CHELSEA VS BAYERN MUNICH
BIG, BAD BAYERN
Bayern Munich are the No. 2 favorite to win this year's Champions League title – so expectations are high for the German League powerhouses as they visit English Premier League stalwart Chelsea on Tuesday in the first of their two-leg Round of 16 series.
With Bayern at +550 to claim the tournament championship (behind only Manchester City at +400), it's no surprise that they're listed as -125 favorites despite opening their series with the Blues (+320) on the road. Chelsea have just three victories from their previous seven games at Stamford Bridge and have been shut out three times over that span.
NAPOLI VS BARCELONA
It has been a while since Napoli fans have had a chance to see the home team in action – and their return to San Paolo Stadium comes with plenty of pageantry as they tangle with Barcelona in Champions League action Tuesday. Napoli have reeled off three consecutive victories – all on the road – to build momentum heading into the opener of their two-leg elimination round tilt with the current Spanish League leaders.
However, Napoli are slight +225 underdogs despite having home-pitch advantage, largely due to the fact that Barca (+115) have put together a four-game winning streak and have one of the top offenses in the tournament.
LYON VS JUVENTUS
NO LYON DOWN
The odds aren't in Lyon's favor as they look to pull off a massive upset in their Champions League Round of 16 tie with Juventus, which gets underway Wednesday in France. The hosts face the second-longest odds of claiming the tournament crown at +25000, and are +333 underdogs for this week's opening leg against a Juventus side (-110) nursing a one-point lead over Lazio atop the Serie A table.
These teams played an entertaining two-leg set back in the 2016 Champions League tournament, one which saw Juventus escape with a 2-1 aggregate victory thanks to a 1-0 win in their away leg.
REAL MADRID VS MANCHESTER CITY
It's hard to believe that Real Madrid and Manchester City are facing off in the Round of 16 in this year's Champions League event – but that's the reality as the European powers tangle Wednesday at SantIago Bernabéu Stadium. Man City are the tourney faves (and this will likely be their final shot at a Champions League title for a while, with a two-year UEFA club event ban on the horizon.)
They're slim +137 favorites for Wednesday's showdown, but you can expect plenty of action on a Real Madrid side (+180) running neck-and-neck with Barca in La Liga and having suffered just one defeat in 17 home games this season.
• There could be goals-aplenty at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday as Chelsea welcome Bayern Munich. The sides have both been riding strong Over trends, with the Blues going north of the total in three straight tournament games and Bayern cashing the Over in five of their past six. The O3.5 doesn't feel all that ambitious here, and offers a nice payout at +150.
• As you might imagine, away goal scoring hasn't been much of a problem for Barcelona entering Tuesday's Champions League tilt with host Napoli. Barcelona have scored 2+ goals in 10 of their previous games away from Camp Nou, most recently a 3-2 triumph over Real Betis on Feb. 9. We like the visitors to convert the O1.5 on their team total at -110.
• Lyon's best shot at pulling out a victory over Juventus in Wednesday's Champions League Round of 16 encounter will be to thrive on defense – and that could put the U2.5 in play. Lyon rank fifth in Ligue 1 in fewest goals against, while Juve own the No. 3 defense in the Italian League; put them both together, and we favor the Under play here at -125.
• Time for a longshot play – and we have just the thing for bettors ahead of Wednesday's Real Madrid-Manchester City tilt. The hosts have been downright stingy this season, allowing just nine goals in 12 league games on friendly soil (with six clean sheets over that stretch.) Man City can score with the best of them, but a Madrid clean sheet might just pay some bills at +333.
• A 2-0 victory over Ludogorets Razgrad has Inter Milan in the driver's seat in their Europa League two-match series – and a trip to Italy makes a comeback even more likely for the heavy underdogs. With how easy Inter made it look last time out, the fact that a home clean sheet for Wednesday's rematch is only -150 makes it one of the top plays of the week.
• Gent is staring at a challenging task Thursday as it looks to get past Roma in their Europa League encounter. Roma did what it had to do last time out, earning a 1-0 victory to gain the upper hand. Look for scoring chances to be at a premium in this one, making the Under play the preferred option at +120; consider the U1.5 for an even bigger potential payout at +350.
• Chelsea's manager believes one of his best defenders will be in the lineup against Bayern Munich. Aymeric Laporte is expected to start in Tuesday's Champions League showdown despite having to be subbed out during Saturday's 1-0 win at Leicester. His presence is critical to Chelsea's success; if he's sidelined, Bayern is an even better play at +200 to score 3+ goals.
• Real Madrid have been dealt a major blow with word that standout midfielder Eden Hazard is expected to miss three months with a right ankle suffered in a loss to Levante over the weekend. His absence not only hurts his team's chances of victory this week, but also its quest to win the Spanish League championship; it's presently +120 to win the title.