Rennes v Chelsea Betting Prediction for Matchday Four

Chelsea can become the first side to qualify for the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League if they beat Rennes on Tuesday evening.

The Blues top the group with seven points and are ahead of Sevilla on goal difference. And who do the Blues play in Spain next week? Sevilla of course.

As for this matchup, Chelsea beat Rennes in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge 3-0 with Timo Werner netting a brace of penalties with Tammy Abraham adding a third in the second half.

Frank Lampard’s side has experienced a rejuvenation of sorts with the introduction of summer signings Hakim Ziyech and Ben Chilwell to the side after respective injuries have improved Chelsea on both the defensive and offensive side of the pitch.

Chelsea are on a three-game winning streak and are unbeaten in seven league games as they sit third in the Premier League table.

When Lampard was asked how he guided the team to an improved defensive record over the last two months, Lampard put it to improvements of small margins within the team.

“We have coached, and we have assessed the main areas of where we conceded. Some were mistakes in the games, like Southampton and West Brom.

“Sometimes it is small margins, but what has gone up is the concentration of the team and the work and personnel helps that. The collective has to be the most important thing.”

Mason, Chelsea’s The Man on a Mission

One player who’s been an integral part of Lampard’s squad this season is academy graduate Mason Mount.

The England hasn’t been without his fair share of criticism this season and has been labelled as a favourite of Lampard to include in the first eleven even after poor performances.

Lampard voiced his praise for Mount and how important he is on the pitch.

“Every individual is different. We have a huge fan base and social media has changed criticism. He makes really efficient decisions; he presses more than any midfielder I have seen. I know that he has a lot to improve on, but he is a quality football player and is only going to get better. Any player doesn’t get favoritism, especially when there is competition in the squad.”

Chelsea Betting Prediction Against an Overmatched Rennes Squad

Chelsea are overwhelming favorites tonight against Rennes and it’s not just based on Chelsea’s good form.

Rennes have lost three of their last four games in Ligue 1 and are scoreless in their last two games. They’re yet to win a game in the UEFA Champions League as they sit bottom of Group E.

I think Chelsea win in a convincing fashion in France with Tammy Abraham scoring as he continues his good form.

Odds on Chelsea scoring the win open at -200. Odds on Rennes winning their first game in the Champions League open at +500. Odds on a draw between the two sides open at +350.

Tuesday’s Champions League Best Bets: Look for Goals to Come in Atalanta/Liverpool

Matchday 3 of Champions League play begins today with an eight-game slate, six of those matches coming at 3:00 PM ET on Tuesday.

If you’re looking for some daytime action to quench your thirst before settling in for hours of Election Day coverage, we have a trio of bets you can place on your Champions League ballot and a bonus third-party selection that features a parlay that would pay +589 should it hit. 

For my best Champions League bets, read on from here:

Atalanta vs. Liverpool

Outside of Real Madrid-Inter Milan, this could be the most entertaining match of the day as free-scoring Italian side Atalanta plays host to defending Premier League Champion Liverpool. 

This will be the first-ever matchup between these two European clubs and they currently reside in the top two spots in Group D, so the winner of this match will be right on the doorstep of qualifying for the knockout stages.

Liverpool comes into today’s match with a four-match winning streak to take them back to the top of the Premier League table after a shocking 7-2 thrashing at the hands of Leeds United earlier this year.  However, despite the recent winning stretch, Liverpool enters this match with a multitude of injuries to deal with, in particular the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Thiago Alcantara, and Joel Matip.  Fabinho also continues to recover from a hamstring injury, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is also expected to be absent from the Liverpool side due to injury.

These holes in the Liverpool defense should only create several opportunities for an Atalanta side that have scored 17 goals in six games of league play after leading all of Europe in goal scoring during the 2019/20 campaign. 

Liverpool’s notoriously stingy defense has not shown up yet this season, as The Reds have surrendered 15 goals in Premier League play this season, a total that took 24 matches to reach last season en route to their first league title in 30 years.  However, Atalanta also surrenders goals at a high rate, already conceding 13 of their own in league play thus far, thus the scoring could come in bunches in today’s match as well.

While Liverpool is the only side yet to concede a goal in Champions League play, I believe that run ends today when they face the best opponent they’ve seen yet in Atalanta.  The result of this match is up in the air, but the scoring should still come throughout the contest.  I am backing the Over 3.5 goals here at -117.  

Prediction: Atalanta 2, Liverpool 2
Best Bet:
OVER 3.5 Goals (-117)

Manchester City vs. Olympiakos

Manchester City returns home this afternoon to play host to Greek side Olympiakos in just the second-ever meeting between these two clubs.

Manchester City will enter today’s match with a banged-up squad and not a whole lot of ambition to go all out in this match as a date with Liverpool looms on Sunday. Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho, and Benjamin Mendy are all out today with injury, while Gabriel Jesus is questionable to play today.

