Benzema doubt but Mbappe can deliver
PSG 2.0811/10 v Real Madrid 3.814/5; The Draw 3.9
Tuesday 15 February, 20:00
Live on BT Sport 3
PSG and Real Madrid are top of their respective domestic leagues, but both suffered disappointing results at the weekend.
The French giants at least won, but it took a last-gasp goal from Kylian Mbappe to secure a 1-0 home victory against Rennes. It was an uninspired performance from PSG, which was accompanied by protests from unhappy fans. With a 13 point lead at the top of Ligue 1, another title seems inevitable, but it’s being delivered in a fairly joyless fashion.
Real Madrid saw their lead at the top of La Liga cut at the weekend. They drew 0-0 away at Villarreal, allowing second placed Sevilla to move within four points.
Villarreal are battling to finish in the top four and are tough opponents for anyone. Madrid could not break them down and are missing their talismanic striker Karim Benzema, with Gareth Bale drafted in to deputise against the Yellow Submarine.
Since Benzema was injured, Real have scored just one goal in their last three games. The big question is whether Benzema will return to face PSG, with the player back in training. If he doesn’t, then a low scoring game seems likely, but if he does, Madrid’s potency will receive a major boost.
All reports suggest that Benzema’s potential involvement is viewed as something of a gamble. Adding under 3.5 goals to the Bet Builder at 9/20, therefore seems sensible, with Benzema unlikely to be 100%, even if he does play.
To that we will add Mbappe to have two or more shots on target at 5/6. Mbappe averages four shots-per-game, so this seems a little generous. Combining these two bets gives odds of 3.55/2.
City will claim first-leg win
Sporting Lisbon 12.5 v Manchester City 1.321/3; The Draw 6.05/1
Tuesday 15 February. 20:00
Live on BT Sport 2
Manchester City go into the first-leg of their last-16 tie with Sporting Lisbon, as heavy favourites to claim an away win.
It’s not difficult to see why. The Premier League leaders beat Norwich 4-0 at the weekend, which maintained their nine point lead at the top of the table.
That victory extended City’s unbeaten run to 12 games (W11 D1). They lost two of their six Champions League group games (W4), but one of those defeats came away at PSG and the other in the final game at RB Leipzig, when Pep Guardiola’s team had already clinched qualification for the knockout stages.
Sporting Lisbon lost three of their six group games (W3). This included a heavy 5-1 defeat at home to Ajax, who also beat them 4-2 in the reverse fixture.
At the weekend, Sporting drew 2-2 away at the Primeira Liga leaders Porto, but they sacrificed a two-goal lead in an ill-tempered encounter that saw three Lisbon players sent off and the hosts seeing two dismissed. That result leaves second placed Sporting six points behind Porto.
There have been league losses for Sporting this year against the likes of Santa Clara and Braga, so it’s hard to make a case for Sporting avoiding defeat here. That means we can start our Bet Builder with a Manchester City victory at 1/4 on the Sportsbook.
Sporting Lisbon have scored in all 17 of their home games this season, but as City’s defence are performing well this season, over 2.5 goals at 4/7 is a more sensible addition than both teams to score.
To those two bets we’re going to add one another cautious pick. Joao Cancelo averages 2.3 shorts-per-game, which is second only to Kevin De Bruyne in the City squad.
Cancelo is 1/12 to take one or more shot during the game, which sees the Bet Booster odds rise to 2.0521/20.