The Champions League Round of 16 continues Wednesday with two more matches (both of which you can see on CBS All Access). Like last week, I have picks for the matches. Unlike last week, I plan on getting more than one right. Though if you're only going to get one pick correct, you're better off having that pick being PSG to win over Barcelona outright. It mitigates the other losses a bit.
Craving more coverage of the Champions League? The ¡Que Golazo! podcast has a full preview of Tuesday's action. Listen below:
Anyway, here are my favorite plays for Wednesday's matches. As usual, all odds are via William Hill Sportsbook.
Atalanta vs. Real Madrid, Wed. 3 p.m. ET (CBS All Access)
It's somewhat surprising to me that Real Madrid -- of all clubs -- is flying under the radar a bit these days. Madrid had two shocking losses to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Group Stage, but if we go back to the 2-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach to finish the stage and win Group B, Madrid have played quite well since. They've won 12 of their last 17 matches in all competitions, with two of three losses coming in the Copa del Rey and Supercopa de España, so we don't know how motivated the team was to win either of them. Madrid come into Wednesday's match having won four straight. Even though they'll be without striker Karim Benzema that's still some solid form.
Atalanta is also playing well. After a rough stretch to begin February (a loss to Lazio, and draws with Napoli and Torino), the Italian upstarts have won three straight, including a 4-2 win over Napoli on Sunday (three of Atalanta's last five matches have been against Napoli due to the Coppa Italia). However, while Atalanta have improved defensively this season, I still worry about them against higher-caliber competition. Atalanta probably need to win this match to advance, and while I can certainly see it happening, I don't think it happens nearly as often as the available price says it needs to. There's value on Real Madrid to manage at least a draw here. Pick: Real Madrid or Draw (-185)
Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Manchester City, Wed. 3 p.m. (CBS All Access)
If you're more comfortable paying the heavy juice to take Manchester City to win, go for it. I'm looking for a bit more excitement in my life, though. City enter this match having won a ridiculous 18 straight across all competitions. They've played 25 matches since last losing (a 2-0 loss to Tottenham on November 21). Pep Guardiola's team is, quite simply, the best team in the world at the moment. It is also the favorite to win the Champions League, and it drew the team that could be considered the luckiest to still be in the Champions League.
Monchengladbach qualified through Group B, finishing second to Real Madrid and ahead of Shakhtar and Inter Milan. But Gladbach's only two wins came against Shakhtar by a combined score of 10-0. In four matches against Real Madrid and Inter, they lost twice and drew twice, getting outscored 9-6 in goals and 8.1-4.1 in xG. They currently sit in eighth place in the Bundesliga, and it manager Marco Rose has already accepted the job at Borussia Dortmund for next season. Now all they've got to do is play the best team in the world!
Well, I like Manchester City to win, but the reason they've been the best team in the world this year is because of tremendous improvement defensively. During their run of 25 matches without a loss, City have kept a clean sheet in 18 matches. So, not only am I taking City to win, I'm saying its defense shuts Gladbach out in the process. It's hard to find value in City these days, but we just did. Pick: Manchester City To Win To Nil (+122)