Mark O'Haire
2 weeks ago - 8 minute read

Mark O’Haire – Two Bets For Champions League Matchday 2

Football betting analyst Mark O’Haire takes a look at the best betting opportunities from matchday two of the Champions League this midweek.

It was a profitable weekend for my latest Insights column as goals flowed in games at Sassuolo and Fortuna Dusseldorf to deliver a pair of profit-makers. The ever-unpredictable Atalanta covered the line themselves before half-time in Italy, whilst Freiburg continued their eye-catching start with victory in Germany after falling behind early on.

We’ve another busy week ahead with matchday two from the Champions League and Europa League taking top billing. I’ve found a fancy from France on Wednesday I’m keen to share, as well a match in Moscow that appeals on Tuesday night.

Goals Fancied In France

After a wobbly start, Chelsea appear to be finding the right path to progress under Frank Lampard. The Blues definitely deserved at least a point when welcoming Valencia to Stamford Bridge, and followed that encouraging effort up with a decent display against table-topping Liverpool. On Saturday, the West Londoners overcame Brighton 2-0.

That weekend effort felt significant.

With N’Golo Kante absent, and Anthony Rudiger unavailable through injury, Brighton were a potential banana-skin at the Bridge. But Chelsea performed with aplomb, firing in 17 first-half shots and quite possibly deserving more than their two-goal tally. It was the first time this term Brighton were convincingly second-best.

Lampard’s shown versatility and adaptability in the opening exchanges of the season, and going forward the Blues are a match for most in the Premier League. On Saturday, he fielded a front six of Jorginho, Mason Mount, Ross Barkley, Willian, Tammy Abraham and Pedro; with key backline players out, clearly he believes attack is the best form of defence.

Despite showering Chelsea in superlatives for their final-third efforts, issues remain over their ability to limit opposition outfits. Brighton hit the woodwork and were able to generate a couple of goalscoring chances, and the balance of the Blues side does feel a little top-heavy whenever Kante is out. The World Cup winner is again doubtful doubt this week.

Jorginho of Chelsea (L) celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal against Brighton at the weekend.

That should encourage a Lille side that shouldn’t be written off as the odds suggest.

Les Dogues took French football by storm last term, finishing behind PSG after starting the campaign as 501.0 outsiders. The Flanders club lost a collection of leading lights in the summer, although renowned recruitment specialist Luis Campos has replenished the squad.

Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen has seamlessly slotted into Lille’s attack, whilst Jonathan Bamba and Jonathan Ikone remain in situ. Benjamin Andre was an eye-catching arrival and Les Dogues tend to relish their matches at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, pocketing a formidable 17 victories from 23 Ligue 1 outings here since the start of last season.

Christophe Galtier is a canny tactician who relishes the underdog role. His team walloped PSG here in April and didn’t deserve a 3-0 defeat handed to them by Ajax on matchday one. Expect a forward-thinking approach, and so with two teams’ strengths in attacking areas, I’m surprised to see Over 2.5 Goals available at almost even-money (1.97) on Wednesday night.

In 2018/19, Lille saw five of their six games when welcoming top-seven teams to the Stade Pierre-Mauroy break the Over 2.5 Goals barrier, as have three of their first four here this term. Five of Chelsea’s first seven Premier League encounters under Lampard have followed suit, whilst the duo have managed just two shutouts between them in league and cup.

Moscow Men Can Be Competitive Against Atleti

Atletico Madrid were involved in an attritional and intense Madrid derby meeting with city rivals Real on Saturday night and 72 hours later face a tricky trip to Moscow for a match-up with Lokomotiv. Despite the heavy schedule, Diego Simeone’s side have been chalked up as very short odds-on favourites to come away from Russia with maximum points.

Los Colchoneros have endured a few teething problems in the early exchanges of 2019/20, only natural after undergoing such a large turnover of playing personnel in the summer. And whilst the Spaniards should be expected to produce up a positive performance, I just have to find a way of opposing them here at the prices, considering the circumstances.

A trip to Moscow is one of the longest journeys for Atletico to endure and conditions are due to be much wetter and cooler than the sweaty late summer in Spain. What’s more, the visitors have pocketed 11 (34%) wins from 32 away Champions League ties since returning to Europe’s top table in 2013 and only five (16%) came via a margin of two goals or more.

Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid face a tough trip out east this week.

The caveat here is Lokomotiv are the weakest team in the pool. But I still believe there’s merit in supporting the hosts with a +1 start on the Asian Handicap line at 1.78. After all, the only way our stake will be lost is if Atletico bank victory by at least two goals.

Like the majority of Russian Premier League clubs, Lokomotiv are at their strongest in front of their home fans. Loko overcame defending domestic champions Zenit here on Saturday and are built around a strong and solid spine, quite similar to Atleti’s approach. There’s a sprinkling of talent in the squad and enough ability to keep this contest competitive.

The hosts flopped in last season’s Champions League group-stage but I feel they’re well-suited to the challenge of Simeone’s side and are worth chancing with a generous handicap start on Tuesday evening.

Recommended Bets

  • Over 2.5 Goals in Lille v Chelsea – 3 units @ 1.95
  • Lokomotiv Moscow +1.0 – 2 units @ 1.78