One of the most eagerly awaited weeks of the football season is finally here. It's Champions League quarterfinals week, when some of the planet’s biggest stars go head-to-head as clubs from Spain, England, Germany and France are pitted against each other in the race to succeed last year’s continental winners, Bayern Munich.
After two exciting 1-1 draws on Tuesday, here are the best bets among the first legs being played on Wednesday.
Paris Saint-Germain (home) vs. Chelsea
Asian handicap: PSG -0.5 (+112) vs. Chelsea +0.5 (-114)
3-way line: PSG +110 / Chelsea +320 / Draw +240
PickCenter public consensus money line pick: 62 percent PSG
Total: 2.5 (Over +150, Under -150)
This is the most difficult game to call as the sides appear so well matched. In the PSG camp, you have the power and majesty of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani supported by the cerebral brilliance of Thiago Motta and Marco Verratti; on the other, you have Eden Hazard’s nimbly decisive feet, vast Champions League experience in several positions and, of course, a master at preparing teams for knockout ties in this tournament sitting on the bench. Jose Mourinho’s hand in this game is the chief explanation why under 2.5 goals is the strongly favored outcome in the totals market (the price of -150 equates to a 60 percent chance).
Opposing that logic may be the best opportunity on this match. Yes, Mourinho may “park the bus” and try to slow the game down, but even if that is what he looks to do, is ...