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Champions League Corner Picks, best bets, predictions, odds: Why Barcelona will down PSG to advance, plus more

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You have a choice to make. You’re about to read my picks for this week’s Champions League matches, which I make based on a combination of math, common sense, and what I like to believe is intelligence. After looking at these matches from every possible angle, I conclude what the best possible bet for you to make in each match is.

Then, I share these choices, and you read them. This is where the choice comes in. You can either follow my advice or do the opposite of what I tell you. I can’t make the choice for you, but I have to say, doing the opposite would’ve been a hell of a strategy this season.

I’m on the coldest stretch of my life picking soccer matches. This column went 0-3 over the weekend and likely would’ve gone 0-4 had the Udinese/Roma match not been abandoned in the 80th minute when Roma’s Evan Ndicka collapsed on the field (Ndicka, thankfully, is OK).

Now that you’re aware of the current state of affairs in Corner Picks, the power is in your hands. You must decide. Do you do the opposite of what I tell you, assuming that this bad stretch continues, or follow my lead because there’s no way I can continue being as wrong as I have been? Your decision could be the game-changer.

Perhaps you should read this week’s choices and then decide.

Barcelona vs. PSG

Date: Tuesday, April 16 | Time: 3 p.m. ET | Watch: CBS/Paramount+

I was surprised by what happened in the first leg, which Barcelona won 3-2. Not just because I took the Under 2.5 but because of how open the match was. Both teams put six shots on target. It didn’t shock me that Barcelona were able to do so, but Barcelona had been so great defensively going into the match; I didn’t expect PSG to have as much success as they did, even with Kylian Mbappe (who didn’t get any of his three shots on target, oddly enough).

Barcelona’s gameplan to slow Mbappe worked well, and I expect something similar in the second leg. It’s a solid approach. Take Mbappe away and make the rest of the team beat you. It can, but it’s less likely to happen, especially away from Paris. PSG must be aggressive here, leaving them vulnerable, and Barcelona should exploit it. The Pick: Barcelona (+125)

Borussia Dortmund vs. Atlético Madrid

Date: Tuesday, April 16 | Time: 3 p.m. ET | Watch: Paramount+

The one match I got correct last week! Oh, how I’ll cherish the memory! Atletico did an excellent job smothering Dortmund’s attack in Madrid last week and now head to Dortmund with a 2-1 lead. You know Atlético manager Diego Simeone is fuming over the goal his team allowed in the final 10 minutes of that match. Given his history and style, I expect Madrid will try to win this match 0-0.

That’s easier said than done, seeing as Dortmund have scored plenty of goals at home in the Bundesliga (1.93 per match), but that success hasn’t translated to the Champions League. Dortmund has played four home matches in the Champions League this year, and none have finished with more than two goals scored. Some of that’s been bad luck, as the expected goals (xG) numbers suggest there should’ve been more, but that inability to find the back of the net combined with Madrid’s defensive prowess has me eyeing that plus money on the under. The Pick: Under 2.5 (+125)

Manchester City vs. Real Madrid

Date: Wednesday, April 17 | Time: 3 p.m. ET | Watch: CBS/Paramount+

I don’t know if I’ll ever recover from what happened in the first leg. If you didn’t read last week’s column, I bet the Under 2.5. It was over within the first 15 minutes, and the match finished 3-3 with a total xG of 1.58. It’s another shining example of the run we’ve been on around here.

Anyway, onto the match. I know how stupid this will sound, but sometimes, being stupid is the purest form of intelligence. Do you honestly expect Manchester City to get knocked out of the Champions League this early? I know it’s Real Madrid, but that first match was insane. I can’t believe Madrid will have the same bounces go their way in Manchester as they had at home. City have yet to lose a match at home all season, and I don’t expect them to begin on Wednesday. The Pick: Manchester City (-150)

Bayern Munich vs Arsenal

Date: Wednesday, April 17 | Time: 3 p.m. ET | Watch: Paramount+

It’s been a rough week for Arsenal. Bayern Munich looked like a dead team walking when they came to London last week, but managed to get a 2-2 draw in the first leg. Then, on Sunday, Arsenal lost at home 2-0 to Aston Villa. It’s a loss that could cost them a Premier League title. Now they must head to Germany at serious risk of seeing their Champions League run end as well.

I don’t feel good about either one of these teams right now. It’s hard to figure out which team will win when you don’t think either is playing very well, but you know what teams tend to do when they aren’t at their best? Allow goals. The first match saw four goals scored, and unlike the City-Madrid match, they weren’t fluky. The Pick: Over 2.5 (-150)

League Play

52-55

-0.56

Champions League

7-13

-10.06

Overall 59-68 -10.62



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