Man City v Barcelona tips
Manchester City take on Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night and the game is live on ITV1 from 7.45pm.
Barca have reached the quarter-final's of the Champions League in each of the last seven seasons and with the advantage of playing the second leg at home, it is no surprise that they are favourites to do so again at odds of 2/5 generally, while City can be backed at a stand-out 12/5 with Coral 'to qualify'.
As far as this first leg is concerned, Barca are available at best odds of 6/5 with William Hill and Betfred, while City can be backed at 5/2 and the draw at 13/5 - both with Bet365.
These sides met at the very same stage last season, when Barcelona won 2-0 here at the Etihad (4-1 on aggregate), but that was the Catalans only win in their last seven away games in the knockout stages of the Champions League (D2, L4), while they also lost 3-2 at PSG in the group stages this season.
City warmed up for this game with a thumping 5-0 win over Newcastle here at the weekend, while Barca actually lost their last league game 1-0 to Malaga at home. But before City fans get too excited, they should remember that Barca had won their previous 11 games in the Spanish League and Cup, scoring a total of 42 goals - an average of nearly 4 goals per game - with Lionel Messi contributing 14 of those alone.
It is not often you get to back Barcelona at odds-against and with Yaya Toure suspended for Manuel Pellegrini's side we suggest backing the visitors at 23/20 with Paddy Power - who are offering to refund all losing bets, up to £50, on either Barca or City, if the game finishes as a draw. Actually, the last three times Paddy Power have run this promotion (Everton v Liverpool, Chelsea v Man City & PSG v Chelsea) the games all ended in a draw!
It is also worth noting that Bet365 are offering their incredible free In-Play bet offer for this game. Simply place a pre-match bet on the match with them, then once the game starts, place another bet on any In-Play market - if your first In-Play bet loses, they will refund your stake up to the value of your (largest) pre-match bet - up to £50.
We therefore suggest backing Messi to score first at odds of 4/1 with Bet365 (just 7/2 with most other bookmakers).
His great friend and international room-mate Sergio Aguero has scored 10 goals in his last 9 Champions League games and looks a touch of value at 6/1 in this market with William Hill, especially as they will refund losing First Goalscorer bets on this game if your player scores second - or if the game finishes 0-0.
Finally, as City have conceded at least one goal in all bar one of their last 13 Champions League home games, we feel the best Correct Score strategy is to perm a few high-scoring away wins with Betfred - as they offer to refund losing Correct Score bets on all televised matches that finish 1-1. They are offering 8/1 on a 2-1 away win, 16/1 on a 3-1 away win and 25/1 on a 3-2 away win.
|Sergio Aguero||First Goalscorer||6/1||William Hill***|
|Barcelona 2-1||Correct Score
|Barcelona 3-1||Correct Score
|Barcelona 3-2||Correct Score
*Money back on losing bets, as a free bet of up to £50, if the game finishes as a draw
**Free In-Play bet, up to £50, if you place a pre-match bet
***Money back on losing bets, up to £50, if your player scores 2nd or the game finishes 0-0
****Money back on losing bets, as a free bet of up to £50, if the game finishes 1-1
|Bet365||Betfred||Paddy Power||William Hill|
|£200 bonus||£30 free bet||£50 free bet||£25 free bet|