Away from the bright lights of the Champions League we start at Turf Moore where there’s a relegation six-pointer in the Premier League…
Dan Fitch says: “A low scoring match seems likely. Burnley are struggling to find the net but they are keeping things pretty tight at the back. Of their last eleven Premier League games, under 2.5 goals has landed on nine occasions.
“That statistic makes the 1.738/11 on offer for under 2.5 goals look rather generous. You can back ‘No’ in the Both Teams To Score market at 1.875/6. That too, seems generous, having also landed in nine of Burnley’s last eleven games.
“When you combine those two wagers in a Bet Builder, with Burnley to avoid defeat in the Double Chance market at 4/11 on the Sportsbook, you can get odds of 2.97.”
Middlesbrough 3.55/2 v Fulham 2.3211/8, the Draw 3.45
Live on Sky Sports Football
Championship table-toppers Fulham bid to end Middlesbrough’s eight-game home winning streak on Wednesday night and our previewer expects and entertaining contest…
Mark O’Haire says: “Middlesbrough have pocketed top honours just twice in their last 11 league meetings with Fulham (W2-D5-L4) and the Teessiders come into Wednesday night’s clash winless in their most recent five match-ups with the Cottagers. Curiously, Boro have also fired blanks in four of the past five head-to-head showdowns at The Riverside against the Whites (W1-D3-L1).
“Middlesbrough were 14th when Chris Wilder took charge in November but have enjoyed an eye-catching revival, collecting the fourth-most Championship points under the new regime (W12-D4-L5). The majority of Boro’s best work has been done on home soil with the hosts looking to extend an exceptional eight-game winning streak here in midweek.
“Fulham have claimed 11 wins from 15 Championship outings since Christmas (W11-D2-L2), plundering an eye-watering 41 goals during that impressive sequence. Marco Silva’s men have proven dominant against the league’s lesser lights, yet the Whites haven’t been quite so consistent against top-15 teams, boasting only four away wins (W11-D5-L5).”
Mark’s bet: Back Both Teams To Score @ 1.804/5
Chelsea 2.1211/10 v Real Madrid 4.1, the Draw 3.45
Live on BT Sport 2
The defending champions meet the most successful club in the competition’s history in a mouthwatering first leg at Stamford Bridge…
Mark O’Haire says: “Chelsea and Real Madrid crossed swords in the Champions League as recently as last season when the pair met in the semi-finals. The Blues were held to a 1-1 draw in the Bernebeu before beating the Spaniards 2-0 at Stamford Bridge en-route to taking title honours. The Blues are unbeaten in five previous continental clashes with Los Blancos (W3-D2-L0).
“Before the Brentford debacle and the international break, Chelsea had reeled off six straight victories across all competitions and had suffered a solitary 90-minute loss in 26 (W16-D9-L1), with that sole reverse arriving against Manchester City. Under Thomas Tuchel, the Blues have bagged six wins from seven home Champions League ties (W6-D0-L1).
“Real Madrid are eight points clear at the top of La Liga yet Los Blancos haven’t often appeared as dominant as the league standings suggest. The Spaniards were outclassed in the recent Clasico against Barcelona and appeared to be suffering a similar fate when facing PSG in the previous round of the Champions League before a remarkable turnaround.”
Our Bet Builder specialist reckons a certain French striker could make the difference for Los Blancos at the Bridge…
Dan Fitch says: “Chelsea are of course defending the Champions League, but right now, the art of defending is not something that they are finding easy. They’ve conceded in three of their last five games and with Real Madrid boasting plenty of firepower, both teams to score seems a good place to start with our Bet Builder. It’s available at 9/10 on the Sportsbook.
“Over 2.5 goals has landed in each of Real Madrid’s last five games. The price of 23/20 therefore seems generous and needs to be added.
“Karim Benzema is Madrid’s main danger. He scored a brace at the weekend, taking his tally for the season to 34 in 35 games. In his current form, the odds of 11/5 for him to score looks huge and completes a treble that pays out at odds of 4.76.”
European football expert Andy Brassell offers a third perspective on the big match at Stamford Bridge…
Andy says: “It would be a surprise to see El Real go into this with the classic Casemiro-Modrić-Kroos midfield, as magnificent as they have been over the years. The legs of Federico Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga (who was excellent in the return with PSG after coming on) could give them a much-needed boost.
“Despite Chelsea’s defensive difficulties against Brentford this is likely to be a cagey, physical affair – and with this Real Madrid holding onto many of the characteristics that Zinedine Zidane instilled in them, we should expect tension to lead the way.”
Villarreal 6.25/1 v Bayern Munich 1.584/7, the Draw 4.77/2
Live on BT Sport 3
Villarreal dumped Juventus out in the last 16 but our Bundesliga expert thinks they’ll struggle to contain Robert Lewandowski…
Kevin Hatchard says: “Although Bayern are in form, I can’t get excited about their price of 1.645/8 in the Match Odds market, although there is a way to boost it to 2.77/4 if you throw in a Both Teams To Score element by using the Bet Builder.
“Both teams have found the net in nine of Bayern’s last 11 games, while Villarreal have scored in 16 of their last 18 home matches. If you look at the Spanish side’s home form in the Champions League this term, it is underwhelming. They lost to Manchester United, drew with Juventus and Atalanta, and beat a limited Young Boys side 2-0.
“Overall, Villarreal have put together a nine-match unbeaten sequence at home, so if you simply want to back both teams to score, you can do that on the Exchange at 1.715/7 or double up BTTS and Over 2.5 Goals on the Sportsbook at 1.84/5.”