This will require some creativity from Pep Guardiola if they are to manufacture much of an attack today.

Meanwhile, Olympiakos will be without three key players of their own as Mady Camara, Ousseynou Ba, and Hillal Soudani all tested positive for COVID-19 leading into this match, so a side that already figured to have its hands full at full strength will face an even bigger challenge now.

This has all of the makings of a match in which Pep will try to have his side get an early lead and suffocate their opponent to death as they coast into a massive weekend match with Liverpool.  Each of the previous four City matches has stayed under the 3.5 goals number and I expect this to be no different.

Prediction: Manchester City 2, Olympiakos 0
Best Bet:
UNDER 3.5 Goals (-167)

FC Midtjylland vs. Ajax

In what is essentially a virtuoso knockout match on its own, Danish side Midtjylland plays host to Dutch side Ajax that is currently ravaged by a COVID-19 outbreak hitting their squad.

Each club comes into their third Champions League match in desperate need of a win, as the two teams have combined for just 1 point.

Ajax faces an uphill climb entering the match as 11 players will not travel with the club to Denmark due to positive COVID-19 tests, including key players Andre Onana, Davy Klaassen, and Ryan Gravenberch, as well as team captain Dušan Tadić.

Fortunately for Ajax, it may not matter a whole lot as Midtjylland has been thoroughly outclassed in their first two matches against Atalanta and Liverpool, and have yet to notch a goal in group play.

The Dutch side is still unbeaten through their first seven matches in league play and sit atop of the Erediv table.  Despite their squad challenges entering this match, they offer great value on the moneyline today when they would otherwise be heavier favorites.

I am backing the Sons of the Gods here to win outright at -136.

Prediction: Midtjylland 1, Ajax 2
Best Bet:
Ajax ML (-136)

Bonus: RB Salzburg vs. Bayern Munich

In the bonus bet of the day, we’re going to back Bayern Munich to win on the money line at -305, but we will parlay it with the above three picks.

FC Salzburg has a respectable club, and they could very well factor into the mix of finishing in second place to Bayern Munich in this group, but Bayern Munich is just too much for the Austrian side to overcome, and I expect Bayern to cruise to an easy victory here.

Prediction: RB Salzburg 1, Bayern Munich 4
Parlay the Following:
Atalanta/Liverpool O3.5, City/Olympiakos U3.5, Ajax ML, Bayern ML (+589)

Wednesday’s Champions League Best Bets

By, Brent Booher

The second round of group stage play continues today in the Champions League, with several tantalizing matchups to pick from, including the headline match of the day between Barcelona and a Ronaldo-less Juventus squad.

Eight matches in all are on today’s schedule, here are the Best Bets we have found from the Wednesday slate.

Basaksehir FK vs. Paris Saint-Germain

Turkish club Basaksehir FK welcomes the 2020 Champions League runners up Paris Saint-Germain to the Basaksehir Fatih Terim Stadium for the second group match for both sides.

PSG seems to be back to their standard form, at least in league play, as they have rattled off six straight wins in Ligue 1 after starting the season with a pair of losses to freshly promoted Lens and Marseille.  During their winning streak, Les Parisiens have tallied 20 goals while conceding only a single goal. 

Paris Saint-Germain enters today’s UCL match not necessarily in “must-win” mode, but a 2-1 loss to Manchester United leaves the Parisiens with a small margin of error going forward, particularly in a group that is dangerous with the aforementioned Manchester United and Bundesliga heavyweight RB Leipzig also a part of it.

Despite the loss to Manchester United in the opening Champions League match, there were quite a bit of positives to carry forward from that match for PSG.  PSG led the match in ball possession (61%), created five shots on goal, and had 11 corner kicks.  They very easily could have left Old Trafford with a draw or outright win, but just could not get a timely goal when they needed it.  The lone goal of the match for PSG was an own goal scored by Anthony Martial, but the chances were there for more.

Meanwhile the Parisiens opponent today will be facing PSG for the first time in its club’s history, and it is about the worst conceivable time for Basaksehir to face a potent squad like Paris Saint-Germain, as the defending Turkish Super Lig champions are in particularly poor form at the moment, falling 2-0 in their opening UCL match against Leipzig and sputtering in league play where they are currently 11th in the table.

In today’s contest, Basaksehir will have their hands full with four key injuries (Caicara, Sengezer, Chadli, and Ucar are all injured and will not play today), leaving them precariously bare with goalscoring creators.

It’s unlikely that Basaksehir claims more than a few points in this loaded group, and it’s even more unlikely that they can get a point out of today’s match.  Look for a focused Paris Saint-Germain team to dominate from the opening kick and cruise to their first victory in the group stages.

