The last eight of the Champions League 2018/19 is upon us! The draw has been kind with a blockbuster billing of top European club clashes to look forward too! But who should you backing, betting on and taking a punt on at the quarter final stages of the Champions League? We have some ideas before you put your cash down....
1 .) Tottenham vs Man City: Man City to Win & Both Teams to Score!
Manchester City face Tottenham Hotspurs in a European Club competition for the first time on Tuesday 9th April 2019. The game will be Spurs first European match in their new state of the art, Totteham Hotspur Stadium.
Spurs will be pleased to have reached this stage, however I can't see Mauricio Pochettino's men having enough to beat a super strong City. City might have lost all of their previous four games against English opposition (Liverpool in 2018 and Chelsea in 1971) in European club competitions, but this City setup is becoming an all out winning machine! Guardiola's men have only lost once this year, while Spurs have trailed off significantly over the last few months.
The betting shows Man City are just odds on favs to win away to Spurs, 8/11 (Paddy Power) for Manchester City to win, the draw at 3/1 (Betfred) and 7/2 (William Hill) for Tottenham to win. City quite justifiably are favourites and arguably they should be stronger favourites! In their last three meetings City are winning 8-2 on aggregate! Tottenham haven't beaten Manchester City since a 2-0 win October 2016 at White Hart Lane. If you fancy Spurs to win the first leg 2-0 you can get odds of 30/1 with BetVictor!
Tottenham have performed poorly against the top teams this season with only two wins against the top 5 teams in the Premier League. Tottenham haven't won in the Premier League since 10th February with there only recent wins have come in the Champions League matches against Dortmund.
Tottenham rarely fail to disappoint at the business end of the season, however they always remain a goal threat! City can score at will and for that reason I like the look of Manchester City win result and both teams to score. That provides greater value than just backing Manchester City to win the match! I certainly can't see a 0-0 or 1-0 scoreline!
Tottenham vs Manchester City: Manchester City to win and both teams to score @ 11/5 - Visit Coral!
2.) Liverpool vs Porto: Liverpool - 1.75 Asian Handicap!
Liverpool vs Porto is a rematch of last year's Champions League round of 16 phase! Jurgen Klopp's team emerged victorious last season with a 5-0 aggregate win! Liverpool should be confident and have nothing to fear in this tie.
Porto have strong a Champions League pedigree having won the competition twice (1987 and 2004) and reaching the 1/4 final in 2015. Porto overturned a 2-1 first leg defeat in Rome, to beat Roma in the return leg 4-3 on aggregate after extra time. Moussa Merega (the 'Malian Mane') is the Porto danger man having scored the bulk of Porto's goals in the last couple of seasons.
The bookies strongly fancy Liverpool to get past Porto, and the Merseysiders are just behind Barcelona as 4th favourites to win the Champions League at 4/1 (Betfred). Porto meanwhile are big outsiders at 100/1 (Betfair) to win the Champions League.
Liverpool have never been beaten by Porto in six previous European club competition meetings. Liverpool were 5-0 up after the first leg last season, drawing the second leg 0-0 at Anfield. Liverpool relaxed in the second leg and played out a nil nil result. This time round at Anfield i'm expecting fireworks under the lights! Salah, Mane and Firminio will be too fast, tricky and skilful for a Porto defence which is one of the most fragile left in the competition.
Like last year I fancy Liverpool to do the business in the first leg to leave no doubts whose in charge going into the second leg. I think anything above evens for Liverpool to win by two goals or more is an absolute gift! Liverpool have the firepower to blow away a fairly average Porto team. Veteran goalkeeper Iker Casillas has warned Liverpool should not underestimate Porto, however this is a hollow gesture. Liverpool will win and win comfortably!
The best way to play Liverpool's potential dominance over Porto is by means of a Asian Handicap bet, back Liverpool -1.75 Asian Handicap with Unibet. If you want to learn more about this type of betting then you can read our Asian Handicap Betting Guide!
Liverpool vs Porto: Liverpool - 1.75 Asian Handicap @ 5/4 - Visit Unibet!
3.) Ajax vs Juventus: Ajax to Qualify
Ajax vs Juventus inspires thoughts of Champions League classics of years gone by. Juventus and Ajax tussled in the 1996 Champions League final and 1997 Semi-Final with Juventus coming out on top in both ties. Superstar names like Zinedine Zidane, Gianluca Vialli, Alessandro Del Piero, Patrick Kluivert, Edgar Davids and Frank De Boer were key players in those classic games. Over 20 years on there's plenty of new names to catch the eye!
