Odds Against: The Weekly JOE Group Bet - Matchday 13
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We're getting closer
But for Manchester United's defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday evening, we could be sitting here celebrating an extremely successful JOE Weekly Group Bet. The Red Devils lost though, so after dusting ourselves off and a brief period of self-pity, we go right back at it again.
For Matchday 13 we are of course looking at this week's four Champions League matches. Tuesday and Wednesday sees the second set of round of 16 second legs take place. Manchester United, FC Porto, Ajax and Tottenham Hotspur are already through from last week's games, with only Spurs the heavily favoured winner in a week of shocks.
This week, we see Atletico Madrid and Manchester City come into their matches with leads from the first legs, while the ties continuing at the Allianz Arena and the Camp Nou remain goalless.
Here are our selections for Matchday 13 of the JOE Weekly Group Bet, using the Sky Bet Group Bet feature.
Glory Hunter - Wayne: BTTS in Juventus vs Atletico Madrid
Juventus were unusually poor in their first leg defeat to Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano and, if anything, were lucky to escape only two goals behind in the tie. They'll be more confident of playing their own game at home, but few things in football are as difficult to overcome as Atletico Madrid's stubborn defence.
Allegri's side simply have to go for it here. Their domestic domination has become so normalised that - much like PSG - there is something of an obsession for them when it comes to the Champions League. I believe this will mean that they attack Atleti from the off, and I expect them to score. As the game wears on and becomes more open, however, and Atletico will probably catch them out on the counter. I expect there to be a few goals on the night, and for Atletico to go through.
Captain Obvious - Matt: Manchester City to beat Schalke 04
Pep Guardiola's side had something of a Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde performance in the first leg in Gelsenkirchen. They took the lead and looked to be in control, but before you knew it they were down to 10 men and 2-1 behind. That they managed to come back and not only equalise but win the match late on is testament to their belief and quality as a group of players, and I don't think they will have as much trouble with Schalke at home.
The German side's domestic form has improved slightly of late, but they remain in 14th place in the Bundesliga, and it's hard not to see the first leg against City as a missed opportunity. Even if they had won, this match at the Etihad would be very difficult. Going into it after conceding three away goals makes it pretty much impossible.
Dark Horse - Si: BTTS in Bayern Munich vs Liverpool
This remains a fixture that both of these sides would likely have preferred later in the tournament. The first leg was a frenetic affair at Anfield, with both sides having chances but neither capable of breaking the deadlock. While 0-0 at home does not seem like a great result, it now leaves Liverpool in the position of knowing that they can try and play this second leg on their terms. One goal for the visitors will force Bayern to push on, leaving spaces in behind that Liverpool's counter-attack can exploit.
I reckon this might end up being the tie of this week, and I think we're going to see plenty of goals.
The Stat Man - Reuben: Over 2.5 goals in Barcelona vs Lyon
Lyon did extremely well to get a 0-0 draw in the first leg against Barcelona but I cannot help but feel that this is where their Champions League adventure ends. As rudimentary as it sounds, it is very difficult to ever envisage Barca failing to score at home, especially against a team that - when we get down to it - is not on their level.
The scoreline here will likely depend on whether Barca go out there looking to entertain or to be efficient. If they go out there to entertain, we could see another one of the Camp Nou's memorable high-scoring, one-sided affairs in Europe. In truth, even if they opt for the efficiency option, they're still quite likely to put three or four past the visitors.