Prediction: Basaksehir 0, Paris Saint-Germain 3
Best Bet:
Paris Saint-Germain -1.5 (-155)
If You’re Feeling Spicy:
Paris Saint-Germain to win 3-0 (+700)

Manchester United vs. RB Leipzig

In the second of two matches from Group H, Manchester United plays host to the current Bundesliga leaders, RB Leipzig, from Old Trafford.

Both teams come into their second group play match with wins in their first match, with United defeating Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 and Leipzig posting a clean sheet in a 2-0 win over Basaksehir last week.

Manchester United enters today’s match showing modest signs of improvement following a very shaky beginning to the 2020/21 season in which the Red Devils began the Premier League season getting outscored by a combined total of 9-2 by Crystal Palace and Tottenham, and they currently find themselves at 15th in the Premier League table.

United is notorious for beginning the season slowly and gradually improving as the year goes on, so Ole Gunnar Solskjær hopes the improvement is coming sooner than later. 

Manchester United, no matter what their form may be, does have some of the best players in the entire group, it’s just a matter of putting it all together in key moments, something that has evaded Solskjær during his entire tenure.  Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, and Paul Pogba all figure to play key roles in today’s match against a very dangerous Leipzig side, with Edinson Cavani likely to see the pitch at some point as well.

Meanwhile on the other side, unlike Manchester United, Leipzig has begun the new season in phenomenal form, as they have a current seven-match unbeaten streak with six wins in those seven contests.  Leipzig is currently atop the Bundesliga table with 14 points, and they remain undefeated in league play as well. 

Leipzig had a solid 2-0 opening victory in group stages last week against Basaksehir, but it was far from the form they are capable of showing, as the German side almost seemed content to let the early two-goal lead ride throughout a match in which they were never really threatened.

That likely will not be the case this afternoon, as Manchester United on talent alone will give Leipzig a much better match, and subsequently, we should anticipate Leipzig’s motivation levels for this match to be a little bigger while playing at Old Trafford for the first time in club history.

While Ole’s squad showed a lot of good signs of improvement in Saturday’s 0-0 draw that looked like it was played in a monsoon, there are still a lot of reasons for concern when backing the Red Devils.  Leipzig has been in superb form ever since the new season began, and we’re going to back them here to get another 3 points at Old Trafford.

Prediction:  Manchester United 1, RB Leipzig 2
Best Bets:
RB Leipzig ML (+230); Over 2.5 Goals (-142)
If You’re Feeling Spicy: 
RB Leipzig ML and Both Teams to Score Parlay (+440)

Juventus vs. FC Barcelona

In the marquee match of the day, Juventus plays host to Leo Messi and Barca from Allianz Stadium in Turin.

Unfortunately for footy fans, Cristiano Ronaldo continues to be sidelined as he currently is positive for COVID-19, otherwise we could have had one more Ronaldo vs. Messi moment to take in as each player’s career enters the final stages of their career.

Juventus enters today’s match on an eight-game unbeaten streak, including three draws in their last five matches.  The biggest issue concerning Juvy at the moment is their depth, as they are currently dealing not only with the loss of Ronaldo, but also Matthijs de Ligt, Alex Sandro, Giorgio Chiellini, and Leonardo Bonucci leaving the Juventus defense in very dire straits and dangerously thin, particularly when they’re about to face a Barca side that’s still heavy on talent.

Juventus is coming off a 2-0 win over Dynamo Kyiv in their first group play match, but Barcelona is a much different animal they will have to deal with later today.

Meanwhile, after a horrific ending to the 2020 Champions League and subsequent summer with the saga of Leo Messi’s contract, Barcelona finds itself playing in mostly solid form, though they did fall 3-1 to bitter rival Real Madrid last weekend in the latest installment of ‘El Clasico’.

Barcelona won their first match of group play 5-1 over Hungarian side Ferencvaros, and due to the current state of Juventus’ defense, figure to have another wonderful opportunity to take one step closer to the knockout stages. 

To add to the good news for Barca, the much-maligned board of directors and President both resigned after how everything transpired this offseason in regards to Leo Messi, so perhaps this good news can provide a lift to the team with that black cloud that was hanging above them since losing 8-2 to Bayern Munich finally passing by.

It’s rare to find a situation in which a side like Barcelona has this much value in a single betting match, but that’s what we have here.  While Juventus has played admirably in the wake of the many big losses to their back end, this could be the time where they’re stretched a little too thin.

If Juventus were at full strength for this match, we would favor the home side.  Considering how many injuries Juventus is dealing with, in addition to not having Ronaldo available as he continues to recover from COVID-19, and we’ll take Barcelona to score a road win.  We also fancy both teams to score in this contest.

Prediction: Juventus 1, Barcelona 3
Best Bet:
Barcelona ML (+145)
If You’re Feeling Spicy:
Barcelona to Win & BTTS (+310)