Monaco v Juventus
Wed, 19:45 BST
Live on Sky Sports 5
Monaco go into the game with good team news. Midfielders Jeremy Toulalan and Geoffrey Kondogbia were injury doubts but it appears both players will be fit to start. If the pair are fit the hosts will be at full strength.
After a slight illness worry, Arturo Vidal – scorer of the only goal in Juventus’ 1-0 first-leg win last week – should start. Paul Pogba is still sidelined by injury.
Monaco [3.5], Juventus [2.42], The Draw [3.25]
It is something of a mystery as to why Monaco are such big odds to win at home to Juventus this week.
Juventus may have won 1-0 when the sides met last week but it was a close match. The Serie A champions triumphed only thanks to a controversial penalty and for most of the game Monaco were as good as the Italian hosts.
The issue is that Monaco are an essentially counter-attacking side. They have won fewer than half their home games in all competitions this season. So arguably the draw would be a better selection than the home win.
But certainly at the prices available I would avoid Juventus, even though they showed their quality on the road by winning 3-0 at Borussia Dortmund in the previous round.
Under/Over 2.5 goals
Unders [1.52], Overs [2.9]
The bar is set low on Under 2.5 Goals because of these two teams’ reputations as low-scoring and/or sound defensive sides.
The first leg last week bore that out: the game ended 1-0 to Juventus and that goal came from the penalty spot. It would be no surprise if this second leg is a tense, terse, low-scoring encounter, too: Monaco will be just as wary of conceding an away goal that would give them a mountain to climb as they will be keen to score to level the tie. And Juventus, 1-0 ahead, can afford to sit back and wait to see what Monaco do before acting themselves.
The problem is the price on Under 2.5 Goals is low enough to be of little interest. At the odds available Overs is a more tempting selection as this is a sudden-death encounter. At some point Monaco will have to come out and play to get back into the tie. At that point it may develop into a more open fixture than the market predicts. Of the two prices I would rather be on Overs.
If, like me, you believe the price on a Monaco win is too big but are unsure whether to back the hosts or the draw then the Asian handicap is an alternative market. You can back Monaco with a slight start. This means you’ll make a profit if the hosts win or if the game ends in a draw. Essentially you have two horses running for you in a three-horse race, and this is available at just under evens. For more on how Asian handicap betting works, click here.
Over 2.5 Goals @ [2.9]Monaco +0 & +0.5 Asian handicap @ [1.93]