Best Champions League Bets for February 18-19 – Top UCL Picks This Week

| February 17, 2020 12:04 pm PST
UEFA Champions League Logo and Players

The UEFA Champions League returns this week, so it’s time to place your bets on the upcoming Round of 16 ties.

On Tuesday, Atletico Madrid welcomes UCL favorite Liverpool to Wanda Metropolitano, while PSG meets Borussia Dortmund for the first leg of their heavyweight battle.

Free-scoring Atalanta will be hoping to continue their goalscoring form against Valencia on Wednesday, while Tottenham Hotspur and RB Leipzig complete the forthcoming fixtures.

With four games to look forward to, I will share my best bet for each matchup. Here are the Champions League Round of 16 best bets.

Atletico Madrid vs. Liverpool – Under 2.5 Total Goals

Liverpool may be miles clear at the top of the Premier League table, but the Reds haven’t exactly been blowing teams away this season.

Of course, we’ve seen Jurgen Klopp’s side claim some high-scoring victories in 2019/20. But even when they’re not at their best, Liverpool invariably finds a way to grind out a narrow win.

This was the case in the Red’s previous game against Norwich City. Despite being the EPL’s bottom side, the Canaries frustrated Liverpool and kept Klopp’s men at bay for much of the game. However, Liverpool dug deep, continued to press, and eventually scored the winner with just over ten minutes to go.

I’m sure that Norwich supporters will forgive me when I say that Atletico’s defense is far stronger than the Canaries’. So, if the Premier League’s bottom club can limit Liverpool to just a single goal, surely one of the toughest backlines in European soccer is capable of doing the same.

Atletico’s success in recent years has largely been due to their outstanding defensive record, and this season is no different. Simeone’s side has conceded just 17 goals in 24 league games so far this term, but it’s in attack where Atletico has struggled.

Key forwards Diego Costa, Alvaro Morata, and Joao Felix have all missed games through injury this season, while creative players like Koke and Saul have failed to make an impact.

All the signs are pointing towards a low-scoring first leg at Wanda Metropolitano. Liverpool is the favorite, but Atletico will be more than happy to sit back and absorb the pressure. With two well-drilled teams going head-to-head, this fixture isn’t likely to produce many goals.

Borussia Dortmund vs. PSG – Both Teams to Score

This matchup is almost guaranteed to see goals scored at both ends of the pitch. Both sides possess a mouthwatering array of attacking talent, but neither team is at all convincing when it comes to defending.

Let’s start by looking at Borussia Dortmund’s recent record. Since returning from the winter break, Dortmund has netted a total of 22 goals across five Bundesliga games. Lucien Favre’s side scored five in three consecutive outings but also conceded three against both Augsburg and Bayer Leverkusen.

New signing Erling Haaland has hit the ground running, scoring eight goals in his first five league appearances for the club. Meanwhile, Jadon Sancho has notched up four goals and four assists during that time. But Dortmund is set up to outscore their opponents, and this leaves the team vulnerable at the back.

In fairness, any team is vulnerable at the back when facing PSG. With Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Mauro Icardi, Angel Di Maria, and Edinson Cavani to choose from, manager Thomas Tuchel has no shortage of world-class options up front.

But PSG is very similar to Dortmund when it comes to their approach. Tuchel’s side is used to thrashing their opponents in the French top flight on a weekly basis, so their defense is often left with very little work to do. However, the other teams in Ligue 1 don’t possess players like Haaland and Sancho.

PSG conceded four goals against one of the weakest teams in the French top flight last weekend. The league-leader is 41 points ahead of relegation-threatened Amiens in the table, so this gives you an idea of PSG’s defensive capabilities.

In my opinion, there will be far too many in-form forward players on display for this game to end without both teams scoring.

Atalanta vs. Valencia – Over 1.5 Atalanta Goals

Under Gian Piero Gasperini, Atalanta has become one of the most exciting teams to watch in European soccer. Despite finishing 21 points behind champion Juventus last season, the Bergamo outfit topped the Serie A goalscoring charts by some distance.

This season, Atalanta is once again the highest-scoring side in the Italian top flight — netting 63 goals in 24 games so far — and looks set to outscore their rivals for the second campaign running.

Atalanta may leak goals at the back, but the team never strays away from Gasperini’s principles. The players’ relentless attacking attitude has seen Atalanta score over 1.5 goals in exactly three quarters of their league games in 2019/20.

The Italians’ goalscoring record will surely have Valencia worried. Los Ches have slipped to seventh in La Liga, while only five teams in the Spanish top flight have conceded more goals than Valencia this season.

Albert Celades’ side cruised through the UCL group stage, losing just one of their six games earlier in the campaign. But things have gradually gone downhill since December. Injuries to a number of key defensive players, coupled with a lack of firepower up front, means Valencia is significantly weakened heading into the Round of 16.

What makes Atalanta so dangerous is their ability to find goals from almost every position on the pitch. In total, 14 different players have found the back of the net for Atalanta this season, while forwards Josip Ilicic and Luis Muriel have both reached double figures.

With lethal striker Duvan Zapata also firing again following a lengthy injury lay-off, Atalanta could easily have this tie wrapped up by the time the second leg comes around.

Tottenham Hotspur vs. RB Leipzig – The Draw

After the disappointment of losing in the final last season, Tottenham will be desperate to prove that their previous campaign wasn’t just a flash in the pan. But in RB Leipzig, Spurs have a tricky opponent to get past in order to reach the quarterfinals.

Leipzig got off to a flying start this season, racing to the top of the Bundesliga table at Christmas. Julian Nagelsmann’s side hasn’t quite been able to rediscover their early-season form since returning from the winter break. But recent draws with Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayern Munich suggest RB is serious about clinching their first-ever top-flight title.

Along with their domestic ambitions, Leipzig also appears ready to make their mark on the European stage this season. This is the club’s maiden appearance in the UCL knockout stages, but RB is more than deserving of their place in the last sixteen.

On the other hand, Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho is no stranger to the latter stages of this competition. The Portuguese has won the Champions League with both Porto and Inter Milan, so he knows what needs to be done in order to get the better of Europe’s top clubs over two legs.

Mourinho is the master of big-game tactics, while Nagelsmann — formerly nicknamed “Mini-Mourinho” — will be keen to prove himself to his opposite number.

This tie is set to be an interesting tactical battle, and I can see both sides canceling each other out on Wednesday. Neither manager will want to lose the first leg, so the draw is my best bet for this matchup.

Wrap-Up

We’ve already seen plenty of drama in this season’s Champions League, but the Round of 16 is when things start to get really interesting.

Sure, the group stage dished up some thrilling ties. But we’re now left with the best teams in Europe, so I can’t wait to see what the knockout stages produce.

If you want to follow my suggestions, or if you’ve got your own ideas when it comes to betting on the UCL, make sure you visit the best online sports betting sites to do so.

Ben Morris
Ben Morris

Ben is a sportswriter and tipster who specializes in soccer. Currently based in the UK, he has traveled all around the world watching – and betting on – his beloved sport.

Alongside his regular soccer content, Ben publishes blogs and picks for cricket, Formula 1, Aussie rules, darts, and various other sports.

Ben is a diehard fan of Nottingham Forest and England, so he hasn’t had much to cheer about in recent years!

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