Sports Betting Weekly

Manchester City v Barcelona

When: Wednesday, 25 February 2015 @ 01:45 (FINISHED)
Where: City of Manchester Stadium
Having looked all but dead and buried with four of their Group E games played and a measly two points on the board, Premier League champions Manchester City will have been delighted that two wins from their next two fixtures against Bayern Munich and Roma secured them a spot in the last 16 – the only problem is that their runner-up finish landed them a daunting tie with Barcelona.

In staggering contrast to Manuel Pellegrini’s men, Barcelona made incredibly light work of their own group, losing just once to Paris St Germain as they topped the table with 15 points and a goal difference of +10. With the Catalan club’s home form particularly strong in the Champions League, City will know that they’ll need to land all of the early punches in this heavyweight tussle if they want to have a realistic chance of progressing – but the bookmakers certainly aren’t backing them here.

Indeed, despite the Sky Blues holding home advantage in the first leg, they have been named underdogs for the match at odds as long as 13/5 in some places, with Barcelona the favourites at 23/20 and the draw at 27/10. However, while it’s no big secret that City’s form has stuttered of late, they looked irresistible against Newcastle at the weekend – and with Sergio Aguero now looking to have rediscovered his sharpness, odds against on the home side look to good to pass up on here.

The problem for City going into this one lies in the fact that Barcelona have been one of the most in-form teams anywhere in Europe in the run up to the tie, having won their last six games by an aggregate score of 26-5. Quite simply, Luis Enrique’s men are getting back to their all-conquering best and having scored in all six of their group games, they look likely to extend that streak in Manchester, meaning Pellegrini’s side will need to score at least twice in order to win on the night.

As such, the 12/1 odds on a 2-1 victory for Manchester City may prove tempting to some, while you can also get an even bigger 14/1 on the home team to win the match after falling behind. If you’re willing to sacrifice big odds for a bit more wiggle-room, however, Barcelona’s aforementioned scoring record in the Champions League means that any Manchester City victory should be coupled with over 2.5 goals at 4/1, while if you fancy the visitors, you can get 11/5 in the same market.

In terms of choosing a first scorer from the glittering array of attacking talent that will be on display on Tuesday night, City talisman Aguero is actually fourth in the pecking order at 11/2 and definitely represents much better value than the misfiring Luis Suarez at 5/1. Unsurprisingly, Lionel Messi is tipped to be Barcelona’s main man at 15/4, but his fellow forward Neymar has also been in imperious form of late and is available at 9/2, while David Silva – who bagged two goals in his last appearance for City – is available at a price as big as 12/1 in some places.