The knockout phase of the Champions League begins this week with the Round of 16.
European giants are in action in midweek battles across the continent as our soccer experts find all the best bets.
Sporting CP vs. Manchester City
February 16th 7:00am
Manchester City begins the next phase of its quest towards a maiden Champions League trophy when it heads to Portugal to take on Sporting CP in the first of two legs in the Round of 16.
After topping Group A with 12 points, the Citizens will be seeking to get ahead in the tie with away goals, while Sporting attempts to cause a big upset as the rank outsider.
This is the first time the Portuguese giants have made the Round of 16 since the 2008-09 Champions League tournament when they were waltzed out of by Bayern Munich to the tune of a 12-1 aggregate score.
Sporting has actually won seven of its last nine home European matches and if we scroll back to 2012, it knocked Manchester City in the last 16 of the Europa League.
But both teams have obviously changed a heap since then and City has become one of, if not, the best footballing team in world football.
Pep Guardiola is expected to name a very strong line up for this clash.
Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne, Aymeric Laporte and Joao Cancelo were given a rest during the 4-0 win over Norwich but will be back in the side here, while Raheem Sterling, who netted three times against the Canaries, should start in a front three alongside Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden.
The market is saying this should be a comfortable win to City and it is hard to disagree.
Prediction: Sporting CP 1 Manchester City 3
Suggested Bets: Over 2.5 goals at $1.59
Suggested Same Game Multi:
Leg 1: Manchester City head to head
Leg 2: Total goals over 2.5
Leg 3: R. Mahrez anytime goalscorer
Combined odds = $3.95
PSG vs. Real Madrid
february 16th 7:00am
Egos, money, and bragging rights will all be on the table when two of the biggest teams in Europe do battle as Real Madrid heads to Parc De Princes to take on Paris Saint-Germain.
The French champion finished second in its group, behind Manchester City, to progress into the Round of 16, while 13-time champion Real Madrid finished atop of its group despite coughing up a few games it was really expected to win.
A clear focus on the Champions League is on the cards for PSG as it sits 16 points clear at the top of Ligue One and with Lionel Messi at its disposal, there is every chance Maurizio Pochettino will go gung-ho for this clash.
Angel Di Maria, Georginio Wijnaldum, Nuno Mendes and Gianluigi Donnarumma all expected to start for PSG in what will be a full-strength squad bar Neymar.
Carlo Ancelotti will have a plethora of talent to pick through as well with Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro all likely to begin the match.
But there is a big doubt over the fitness of gun striker Karim Benzema.
If he is absent for this contest, it will be advantage PSG.
Prediction: PSG 2 Real Madrid 1
Suggested Bets: PSG head to head at $2
FC red bull salzburg vs. bayern munich
february 17th 7:00am
German and European powerhouse Bayern Munich heads over to Austria for its first leg in the Round of 16 against FC Red Bull Salzburg.
The home team will begin this game as the underdogs and it’s clear why given the gulf of talent and European success between the teams.
But Bayern Munich might have given Salzburg the glimmer of hope it needs to pinch a result after a surprise Bundesliga defeat to VfL Bochum last weekend.
However, despite the blip on the radar in the Bundesliga, Bayern’s European record this season has been exemplary.
Julian Nagelsmann guided his men to a 100% record in the group stage to progress through and send a stark warning to the competition that they are not to be messed with.
Bayern currently boast the longest unbeaten run away from home in the history of the European Cup/Champions League.
It is a record that extends to 21 unbeaten matches on the road and the Bavarians will be strongly favoured to extend this impressive streak.
Prediction: FC Red Bull Salzburg 0 Bayern Munich 2
R. Lewandowski first goal scorer at $2.5
Bayern Munich to win to nil at $2.5
inter vs. liverpool
february 17th 7:00am
Scudetto holders Inter Milan do battle with six-time European Champion Liverpool at San Siro in what will be one of the most watched first legs during the Round of 16.
Inter take the home-ground advantage in this clash and come into this game following a 1-1 draw against Napoli in Serie A over the weekend, while Liverpool enters this clash after staving off Burnley 1-0 at Turf Moor in the league.
Liverpool brings in impeccable European form to this tie after a faultless group stage saw it finish well clear of its rivals to qualify to the knockout phase.
It puts the Reds in the box seat to make yet another quarter-final under Jurgen Klopp.
But Inter will have a chip on its shoulder and a desire like never before having not been in this phase of the Champions League for a decade.
Simone Inzaghi’s squad has the attacking potential to get at this vulnerable Liverpool defence which has conceded goals in its last four Champions League away games.
Think Inter Milan can cause the upset here.
Prediction: Inter Milan 2 Liverpool 1
Suggested Bets: Inter Milan head to head at $3.40