The two semi-finals have conjured two fantastic match ups. Liverpool vs Barcelona pits the bookies top two favourites against each other, with the other tie featuring the 'underdogs' of Ajax and Tottenham Hotspur. Both contests are difficult to call given the shocks we have already seen in this seasons Champions League. We will see more drama and unpredictable results? These are our Champions League best bets for the semi-final stage...…
1 .) TOTTENHAM VS AJAX
Tottenham Hotspur vs Ajax - 8pm Tuesday 30th April (Tottenham Hotspur Stadium)
Ajax vs Tottenham Hotspur - 8pm Wednesday 8th May (Johan Cruijff Arena)
Tottenham and Ajax will both be delighted to have reached this stage of the competition. Tottenham have bettered last seasons round of 16 exit and have eclipsed their 2010/2011 Champions League campaign when they were comprehensively beaten by Real Madrid. But which side has the composure to go all the way?
Both sides will fancy their chances to progress to the final (Spurs at evens (Betfred) & Ajax at 9/10 (Betfair)) of the most prestigious club competition in the world. With Real Madrid, Juventus, Bayern Munich and other European giants likely to raid the world transfer markets this summer, this opportunity could represent the best chance in a generation for both sides.
A cloud of euphoria has hovered around the Tottenham camp in recent weeks, but the win against city over two legs has masked a more concerning reality. Since the first leg against Dortmund, Spurs have won only 5 games out 13 (7 defeats and 1 draw). Arguably some of those wins could have been draws, and draws could have been defeats. The main point being Tottenham are not in hot form!
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino admitted this week that a negative mood is clouding his young squad going into their biggest European tie since 1962. Tottenham are without Harry Winks, Harry Kane, Heung Min Son (suspended) and Moussa Sissoko is a major doubt.
Ajax have been magnificent in the competition so far, flying through the groups stages and dumping out Real Madrid and Juventus with strong away wins in both rounds. Ajax are setup to soak up pressure and counter attack as well as take advantage of set pieces. And that's exactly what I see happening on Tuesday night.
Ajax have only lost 5 games all season, which is impressive given the number of games the Dutch side have played. And 13 wins in their last 15 points to a team who are gathering strong momentum at just the right time in the season. Ajax have already put higher calibre sides to the sword this year and I fully expect Ajax to do the business over two legs.
Ajax represent outstanding value for a punt in this tie. Ajax are priced at 2/1 (Unibet) to beat Tottenham in the first leg. Given Spurs injury and suspension crisis these odds represent great value. Grab it while you can!
Tottenham vs Ajax: Ajax to win @ 2/1 - Visit Unibet!
Tottenham vs Ajax: Ajax to qualify @ 9/10 - Visit Betfair!
2 .) BARCELONA VS LIVERPOOL
Barcelona vs Liverpool - 8pm Wednesday 1st May (Camp Nou)
Liverpool vs Barcelona - 8pm Tuesday 7th May (Anfield)
Barcelona vs Liverpool is the sort of game which is fit to grace any final! Two teams full of high class quality footballers who have been in outstanding form all season and who have firepower in abundance. What a prospect for any football fan! But what bets should be placing on the game?
It's been 12 years since the two giants met in Europe's biggest club competition. On that occasion Liverpool went through on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate score, beating Barcelona at the Nou Camp 2-1 and losing by a single goal at Anfield. If you fancy a repeat of that first leg scoreline, William Hill are offering 14/1 for Liverpool to beat Barcelona 2-1.
Barcelona (just like Liverpool) have a great pedigree in this competition, however the Catalans surprisingly haven't reached a final since 2015 (beating Juventus). In the last three seasons Barca have been knocked out at the quarter-final stage so Messi and co are bound to feel some pressure to make this year count.
Ernesto Valverde and Jurgen Klopp's sides should have plenty of motivation to progress given the winners of this semi-final will be strongly fancied to win the Champions League final in Madrid on June 1. Barcelona are favourites to win the Champions League at 13/8 with Bet Victor and Liverpool are 5/2 with Betfred!
Barcelona come into the game having wrapped up La Liga with a hard fought 1-0 victory against Levante on Saturday night. Liverpool meanwhile are still fighting Manchester City all the way in the Premier League. You could make a case for and against as to who hands this plays into. Will Barca lose their sharpness or will Liverpool be fatigued fighting on two fronts?
Given two Liverpool old boys, Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho are playing for Barcelona, it's sure add some spice to the tie. Coutinho moved to Barcelona to win the big trophies, but will Liverpool have the last laugh? For the first leg Suarez is 13/10 to score anytime and Coutinho is 13/5 to score anytime - both odds with Unibet!
For me it feels like Liverpool are turning it on at just the right time, Salah and Mane look like running riot every time Liverpool play. Liverpool will get chances and if they take them at the right time, it wouldn't surprise if Liverpool scored a few goals in Spain. I like the look of Liverpool to score over 1.5 goals in the first leg tie, at 37/20 with Unibet! Good odds for a team that have scored 102 goals in the Premier League and Champions League this season!
The Merseysiders are unlikely to sit back and just defend and if they do, they will pose a very dangerous counter attack against a Barcelona defence lacking pace. I was surprised at the limpness of Manchester United performance against Barcelona in the quarter final. Utd had openings in the away leg which on another night could lead the tie to a very different result. Barcelona won't have come up against a team like Liverpool with pace, power and explosive attacking options.
I fancy Liverpool to present a much sterner proposition and truly test Barcelona. Backing Liverpool is where the betting value is and Liverpool to qualify over two legs is the way to play it. Liverpool at 5/4 to qualify with Betfair is a great bet, and think the odds might well be lower than after Wednesday's game!
Barcelona vs Liverpool (1st leg) : Liverpool Goals: Over 1.5 @ 39/20 - Visit Unibet!
Barcelona vs Liverpool : Liverpool to qualify @ 5/4 - Visit Betfair!
Best priced odds. All odds are correct at the time of publishing (22:00 28th April 2019) and are subject to change.
Francois is one of Howtobet4free’s co-founders and has written many of Howtobet4free’s popular Betting Guides. Francois also helps run the @howtobet4free_ Twitter account