The 2018/19 Champions League group stages are here. Every football fan across Europe will be eagerly anticipating the opening round of matches – and we now less than 48 hours away from kick-off across the continent.
Tuesday’s top tips can be found here but I am going to focus on Wednesday’s action. With both Manchester clubs in action, it could be a successful evening for the English clubs. Here are my thoughts and tips on this week’s fixtures…
Benfica vs BAYERN MUNICH
Benfica are unbeaten in nine competitive matches in 2018/19 and the Portuguese outfit will fancy their chances of an upset on home soil.
Rui Vitoria’s side have scored in 17 of their last 18 home fixtures and that makes the 1/2 for over 0.5 Benfica goals a pretty solid bet. Watch this space, Bayern won’t have everything their own way on Wednesday evening.
Bayern Munich are red hot favourites to prevail in this encounter though – and with good reason. The visitors have won three out of three in the Bundesliga, scoring nine goals in the process.
12/25 is an excellent price considering the array of talent at Niko Kovac’s disposal and the Bavarians should be strong enough to get off to the perfect start in Group E.
TIP: Bayern Munich to win @ 12/25
PREDICTED SCORE: Benfica 1-2 Bayern (Priced at 13/2 with 888sport)
MANCHESTER CITY vs Lyon
Pep Guardiola’s side couldn’t have hoped for a better draw if truth be told and the Blues will be quietly confident of topping Group F.
Manchester City were dominant against Fulham on Saturday afternoon without really getting out of second gear – expect another convincing performance here. Take the 27/20 available for a home win with goals at both ends.
Lyon are no slouches in the final third and that is why I fancy the visitors to snatch a goal at the Etihad Stadium. Currently seventh in the Ligue 1 table, Lyon have been hit and miss in the early stages of the campaign but they do create chances.
The visitors are 8/5 to score what could be a consolation goal in the second half; that might be the best way to go.
TIP: Man City to win and both teams to score (Priced at 27/20 with 888sport)
PREDICTED SCORE: Man City 3-1 Lyon (Priced at 17/2 with 888sport)
Valencia vs JUVENTUS
Valencia are languishing down in 17th place in La Liga after failing to win any of their opening four matches of the 2018/19 campaign. European football under the floodlights could give the club a much-needed boost this week…
Those expecting a dull affair should back the 49/50 for Valencia to win or draw. The hosts could nick a goal and that might be enough if Juventus are not at the races offensively.
With Cristiano Ronaldo now off the mark at Juventus Stadium, the Italian champions could start to motor. Massimiliano Allegri’s side have won four out of four in Serie A and it is hard to look past Juve here.
Their record in this competition in recent years is excellent and 17/20 for an away win is arguably the best price of the week. Expect the Old Lady to dominate proceedings in this one.
TIP: Juventus to win @ 17/20
PREDICTED SCORE: Valencia 0-2 Juventus (Priced at 7/1 with 888sport)
Young Boys vs MANCHESTER UNITED
Young Boys are something of an unknown quantity at this level and it could get ugly for the hosts if United bring their A-game.
Expected to finish bottom of Group H, Young Boys will be up against it in this contest. The home crowd will be fully behind their side though and they could make a game of it. Don’t expect a miraculous home triumph though…
Jose Mourinho’s men looked solid for the most part against Watford and managed to cope under intense pressure in the dying embers of that clash at Vicarage Road. This has all the look of a pragmatic, slender victory for the Red Devils.
United are 3/4 to emerge victorious in Switzerland and that is a solid price. Given the gulf in class between the two squads, there will be no excuses for the visitors if they fall short.
TIP: Man United to win @ 3/4
PREDICTED SCORE: Young Boys 0-1 Man United (Priced at 5/1 with 888sport)
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*