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Odds and Ends

City Look to Close Out PSG in Return to Etihad

by Nick Hennion
Updated On: May 4, 2021, 12:17 pm ET

It was a tale of two halves last Wednesday in Paris as the hosts raced out to a 1-0 lead only to leave the Parc des Princes defeated 2-1. 

Now, Pep Guardiola brings Manchester City back to the Etihad Stadium needing only a draw to advance to the elusive Champions League final.

For Mauricio Pochettino and PSG, a two-plus goal victory is needed in order for Les Parisiens to head to a second consecutive Champions League Final. 

At PointsBet Sportsbook, City are the favorites both for the match at -145 and to advance at -625. PSG are +340 on the moneyline at +400 to advance while a draw moneyline would pay out at +320. 

The match total stands at 2.5 goals with over 2.5 coming in heavily favored at -180, while under 2.5 comes in at +142. For the 3.5 goal total at PointsBet, the odds are the exact same only flipped to the opposing side. 

Manchester City vs. Paris Saint-Germain Preview - Tuesday, 3 p.m. ET

Not only will Manchester City arrive with an aggregate advantage for the second leg, they will also arrive with fresher players. 

A 2-0 victory Saturday at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace saw Guardiola implement eight changes to the first leg lineup, with Rodri, Joao Cancelo and Ederson the only three players to participate in both matches. 

Expect wholesale changes to attack with Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva likely to return for the second leg after a rest Saturday. Additionally, both Ilkay Gundogan and Rúben Dias are expected to return to the Starting XI Tuesday as well. 

For PSG, Idrissa Gueye will be unavailable for the return leg in Manchester after picking up a red card in Paris. Expect Pochettino to deputize former Manchester United man Ander Herrera in the midfield alongside Leandro Paredes and Marco Verrati. 

The only possible injury concern for PSG is striker Kylian Mbappe, who didn’t feature in a Saturday league match against Lens due to a thigh issue. However, given that Mbappe gave it a go in the first leg, expect the Frenchman to be ready to lead the attack for PSG alongside Neymar and Angel Di Maria. [Update, 12:10 p.m. ET -- Mbappe is reportedly not available to start today in Manchester. Instead, he will start on the bench as a substitute, according to Jonathan Johnson of CBS Sports.] 

Match Analysis

From a side perspective in this match, there are a lot of contrasting angles that make this a little more difficult than saying “City, duh.” 

Manchester City arrive with a flawless home record in the Champions League this season, having won all five fixtures it has played this season. 

However, history says a sixth straight victory is unlikely for the Cityzens. Only once in the last 10 semifinal knockout round ties has a team won BOTH legs of the tie (Juventus vs. Monaco in 2017). 

From a Parisian perspective, you also have two forces working against each other. 

Surprisingly, PSG have been far superior away in the Champions League when playing away from home. In their five matches, the 2020 runners-up are 4-0-1, with their only loss coming at RB Leipzig. 

On the flipside, this meeting will be the fifth in all competitions between the two sides, and PSG have still yet to win a single previous meeting against the English giants. 

Even considering all those diametrically opposing trends, I’m still taking a look at PSG Goal-Line (+1) at +118 on the three-way alternate line. To cash that ticket, PSG either needs to win the match outright or have the match finish level after 90 minutes. [Writer's Note - With Mbappe starting on the bench today, this play becomes more of a lean instead of a definitive play.] 

You are stepping in front of a City train that has won four of five UCL home matches by two or more goals, but you’re also getting plus money with a team that has won three straight road games at [checks notes] Old Trafford, the Camp Nou and Allianz Arena. 

Now forgive me if you’ve heard this next part, but I simply can’t believe the both teams to score prop is still as low as it is. The same prop was -175 in Paris and only rose five cents after it cashed? What? Give me Both Teams to Score at -180 all day for a bankroll builder. The fact this isn’t higher than -200 is mind-numbing. 

One final play to register is Kevin De Bruyne Anytime Goal (+190). De Bruyne slotted in well to the false nine position in Paris and has scored in both home knockout round matches. Plus, a goal for the Belgian would mean a goal against PSG in four consecutive UCL appearances. 

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Nick Hennion

Nick Hennion serves as a soccer betting contributor for NBC Sports EDGE. Previously, he served as a social media and television producer at the Vegas Stats & Information Network (VSIN) after earning his master’s degree in sports journalism at Northwestern University. You can find him on Twitter @NickHennion.