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Soccer Betting Free Picks For Wednesday: Champions League – SportsUntapped.com
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Added March 30th, 2010 by David Glisan

Soccer Betting Free Picks For Wednesday:  Champions League
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Soccer betting action in the Champions League continues on Wednesday with two more quarterfinal games.  CSKA Moscow will head to Italy to play Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan squad, and Barcelona will head to London to take on Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.  We’ll take a look at the Arsenal/Barcelona game which starts at 11:45 AM Pacific/2:45 PM Eastern.  If you go up to the really high numbers on your cable box you’ll find the Fox Soccer Channel which will broadcast the game live.  My cable system puts the Fox Soccer Channel right next to the TVG horse racing network, making it easy for me to flip back and forth and check up on my ‘investments’.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE–ARSENAL VS. BARCELONA:

Arsenal is one of the three teams still fighting for the English Premier League title, though their hopes took a severe blow this weekend with a draw at Birmingham.  This leaves The Gunners (that’s what Brits call Arsenal and not a nickname for Guns ‘n’ Roses) 3 points behind second place Chelsea and 4 behind first place Manchester United.  They’re missing out on a golden opportunity due to Man U’s misfortune as Wayne Rooney went down with a foot injury at the end of Tuesday’s Champions League contest with Bayern Munich.  With Rooney playing as well as anyone in the world this could potentially be a big blow not only to Manchester United’s hopes to win the EPL and Champions League, but to England’s World Cup bid.

Arsenal’s big problem of late has been scoring goals against top flight competition.  They’ve been better at home in Champions League play than on the road, where they’ve scored 2 goals in their L3 away games.  Arsenal may be without midfielder Cesc Fabregas who is what we Americans could call a ‘game time decision’.  Barcelona is currently tied with Real Madrid atop the Spanish La Liga table, though Real has the advantage right now due to goal differential.  They’re also the defending Champions League winner and would be the first team to repeat as..uh…’Champions’….since the tournament revamped their format in the early 1990’s.  They’ve been a beast away from home in La Liga action, with a 10-4-1 mark though they’re only 1-3-0 in Champions League away games this year.  Euros stick the draw verdicts in the middle, so that means they’ve got only 1 loss away from home in their league.  They’ll also have the biggest goal scoring threat on either team as Thierry Henry (pronounced ‘On-Ree’ and not like the other bald headed kid in newspaper comic strips besides the iconic Charlie Brown) returns to his old stomping grounds at Arsenal.

Barcelona’s goal will be to keep things even here, hopefully scoring an away goal to set up next week’s second leg at Estadio Nou Camp.  Five of the last six Barcelona away games in Champions League action have ended in a draw, so we’ll go with that.  Arsenal has won five of their last six Champions League games at home, but with the possible exception of Chelsea and Manchester United–both of whom won in their visits to Emirates Stadium–Barcelona is the best team they’ve faced all year.  To give you some idea of the respect that linesmakers have for the Spanish side note that they’re a -169 road favorite in the ‘no tie’ matchup.  The total on the game is O/U 2.5 with the Under priced at +100 and the Over -140.  That’s kind of curious with Barca favored–they’ve averaged 1.16 totals in their last six Champions League road games, with only one seeing more than 2 goals scored.  Arsenal has scored a lot in their home Champions League games–they’ve averaged totals of 3.66 goals per game in their L6 contests in this competition with only two playing Under.

As they’re wont to do, a lot of the European soccer media has overreacted to Arsenal’s lost opportunity at Birmingham this past weekend.  There’s no reason to expect a ‘letdown’ or any other side effects.  There’s still a lot of football left to play, and the potential of Wayne Rooney missing action for Man U could give them more opportunities in the final weeks of the English Premier League season.  With all due respect to a very talented Barcelona side, I just don’t see Arsenal losing here.  So with the most likely results a draw or home win there’s a number of ways to play it.  The most obvious way is to play a unit on both Arsenal and the draw, giving you profit of just over a unit should either outcome occur. These lines are from Bodog:

PLAY ARSENAL +220 OVER BARCELONA
PLAY ARSENAL/BARCELONA DRAW +230

I also like the game to play Under the total.  Once again, from Bodog:

PLAY ARSENAL/BARCELONA UNDER 2′ +105

If you have access to a European book that offers a variety of soccer props, you could take a shot at the 0-0 and/or 1-1 exact score.  3 of Barcelona’s last six Champions League road games have ended up at 1-1 so we’ll go with that.  Sports Interaction is the best bet for US based players looking for soccer betting variety.

PLAY EXACT SCORE 1-1 +550

 
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