Champions League Round of 16 Preview

Friday, February 16th, 2018

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The first set of Champions League Round of 16 matches are in the books and two of the four quarterfinalists look set in stone. This week’s games seem to look more competitive with only one potential blowout on the docket. Bayern Munich is a massive favorite in their game against Besiktas, but oddsmakers are expecting every other match to be tight.

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Bayern Munich vs. Besiktas

Date and Time: February 20, 2018, 2:45 p.m. ET

Location: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany

US Television Coverage: FS2

Betting Line: Bayern Munich -2, 2.5, O/U 3, 3.5

Even without Manuel Neuer, Bayern Munich has barely missed a beat. The all-world goalkeeper has been out since September with a broken foot, but that hasn’t kept Bayern from dominating everyone in the Bundesliga. They are 18 points up on the next closest team and look set to cruise to another domestic title.

Besiktas certainly has its work cut out. This is the Turkish club’s first appearance ever in the knockout rounds and they will have a hard time breaking through Bayern’s defense. However, they do have a talented back line and could hold Bayern’s offense in check for much of the game.

Chelsea vs. Barcelona

Date and Time: February 20, 2018, 2:45 p.m. ET

Location: Stamford Bridge, London, England

US Television Coverage: FS1

Betting Line: Barcelona -0.5, O/U 2.5

This is one of the more highly anticipated matchups of the week. Chelsea is not in a good spot in the Premier League, but it has a knack for shining in international competition. They were the last English side to win it back in 2012 and are aiming to upset the apple cart again. Many of their best players are Spanish, so they are plenty familiar with Barcelona.

The matchup between Eden Hazard and Lionel Messi will be well worth the price of admission for this one. Hazard has drawn many comparisons to Messi because of his passing and vision in the open field, and he will now face the challenge of trying to beat the maestro himself.

Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Roma

Date and Time: February 21, 2018, 2:45 p.m. ET

Location: Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv, Ukraine

US Television Coverage: FS2

Betting Line: Shakhtar Donetsk PK, -0.5 +102, O/U 2.5

It will be interesting to see what kind of form Shakhtar Donetsk is in after the long winter break. Ukraine takes a two-month winter break from December to February, and we haven’t seen this team in action since December 10. They will try to shake off the rust this weekend when they return to action. The all-Brazilian midfield makes Donetsk more competitive than you might think.

Roma is battling for third in Serie A at the moment, but they have looked great in Champions League action. They were not expected to qualify over Atletico Madrid, but did just that and finished with the same exact record in the group as Chelsea. Danielle De Rossi leads this group, while Edin Dzeko has lit up the scoreboard since transferring to Roma.
Sevilla vs. Manchester United

Date and Time: February 21, 2018, 2:45 p.m. ET

Location: Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, Seville, Spain

US Television Coverage: FS1

Betting Line: Manchester United PK -131, O/U 2, 2.5

Jose Mourinho claims to be at his best in the Champions League, but we’ll see whether or not his team is up to the test for this one. Paul Pogba has not been playing well lately, leading many to wonder whether or not the club could move the high-priced acquisition in the offseason. That puts Manchester United in a precarious situation here.

Sevilla has not played particularly well in La Liga this season. They are currently sitting in sixth and lack the star power the other teams in Spain have. They were a little fortunate to get to this point as they got hammered by Sparta Moscow in the Group Stage, but survived and advanced.

Champions League Free Picks

I’m going to back a lot of the favorites this week. Bayern Munich and Barcelona will be too much for their opponents to overcome, and I like Manchester United to get the job done as well. In the other matchup, Roma is the play as Donetsk will still be somewhat rusty after more than two months off.

Champions League Picks: Roma and Barcelona

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