With the first set of fixtures from match day 2 in the books it’s time to highlight some plays from the second set on Wednesday 10/1. All the games have over / unders of 2.5 goals except for the Juventus/Atletico fixture at 2 and the Real Madrid/Ludogorets match which is at 3.5 goals. Let’s start the discussion with those two.
Juventus vs. Atletico Madrid
Juventus has a staunch defense that has yet to let up a goal in Serie A play. That defense will get a stern test against a very good Atletico team. I would not be the least bit surprised to see this game end 1-1, 1-0, or 0-0. If you like high scoring fast paced soccer, then this is definitely not the game for you. Atletico is 6/5 to take this match and if they do happen to crack the code against the OLD LADY then it will most likely be Mario Mandzukic that gets it done. The big forward had his nose broken on match day one was missed a week while recovering. He played Saturday in their league match so I have no doubt he will play a big role in the attack tomorrow. For Juve, they will be counting on their big goal threat, Carlos Tevez, to make some noise and hopefully steal 3 points. The other man who can cause some problems and get you some points is mid fielder Arturo Vidal. Italian Internationals like Pirlo and Barzagli have yet to see the pitch with injuries, so Vidal will be asked to do a lot of the heavy lifting in the midfield for the old lady. Normally I would shy away thinking he will be asked to play deeper on defense, but I think he will be forward more tomorrow and could be a sneaky source of points at a decent price ($6700). Their Keeper Gianluigi Buffon is world class and so is the defense in front of him. Giorgio Chiellinii and Patrice Evra are also both world class players and they might be a sneaky stack to take as they have yet to allow a goal in league play and are in the lowest O/U game as the underdog.
Real Madrid vs. Ludogorets
This game has an O/U of 3.5 goals and at 1-5 I think most pundits think they all come from Real Madrid side. Cristiano Ronaldo is a scoring machine. When not smashing home goals, he is setting them up and it would shock me if he didn’t reach the mid teens or higher tomorrow in DK points. Karim Benzema is the main goal scorer upfront and either he or Javier CHICARRITO Hernandez upfront will be the focal point. I like whichever of the two gets the start. Garreth Bale is the class of this midfield, but guys like Kroos, Modric, and Rodriguez are all studs in their own right for their club and countries. Any of them could make for good plays as we expect a plethora of Real Madrid goals tomorrow. This should be a 3-0 4-0 drubbing tomorrow, so whoever gets the nod in goal and on the backline also has some value. I choose Real as my best bet to get a CS, so do not forget about the GK/D in your stacks.
Basel vs. Liverpool
This one is interesting to me. I’m not really sure how this game plays out. Liverpool is 6/5 for the win, but they have not looked great lately. They tied in the Derby this weekend on a late goal by Everton and lost last week to West Ham. Early word is Sturridge is out again, so you should see Super Mario Balotelli up front again. He has more raw talent then any footballer on the planet in my humble opinion, but he does not always show it. If he doesn’t get going, this could turn into another defeat for the boys in red. Midfield players Steven Gerard and Raheem Sterling are also in play. Both guys take free kicks and the offense runs through them both. Sterling has more upside, but I like Gerards price a lot too. If I was going to roster any guys on Basel, it would be two min salary punt plays if they make the line up. I really like Wunderkind Striker Breel Embolo and midfielder Ahmed Hamoudi. Both are at min salary and both could produce some fireworks tomorrow and get you some points. They are risky, but if they are in I will give them a long look. Have to find a cheap guy somewhere if you want all those Real Madrid studs.
Leverkusen vs. Benfica
Leverkusen is even money in this game to win it. If they do, there is an excellent chance that Stefan Kiessling has something to do with it. He has 9 goals in 10 games and has been known to go bonkers and pick up a few at a time. He had 3 to help them qualify for the Champions League and had another multi goal game in league play last week. He is a steal at only $6500 and will definitely be on a few of my rosters. For Benfica their strength is in the backline. Maxi Periera is a guy I absolutely love. He does not get the publicity of a Dani Alves, but I think he is just a notch below yet just as important to his team. It will also be interesting to see if new signee Julio Ceasar gets the nod in goal. If so he is min salary and definitely could be in play.
Arsenal vs. Galatasaray
The gunners are the second biggest favorite here at 1/2. That alone puts their GK and Defense in play. Upfront they are ravaged with injuries as Arteta, Ramsey, and Wilshire all picked up knocks this weekend. The only remaining healthy mid I like is Mesut Ozil, who will definitely be involved in the attack given the status of his teammates. He is not cheap, but not expensive either given that he is the last starter standing in that mid field. Upfront theres two solid options in Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck. Both are pricey, studly, and have a knack for finding the back of the net. I would not be shocked in both of them grab a goal for the Gunners. Pandev, Snejder, and Yilmaz do the heavy lifting for Galatasaray on the attacking side, but I think they may just be overmatched here. The price on all 3 is reasonable, but we will see what happens as I do not think they get more then one goal if any.
Andrelecht vs. Dortmund
I do not see Andrelecht having a good day on either side of the pitch and will be avoiding them like the plague. For Dortmund though I really like quite a few guys. Aubamayeng and Immobile upfront are both former Serie A players who have a knack for scoring goals. I especially like Aubameyang at min salary for a midfield punt. The Dortmund back line has been shaky recently, but I think they could be a sneaky play to hold a clean sheet. Dortmund is slightly less then 1/2 favorite so the betting community seems to agree. Normally porous backline and Keeper could be sneaky value.
Note: Ciro Immobile may be out with only bumps up Aubamayeng to a must play if that is the case. Make sure you stay away from Immobile if he sits.
Malmo vs. Olympiakos
Olympiakos pulled off the upset of Atletico in the first match, so they will be pumped to get another 3 and not waste the good start. Malmo was blanked by Juve in their opening match and will be anxious to avoid the bottom rung of their group. It will be a noble effort, but in the end I just Olympiakos are too strong. Konstantinos Mitroglu is my favorite play for the greek side. He is not overly expensive and has a good deal of goal scoring upside. If he gets in at min salary, you can not go wrong. For Malmo, Midfielder Emil Forsberg is the top player for me. I also really like the chances for GK robin Olsen to have a big saves game. Not sure he grabs a clean sheet or a win, so maybe just roster him and stay away from the defenders. He may give up a goal or two, but he should be getting peppered with shots, so it will not be all his fault. Both to me are GPP only because of their upside.
Good Luck tomorrow guys. Champions League soccer is the best of the best and I look forward to those fixtures each and every match day.