Manchester City @ Borussia Monchengladbach, First Leg
Odds: CITY -335/ MGB +850/ DRAW: +550
By Logan Sella
Another week into February means another week of Champions League! The tournament is starting to heat up as 6 of 8 first legs have now been played, with this game among the last two to be played in the opening half of the last 8 ties.
The future champions of England take their show on the road to Puskas Arena to open their knockout round campaign, and come into the contest firing on all cylinders: They have won their last 18 games over and last 13 Premier League contests, and outscoring teams by a whopping 32-3 margin over that period. All of the advanced numbers agree, too: City has nearly double the expected goals differential as their closest domestic competition in Chelsea. All-world midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is also expected to make his return to the starting 11 after missing the last month with a hamstring injury. They are, quite simply, the best of the best, currently the odds-on favorite to finally become the champions of Europe at just under 3-to-1 odds.
The home challengers will have their hands full, and after a breakout year in the Bundesliga last season, finishing 4th in order to punch their tickets into the Champions League, Gladbach has pulled back a bit, currently placing 8th in the top German league after 22 games. They have been struggling as of late as well, losing 2 of their last 3 in Bundesliga action.
Even being the Manchester City fan that I am, I don’t see any real value in betting them on such a steep moneyline, but I think that there is still some value that can be found elsewhere. I am going with City to win and keep a clean sheet at +122.
The back line has been the undoing of City teams before, but they have found a fearsome foursome in Oleksander Zinchenko, Ruben Dias, John Stones and Jao Cancelo. During their 18-game winning streak, they have blanked opponents 12 times, and I think that they will be up to the task to do just that tomorrow against a Gladbach team that will be overmatched from the start. City also stumbled around a bit in their last outing, a 1-0 snoozer against Arsenal in the Prem last weekend; I expect them to come out with a win and a crisp effort.