Ajax are underdogs against a Juventus side led by their Portuguese talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo. The bookies have Juventus as strong favourites over the two legs, 21/20 (Coral) to win the first leg in Holland. Ajax are justifiable outsiders (7/2 to qualify with William Hill), but with Schone, Neres, de Jong, Ziyech and Tadic the side is packed with high class talent.
Ajax came through an epic 5-3 aggregate win over last season's Champions League winners, Real Madrid. The young exciting Dutch side thoroughly deserved their convincing win and must now be considered as dangerous dark horses. Ajax have some talented players in their squad and all of Europe's elite clubs are looking on with interest to unearth the next gem from a club that keeps on producing great talents.
Ajax started their campaign back in July 2018 against Sturm and have got through to this stage with just one defeat. Ajax had to play 6 games just to get to the group stages of the Champions League! Question marks could be levelled against the standard of opposition Ajax have faced thus far, with Real Madrid and Bayern Munich sides coming to their end of their prime. Nevertheless this Ajax has plenty of high quality players, such as de Jong, de Ligt and Ziyech!
Meanwhile Juventus have been far from convincing in Europe this season with three defeats in their last five Champions League games, losing all of the last three away games in Europe (Manchester United, Young Boys and Atletico Madrid). But Ronaldo (as you would expect) has been the ever present and is the main goal threat for the Italian giants. There are however injury doubts as whether Ronaldo will even play in the first leg after suffering an injury on international duty.
Ronaldo grabbed a hattrick against Simone's side to ensure safe passage into the last eight. You wouldn't bet against Ronaldo finding the net again in the first leg (assuming Ronaldo is fit and plays), and Unibet are pricing Ronaldo anytime goalscorer at 5/4!
I fancy Ajax to shock Juventus and get through over the two legs. Juventus have been shaky in recent months and I think Ajax have the weapons to score heavily against Juve, even if Ronaldo grabs a few goals over the tie! Ajax to qualify is the value bet of the Champions League quarter final round!
Ajax vs Juventus : Ajax to qualify @ 7/2 - Visit William Hill!
4.) Manchester United vs Barcelona: Manchester United to Qualify
Manchester United fans are bound to feel delighted to still be in the biggest European club side competition this year. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer managed to guide his side to a dramatic win on away goals against PSG. Marcus Rashford kept his nerve and slotted home an injury time penalty to ensure progress. But can Rashford and his Norwegian manager lead the English side to another momentous victory in Europe?
Solskjaer will return to the Nou Camp (2nd leg) as manager after leading Manchester United to one of their most famous European nights back in 1999. The bookies have Barcelona as firm favourites! Barca are best priced at 2/7 (Coral) to qualify with United 11/4 (Bet Victor) to qualify.
Barcelona will be with Luis Suarez for the tie after the Uruguayan striker recovered from a minor injury in a game against Real Betis. In the same game the opposition applauded Messi such was the quality of the little Argentinian's display!
Manchester United won't have anything to lose and I can see United's forwards causing Barcelona plenty of problems. United have power and pace on a level Barcelona won't have experienced week to week in La Liga. With Atletico and Real off the pace this year, the league should be won at something of a cantor. Will the lack of competition in the Spanish league come back to bite Barcelona?
If Solskjaer's men can match their intensity from the PSG game, I can see Manchester United emerging as winners over the two legs. United to qualify is the bet for me! Somehow, some way, by some means I can see Man Utd getting the job done! Solskjaer might not be the best manager in the world, but he might just be a lucky manager!
Manchester United vs Barcelona : Manchester United to qualify @ 11/4 - Visit Bet Victor!
5.) English team to win the Champions League
So there are four English teams left in the competition with 100% guarantee that there will be at least one English team in the Semi-Final.
I strongly fancy the two leading English teams to get through, Manchester City and Liverpool and if Manchester United get through it's highly likely we'll see an all English final. It has been 10 years since we last saw four English sides compete in the quarter final stage of the Champions League and that time round three went onto the Semi-Final stage.
I fully expect the odds for an English team to win the Champions League to come in as the quarter final games unfold. Placing a bet on an English team to win the Champions League before the quarter finals kick off would be the best way to play things.
Betfair are currently offering 8/11 for the nationality of the team that wins the Champions League to be an English team. I think that represents good value and that's my Banker Champions League Bet!
Champions League 2018/2019 - Nationality of Winner: England @ 8/11 - Visit Betfair!
Best priced odds. All odds are correct at the time of publishing (17:00 30th March 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