The record winners of the Champions League Real Madrid get their campaign underway in Milan, facing Inter. Jake Osgathorpe has two bets for the game.
2pts Real Madrid to win Draw No Bet at 11/10 (General)
1pt Karim Benzema to score anytime at 8/5 (Unibet)
Two clubs rich in history go head to head in Milan, with Inter taking on Real Madrid.
Usually, one of the great things about the Champions League is that these kinds of meetings are rare, and so they are even more special when they do occur, but... these two sides met in the group stage last season.
In fact, Shakhtar Donetsk, who are in their group this season, were in that same group last season. So these three sides will know each other pretty well.
The rest of the team has remained much the same, and that doesn't bode well for La Nerazzurri, who lost both group meetings with Madrid, including a 2-0 reverse at the Giuseppe Meazza.
So far this season, they have looked steady domestically in picking up seven points, but Inter have played only Genoa, Verona and Sampdoria - so are yet to be tested.
Defensively they have looked vulnerable in those three games against three average attacking sides, not a good sign ahead of a game against a free-flowing Madrid unit.
Carlo Ancelotti knows how to win the Champions League title. He left Everton in the summer to head back to Madrid, where he guided Los Blancos to European success in 2014, and his side have started the season well.
Three wins and a draw against three likely bottom-half teams and Real Betis may not scream 'excellent', but the manner of their performances are eye-catching. Madrid have averaged 2.34 xGF per game, so are having no issues in attack.
They have been tarnished with a similar brush to Barcelona, being a catastrophe club, but Madrid aren't near Barca in that category. Their starting XI is still exceptional. A front three of Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale/Vinicius Junior is dangerous, and the midfield options they have are top class (Kroos, Modric, Casemiro, Valverde, Camavinga, Isco).
Defence is where they have been hit hard by outgoings, losing both Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, but both Eder Militao and Nacho finished last season extremely well, and Dani Carvajal is back to full fitness, as is David Alaba.
To me, they are the better team in this match-up, and should be marginal favourites even in Milan. With the XI's similar to last season (Inter now worst, Real level), Madrid won the xG battle over two games 3.30 - 0.94.
They were dominant, so backing them to go to the Giuseppe Meazza and win looks a sensible bet. But, out of respect for the Italian champions, backing REAL MADRID TO WIN DRAW NO BET looks a safer way in.
At 11/10, the price is excellent, and this bet would win should Real beat Inter, but if the game ends in a draw, we will get our stake back, so we have the added security. If Inter win then this bet is a loser.
Another bet I like the look of is KARIM BENZEMA TO SCORE ANYTIME at a best price of 8/5.
The Frenchman is in excellent form, and has been for some time now. A hat-trick against Celta Vigo at the weekend takes his tally to five in La Liga, as well as contributing four assists. We are focusing on his goalscoring, though.
He is Real Madrid's Robert Lewandowski, the main finisher of chances. Other players contribute, but Benzema gets the bulk.
Interestingly, Benzema is fourth on the all-time Champions League top scorer list behind Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Lewandowski, and perhaps he doesn't get the credit he deserves for that.
The fact he gets into scoring positions regularly in an attack-minded Madrid team means the goals will continue to come, and the price about him to net against a vulnerable Inter team looks too big. He is as short as 11/10 elsewhere.
Score prediction: Inter Milan 1-2 Real Madrid (Sky Bet odds: 17/2)
Odds correct at 1645 BST (13/09/21)
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