The first leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 matchup between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain unfolds on Wednesday. Real Madrid has won the Champions League in three of the last four years, but this has been an off year for them in other competitions, as they trail in the La Liga table and have fallen out of contention for the Copa del Rey. PSG has won their own league handily but had an eye toward this competition when they opened up the vault to bring in some elite players back in the summer. Check out our Champions League odds betting preview for this matchup between two of Europe’s soccer titans.
Real Madrid vs. PSG UEFA Champions League Odds & Betting Pick
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) February 13, 2018
When: Wednesday, February 14, 2018, 2:45pm ET
Where: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Champions League Odds: Pick’em
Why should you bet on Real Madrid?
If you like Real Madrid, then you see Cristiano Ronaldo leading his team to score enough, while the Real defense holds firm against a PSG that has plenty of scoring power. Sure, PSG brings Neymar (see below), but they have Edinson Cavani driving the attack, with Angel di Maria, Julian Draxler and Kylian Mbappe all capable of jumping in on offense as well and putting balls in the back of the net.
The problem for Real Madrid comes on their back line. They’ve simply given up so many bad goals against La Liga competition that is remarkably inferior to what PSG brings that it is hard to trust them to hold the fort against France’s top club. Zidane is loyal to his players and is unlikely to shake up his XI much in order to make a point on defense, but that could play right into the hands of the visitors. If you like Real Madrid, you think that the challenges of Champions League play, from a mental perspective, will intimidate the French side.
Why should you put your money on PSG?
Real Madrid has been shedding points left in right in La Liga play as of late, with results against Levante, Villarreal, Celta and Betis ending either in draws or outright losses. That’s what has put Real Madrid 19 points behind Barcelona in the La Liga table. In recent years, this trophy has belonged to Real Madrid, but group play was not particularly promising, as they picked up only one point out of a possible six with their tussles with Tottenham Hotspur — and they took a home draw against Borussia Dortmund, which is why they came out of the group in second place and have to take on Real in this opening knockout stage.
All eyes are on Neymar, who took 198 million pounds from PSG when he transferred over Barcelona. However, he has reportedly been unhappy playing in France and may return to Real Madrid (or at least to La Liga) at the end of this season, taking that massive salary with him. Neymar could use this game to build up his public resume as Real Madrid and the rest of La Liga will all be watching. The problem for PSG is that they lack the experience of picking up big wins on this stage, so while they’ve dominated domestic league play, they may lack the mental strength to win at this level.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
I think that PSG will have a fairly easy time looking for chances in Real Madrid’s back end, and I also think that they will have the presence of mind to convert enough of them to put the pressure on Real. However, I also think that playing at home will inspire Real Madrid to put pressure on the PSG defense and find some opportunities of their own. I predict a final score of PSG 2, Real Madrid 2, meaning that the round of 16 will head to Paris with neither team holding an advantage in goals.