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Added February 23rd, 2010 by David Glisan

Soccer Betting Free Picks For Wednesday:  Champions League

Wednesday brings us a couple of Champions League games as Chelsea plays at Inter Milan and FC Sevila plays at CSKA Moscow.  Both games offer a variety of interesting soccer betting options but we’ll go with the Chelsea/Inter Milan game for a number of reasons.  Not the least of these is that it starts at a somewhat civilized time for those of us on the West Coast–11:45 AM Pacific/2:45 PM Eastern.  The FC Sevila/CSKA Moscow game goes at 9 AM Pacific/Noon Eastern.

One problem that US sports betting enthusiasts have with soccer wagering is that frequently you’re put in a position where you’re essentially betting on nothing to happen.  That’s the case here, but a boring and tightly contested game is the most likely result.  The positions we’ll offer might not be the most entertaining, but they offer the best wagering value.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE–CHELSEA VS. INTER MILAN:

This game is definitely not lacking in soap opera storylines.  If you follow international soccer at all you know all of this, but I’ll quickly bring the newcomers up to speed.  Chelsea is arguably *the* powerhouse team in the English Premier League, and much of their success was realized with team manager Jose Mourinho at the helm.  There’s really not a good comparison in US sports for Mourinho–he’s a controversial, quotable guy whom you essentially think is a prick unless he’s running you’re team.  Maybe a more erudite and confrontational Bill Belichick.  Or better still, a Portuguese Bill Parcells.  You know Mourinho is something else since he rolls with the nickname “The Special One”.

Mourinho won a couple of Premier League Titles at Chelsea in 2005 and 2006, and was named the best football manager in the world both years.  His success didn’t insulate him from a difficult relationship with Chelsea management, and after a falling out he signed a deal to go manage in Italy’s Serie A league at–you guessed it–Inter Milan.  He picked up there where he left off in England, winning the Serie A championship in his first season as well as the Supercoppa Italiana.

So for you NFL fans, the dynamic for this is similar in many ways to Brett Favre and the Vikings hosting the Green Bay Packers.  And it wouldn’t be Jose Mourinho if he wasn’t stirring things up prior to the big game.  He’s been quoted in the press of late suggesting that Chelsea would have won more Premier League titles if he was running the show.  While that may very well be true, that’s something we call ‘locker room material’ here in the US and puts ‘The Special One’ in a position where he’s got to ‘walk the walk’.  And despite his success at Inter they remain somewhat in the shadows of Milan’s other soccer team, AC Milan.  Inter Milan and AC Milan have a relationship not unlike the New York Jets and Giants–they share a stadium (the San Siro) but don’t have the buffer of playing in different conferences.  At the moment, Inter (if you want to be a real soccer geek you need to know that ‘Inter’ is short for ‘Internazionale’) is in first place in Serie A while AC Milan is in third place.  It doesn’t hurt their profile that AC Milan has a couple of the most recognizable soccer players in the world in Ronaldinho and a guy that even you non-soccer fans have no doubt heard of by the name of David Beckham.

This is the first of two ‘legs’ in the quarterfinals with the team advancing determined by the aggregate score of both games.  The rematch will be at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge home stadium in London in a couple of weeks.  Another subplot–Mourinho hasn’t been able to get Inter past this round in Champions League play since he’s been in charge.  And were *that* not enough, current Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti managed AC Milan for nearly a decade before heading to England.

So we’ve got a game with a ton of intensity, where every goal will literally be crucial.  Inter Milan is a nasty defensive team, averaging less than a goal per game against in Serie A play.  In their last five games against Italian foes they’ve allowed a total of 2 goals.  They’ve also allowed a total of two goals at home in three Champions League games this season (both to Dynamo Kiev).  They’ve also earned draws in 2 of those 3 games and have played three straight Serie A draws.

Chelsea also plays good defense, and has played solid football on the road in Champions League plays with two wins and a draw.  As both wins were by identical 1-0 scores you’ve got a good idea of what to expect here. You’ll also have a situation where both teams are not only playing ‘not to lose’ but ‘not to give up a goal’ so they won’t be in a hole heading into the second leg.  This is a more profound concern for Inter Milan, who doesn’t want to be put in a situation where they’re a goal down heading into the rematch at Chelsea.  Chelsea, on the other hand, would be happy with a draw which would put them in a situation where a win at home would allow them to advance.

So here’s how we’ll play it.  We’ll obviously go ‘Under’ the total.  You can find this game at UN2 or UN 2′ and with the better moneyline price we’ll play the UN2.  We’ll also bet that the game will end up in a draw.  These lines are from Bookmaker but you should be able to find similar wagers at most sportsbooks:

PLAY CHELSEA/INTER MILAN DRAW +205
PLAY CHELSEA/INTER MILAN UNDER 2 -110

And if you’re feeling adventuresome, you could go for an ‘exact score’ play.  These are very common at European books, and Sports Interaction offers it as well.  You can get +650 for a 1-0 Chelsea victory, +650 for a 1-0 Inter victory but lets put ourselves in a position where if we hit our other two plays we win big and back the 0-0 draw.

PLAY EXACT SCORE 0-0 +550

 
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