Champions League Betting – Bayern Clear Favorite vs Juve
Juventus at Bayern Munich (-250) (+700), Draw (+350)
After a draw (2-2) in Rome in game one, Juventus will head to Germany to face Bayern Munich at Allianz Arena for the second leg of their Champions League Round of 16 playoff next Wednesday (March 16, 3:45 PM Eastern).
Bayern Munich will be disappointed with the game-one draw after dominating early and jumping out to a 2-0 lead. The team dominated possession (67-percent) and completed 637 passes completed to Juve’s 280. But sloppy defensive errors led to two late goals.
Still, they’re the more talented squad and have two key away goals to their credit, meaning they’ll head into the second leg as the clear favorites to go through.
A major concern of Juventus is the fitness of star defender Giorgio Chiellini, who suffered a calf injury in his first game back after recovering from a muscle tear. A weakened defense is the last thing the Bianconeri need as they chase an away-goal deficit.
On top of that, Juventus have their own struggles at home. They hold a three-point lead in Serie A (20-4-4, 64 pts) and Napoli is still on their heels. If they do manage to finish on top this season, it will be their fifth consecutive title, equalling the record they set in 1935.
Juventus have made it openly known that the Serie A title is their main priority, and they are fighting tooth and nail for it. After a disastrous start to the season, they clawed their way back on top and have now won 17 of their last 18 domestic games, drawing the other. Both fans and management alike have their eyes fixed on the Serie A title.
“We must not turn the Champions League into an obsession. It has to remain just a dream,” Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri said ESPN FC. “We’ve got to try to pull off a coup in Munich, and that’s not going to be easy.”
Bayern are in a slightly different situation, domestically. After a draw against second-place Dortmund and an upset loss to Mainz, Bayern (20-3-2, 63 pts) find themselves only five points clear in the Bundesliga. But they are still the clear favorites to take the title and remain keenly focused on the Champions League, as well.
The bookmakers currently have Bayern at 10/3 odds to win the UCL, behind only Barcelona (13/8). Juventus, on the other hand, are at a dismal 40/1, thanks in large part to their tough Round of 16 draw.
Both teams are acutely aware of their chances, and this coming game should reflect that.
Pick: Bayern Munich (-250).
(Photo credit: rayand (http://www.flickr.com/photos/rayand/7233027208) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)