By: Trent Pruitt (@trentbets)
A clash between teams from my two favorite leagues opens up play for this week’s Champions League slate! The Champs travel to Italy to take on Lazio in a match that has plenty of star power. I’m going to break down each side and get into my best bets for this one!
Money Line: LAZ +350 | FCB -135 | DRAW +294
Spread: LAZ +.75 (-109) | FCB -.75 (-111)
Total: 3.25 (O -105, U -115)
Kickoff: 3:00 ET | Stadio Olimpico | Rome, ITL
The Champs rolled through the group stage with a 5-1-0 record and goal differential of +13. They haven’t been sharp in league league play over their past few fixtures, losing to Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 on Saturday and drawing 3-3 with Arminia last Monday. I wouldn’t overthink that too much though as they’re still in first place in the Bundesliga with 49 points and have the highest goal differential at +31. It’s more likely that their focus was preparing and getting healthy for this midweek Champions League fixture with a sneakily solid Lazio squad.
Individually, Manuel Neuer, the greatest goalkeeper in the world had two clean sheets during the group stage and made 27 saves on 31 shot attempts. Robert Lewendowski and Kingsley Coman led the scoring with three goals a piece. Thomas Muller scored once in five starts and he’s listed as questionable with an illness for this one.
The Italian side was the second team to come out of Group F with a 2-4-0 record. I’ll be honest, that’s the first time I’ve ever seen a club advance with four draws. They boasted a goal differential of +4 during the group stage that Dortmund take the top spot. Lazio currently resides in the sixth spot in Serie A play with 43 points and a +8 goal differential. They’ve scored the seventh most goals in the domestic league on the 8th most shot attempts. The Italians have been in excellent form as of late. They’re 8-0-2 over their last ten matches and have won seven straight home games.
Up front it’s Ciro Immobile who leads the scoring charge. He scored five out of the eleven Lazio goals in the group stage and assisted on another. Joaquin Correa scored twice and started in all six matches. Pep Reina should be between the pipes and he was unable to earn a single clean sheet during five matches in the round of 32 which can’t be reassuring for his club.
Final Analysis & Best Bet
Bayern is a powerhouse, so I’ll be backing them on the money line (-135) for two units on Tuesday afternoon. I don’t see very many scenarios playing out where Lazio escapes with a win or draw here. Bayern Munchen is at the point where they can basically flip it on and off at any point and I think they’re going to bring the rain here. Lazio’s defense scares me. Not being able to hold anybody scoreless in the group stage along with giving up 30 goals over 23 matches in league play isn’t encouraging. Look for the Champs to try and get out to a nice lead in the first leg so they can coast when the second fixture picks up at Allianz on St. Patrick’s Day.
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