The Champions League group stages begin to conclude on Tuesday night. Tom Carnduff has found value in the stats betting.
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Barcelona v Tottenham
Nou Camp, Group B, 2000 GMT, BT Sport 3
It's not the fixture Tottenham would have wanted when needing victory to secure passage in the Champions League but Mauricio Pochettino's men head to the Camp Nou aiming for a positive result.
Spurs sit in second in their group, but the fact that Inter host bottom-placed PSV highlights how the advantage is firmly with the Serie A club.
However, Tottenham do beat Inter when it comes to head-to-head away goals, and therefore will progress if they match Inter's result points-wise.
It was a highly-entertaining encounter when these two met at Wembley, with Lionel Messi starring once again as Barca ran out 4-2 winners.
Tottenham's results have improved since that game though with two wins and a draw, and I don't buy into the argument that they have 'no chance' in Spain on Tuesday night.
Pochettino's side have the best away record in the Premier League with 24 points gained from a possible 30. In comparison, Manchester City have only managed to gain 17 points (although they have played two games less, but even two victories wouldn't match Spurs' record).
Harry Kane will be fresh for this one having only played 15 minutes in their 2-0 win over Leicester at the weekend, and I am a huge fan of the 7/2 available on him to have two or more shots in this game.
Kane has managed to hit that criteria in his last four Champions League encounters. He had two in their last meeting with Inter, a total of seven across two games against PSV and, most importantly, two shots on target in their home defeat to Barca.
Spurs can't rely on favours from PSV given their form so far and will have to look to take their opportunities. The striker leads the way for shots taken by some distance, his 51 in total significantly more than the 24 taken by Son Heung-Min in second.
Alongside that, the 3/1 general price on a draw looks tempting too given the permutations. Despite their quality, Barca have proven that they can slip-up in front of their own supporters this season and the Premier League's best away team can capitalise.
- Barcelona are unbeaten in their previous three meetings with Tottenham Hotspur in all competitions, winning the last two. They defeated Spurs 4-2 at Wembley Stadium on MD2 this season.
- Barcelona have lost just one of their last 12 Champions League meetings with English clubs (W9 D2 L1), with that defeat coming in November 2016 at Manchester City (1-3).
- Since the start of 1976-77, Barcelona have lost just one of their 30 European home matches against English clubs; this coming against Liverpool in February 2007 (1-2).
- Matchday six is the only matchday in the Champions League group stages that Tottenham have never lost on, winning two and drawing one of their three games.
- Barcelona have won their Champions League group for the 12th consecutive season. However, the winner of Group B has only won the Champions League once (Real Madrid in 2013-14).
- Barcelona are unbeaten in their last 28 home Champions League games (W26 D2). They’ve scored 87 goals in that run, while conceding just 13 and never more than once in a match.
- Tottenham are winless away from home in the Champions League this season (D1 L1) – they’ve won at least two away points in every previous Champions League group stage.
- Tottenham striker Harry Kane has scored seven goals in his seven Champions League away games.
- Barcelona star Lionel Messi has been involved in 28 goals (22 goals, 6 assists) in 29 Champions League appearances against English clubs.
- Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has scored 22 goals against English clubs in the Champions League; 10 more than any other player (Cristiano Ronaldo, 12 goals).
Liverpool v Napoli
Anfield, Group C, 2000 GMT, BT Sport 2
Like Tottenham, Liverpool's hopes of progression comes down to the final game although they find themselves in third.
They take on Napoli at Anfield though, while PSG are away at Belgrade. Despite it appearing a straightforward PSG victory over paper, neither Napoli or Liverpool were able to secure victory in their away ties against Red Star.
They make sit top of the Premier League table, but Jurgen Klopp's men have struggled in Europe this season with three losses and two wins. They're odds-on favourites for victory here, but Napoli are a quality outfit.
Group C permutations
- The most complicated of possible outcomes means current group leaders Napoli, second-placed Paris St Germain and Liverpool, in third, can still all qualify. Red Star Belgrade are bottom of the table, but could yet make it through to the last 32 of the Europa League.
- Liverpool host Napoli and must win to have any chance of going through - victory by more than one goal will ensure qualification.
- Should PSG beat Red Star away, Jurgen Klopp's men will need a 1-0 triumph or victory by two goals or more to finish second behind the French side, but other win margins will not be enough.
- If the game in Belgrade is a draw, Liverpool will advance with any win as it would leave them, PSG and Napoli all on nine points - with the English club finishing first on the three-way head-to-head.
- Red Star will take third place if they win and Liverpool lose.
Napoli are also the unbeaten group leaders, with a draw away at PSG highlighting how they have had no issues on their travels.
They also sit second in the away standings in Serie A, with five wins and two defeats so far. It'll be no easy task for a Liverpool side who will likely have to win by two or more goals.
We're going to look towards the stats betting again here, with Lorenzo Insigne's remarkable 66 shots on goal in Serie A and 17 shots in the Champions League providing the value.
