Real Madrid v Juventus: Goals the smart bet as a thrilling encounter awaits

Real Madrid v Juventus
Live on Sky Sports 1
Wed, 19:45 BST

Introduction

Real Madrid are still without Luka Modric and fellow midfielder Toni Kroos is a doubt with a thigh injury picked up against Valencia at the weekend. There is some good news for Real, however, as the hosts welcome back Karim Benzema. The France striker sat out their 2-1 first-leg defeat in Italy last week.

Another France international, Paul Pogba, is also fit. He turned out for Juventus in their 1-1 draw at Cagliari at the weekend, playing for an hour and scoring. That was his comeback game following seven weeks out through injury.

Match Odds
Real Madrid [1.69], Juventus [5.7], The Draw [4.2]

Unsurprisingly Real are favourites and obviously good enough to win, but given the mood in the camp at the moment I have some reservations about backing the hosts. They could have few complaints about their failure to win last week’s first leg and their chances of winning the Spanish league title suffered a potentially fatal blow when they dropped points at home to Valencia (2-2) at the weekend.

That domestic disappointment heaps even more pressure on Real ahead of this game. Juventus can be more relaxed about things for the simple reason that merely getting this far makes this a successful European campaign. If they can use that pressure to make Real feel nervous and get the home fans on the home players’ backs, then Juventus genuinely have a chance of going through.

I’m not sure this market is the best way of backing Juventus, but I certainly wouldn’t support the hosts at an odds-on price.

Under/Over 2.5 Goals
Unders [2.1], Overs [1.9]

I cannot see this game staying goalless for long. Last week’s match was an open encounter played at a good pace and this match is likely to unfold along similar lines.

Real have to score to stand a chance of making the final and are likely to carry the game to the visitors from the start. It is almost impossible to believe Real won’t score at some point, and if and when they do find the net Juventus will need to score to stay in the tie.

It would be no surprise if Real score a couple of times given their individual and collective quality in attack, but what we learned from last week’s first leg is that Juventus are good enough to do likewise. Away from home the Serie A champions may enjoy less possession than they did last week but have the pace and energy to cause Real serious problems when they get into the final third.

Overs is the selection.

Both Teams to Score?
Yes [1.88], No [2.04]

Backing ‘Yes’ in the Both Teams to Score? market is a worthwhile alternative to backing Over 2.5 Goals. The odds are about the same and it covers the possibility of a 1-1 final scoreline, which obviously wouldn’t pay out with an Overs bet. I’m surprised ‘Yes’ is as big as it is given the attacking qualities and defensive frailties these two sides displayed last week, not to mention the sudden-death nature of this encounter.

Recommended Bet
Over 2.5 Goals @ [1.9]