither team has a realistic shot at advancing, and even if they did they haven't been playing like teams that stand a chance against anyone. I'll use the same logic here and take the team with less drama.

Real Madrid @ Basel
Pick: Real -1.5 (-115)
The Bale/Ronando/Hames trio (and the other 8 guys) don't need a win. They don't even need a draw. They just need to not lose by 9 goals, and they clinch first place in the group. They just have a murderer's row of great soccer players. Even behind the big three (and with the All-World caliber players they're missing), their roster looks like a FIFA 2015 roster if you turned off the salary cap.

Monaco @ Bayer Leverkusen
Pick: Parlay Over 1.5 (-350) and Under 3.5 (-275) for a ML of -132
The Germans clinch first place with a win. Monaco moves to third place behind Zenit/Benfica if they lose. Both teams are going to be motivated, and this will probably be the second best match of the day. What worries me about this game: Monaco have won 1-0, lost 0-1, and drawn 0-0 twice. For what it's worth, that win was against Leverkusen. I got crafty with the pick because I have no idea how this game is going to turn out. Parlaying those two means we hit a nice payout of there are a total of 2 or 3 goals. The final will probably be 1-0 or 5-4. I hate betting.

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