What is of interest is the fact that Insigne is beaten by Dries Mertens for shots taken in the Champions League, and we'd expect a high shot encounter in what could be a tense affair.
Two bets caught my eye and both rely upon Napoli midfielder Allan having 1+ shots on target, the other two criteria involve the Italian side's strikers.
Allan has averaged a shot in each Champions League game this season, while his tally stands at 13 in Serie A. It's a bit ask, but given the fact that 2+ shots on target for each of Insigne and Mertens is 13/8 highlights how the 10/1 available on these selections does look appealing.
- This will be the fourth competitive meeting between Liverpool and Napoli, with the two sides having a balanced record of one win apiece and a draw.
- Napoli enjoyed a 1-0 win over Liverpool on MD2 of the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League, thanks to a 90th minute goal from Lorenzo Insigne; a goal that was the 18th and final shot in the match.
- Liverpool didn’t attempt a single shot on target in their Champions League meeting with Napoli on MD2; the first time that they had failed to attempt a single shot on target in a Champions League match since February 2006 (vs Benfica).
- Liverpool are unbeaten in 18 successive European matches at Anfield (W13 D5 L0), last losing at home in European competition back in October 2014 against Real Madrid (0-3).
- Napoli haven’t won any of their last six UEFA Champions League away matches (W0 D2 L4), with their last victory on the road in the competition coming in Lisbon against Benfica, back in December 2016 (2-1).
- If Napoli avoid defeat, they’ll have reached the knockout stages for the third time in five Champions League campaigns (also 2011-12 and 2016-17).
- Liverpool need to win 1-0 or by a two-goal margin to avoid being eliminated – they’ve been knocked out at this stage in two of their last three Champions League campaigns.
- Liverpool have won (4) and scored (3) more penalties in the Champions League this season than any other side.
- Dries Mertens’ two goals for Napoli against Crvena Zvezda on MD5 took his tally to 10 in the Champions League, making him the outright highest Belgian goalscorer in the competition.
- Mohamed Salah has scored eight goals in eight UEFA Champions League matches as a Liverpool player at Anfield – only Steven Gerrard (14) has scored more goals at home for Liverpool in the competition than the Egyptian.
Club Brugge v Atletico Madrid
Jan Breydel Stadium, Group A, 2000 GMT, BT Sport Extra 3
This group is done and dusted in terms of progression, although Atletico will be looking to wrap up top spot with victory over Club Brugge.
Brugge are guaranteed a spot in next season's Europa League with a third-place finish, while the pressure will be on the visitors here as Dortmund travel to take on a struggling Monaco side.
The value in this game comes in the card markets with Italian referee Davide Massa in charge. He has shown at least five yellows in each Serie A game this season, while his only Champions League game saw four.
Brugge's last home Champions League game against Monaco brought 60 booking points in total, with the first fixture between these two seeing a total of four yellows.
You imagine it'll be a competitive affair given the fact that Atletico are battling to secure top spot, while Brugge will be aiming to finish their campaign on a high ahead of their switch to the last-32 of the Europa League.
Three of Brugge's last four home games in all competitions has seen at least 50 booking points, with the same applying to three of Dortmund's last four away.
At a best price of 13/8, 50+ booking points looks an appealing option given the factors involved in the game.
Best bet: 50+ booking points at 13/8
- Club Brugge have won both of their previous two home games with Atlético Madrid in European competition; 2-0 in March 1978 (European Cup) and 2-1 in March 1992 (Cup Winners’ Cup).
- Club Brugge only attempted one shot on target in their MD2 meeting with Atlético Madrid, but that shot from Arnaut Danjuma Groeneveld in the 39th minute was converted.
- Club Brugge haven’t won any of their last eight home matches in European competition (W0 D3 L5) and have failed to score in five of these games. Their last home win in Europe came in November 2015 against Legia Warszawa.
- Atlético Madrid have won just one of their last seven UEFA Champions League away matches (W1 D4 L2), with that victory coming earlier this season in Monaco (2-1).
- Atlético Madrid have kept a clean sheet in 47% of their Champions League games (38/81) – the best ratio of any team to have played more than 10 games in the competition.
- Victory for Atlético Madrid will see them win their Champions League group for the fifth time in the past six seasons, failing only last term when they finished third.
- Club Brugge are unbeaten in their last three Champions League matches (W1 D2) – they’ve never gone four without defeat in the competition.
- Atlético Madrid have faced fewer shots on target than any other Champions League side this season (11). However, they’ve conceded six goals, meaning they’ve conceded the highest % of shots on target faced in the competition so far (55%).
- Antoine Griezmann has been directly involved in six of Atlético Madrid’s nine Champions League goals this season (67%), with four goals and two assists. o If he plays, it will be Diego Godin’s 50th Champions League appearance for Atlético Madrid, making him the second player to reach the milestone for the club in the competition (Koke, 53 games).
Odds correct at 1525 GMT (10/12/18)