We've reached the point in the Champions League that's slightly bittersweet for me. On one hand, we're in the semifinals, and we're down to the final four teams in this competition. It's hard for any team to fake its way to this point, and we've got four absolute giants of Europe remaining. That's all great.
But the downside is we only have two matches this week! My degenerate heart would like to have more to bet on, but alas, we cannot win them all. Don't worry, though; not only do I have a pick for each match, but I've offered a couple of bonus prop bets to add to the entertainment value of the week.
All odds are via William Hill Sportsbook and as always you can watch all the matches on Paramount+.
Real Madrid vs. Chelsea, Tue. 3 p.m. (CBS Sports Network/Paramount+)
I wrote about this in my Corner Picks column over the weekend, but while it's hard to argue with the results Thomas Tuchel has had at Chelsea since taking over, it's harder to argue that it's been enjoyable to watch. Chelsea's defending has been so good that it's made every match feel like a 90-minute slog to the finish line. Following Saturday's 1-0 win over West Ham, 11 of Chelsea's 21 matches under Tuchel have featured one goal or fewer. Chelsea have allowed only nine goals in those 21 matches, and five came after going down a man against West Brom in a match that will surely stand out as one of the strangest results of the season.
All in all, Chelsea matches have featured an average of 1.71 goals per match under Tuchel, with only three of them seeing the three goals needed to go over a total of 2.5.
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When it comes to Real Madrid, we're dealing with a team in the midst of a goal drought. The three goals Real Madrid scored in a 3-0 win over Cadiz last week are the only three goals they've scored in their last four matches. There was the scoreless draw against Liverpool to finish the quarterfinals, and there have been two more in league play against Getafe and Betis. More importantly, Real Madrid aren't allowing goals either, with clean sheets in four straight.
All of which indicates that this might be a great match to get a mid-day nap in. The Pick: Under 2.5 (-150)
Paris Saint-Germain vs. Manchester City, Wed. 3 p.m. (CBS Sports Network/Paramount+)
It's a boring pick, but sometimes the boring picks are the right picks. I promise you, this is not a case of underestimating the French team from the "farmer's league" against the Mighty English Club. I'm not an idiot. I understand how good PSG are, and after getting to the final of last season's Champions League, and then eliminating Bayern Munich to reach the semifinals this season, you're being deliberately stubborn if you don't admit that PSG is capable of competing with anybody.
But it's Manchester City. It's the best team in the world, and the team favored to win the competition. I don't know that there's a team in this competition or even hidden in a far corner of the world we don't know about that is capable of beating Manchester City right now. You basically go in hoping for a draw at the moment, which PSG is more than capable of picking up.
I'm going with City to win, anyway. It's not often we're offered City at odds like these, and it's too hard to pass up the opportunity. The Pick: Manchester City (+118)
I wouldn't put full units on these plays, but with only two matches this week, here are a couple of fun side bets to place.
Manchester City's Phil Foden to score the first goal (+650)
No goals scored in Real Madrid/Chelsea (+700)