It’s been a difficult period for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, both on and off the pitch. In the Premier League, City continue to fall behind Liverpool and have essentially surrendered their EPL title to Jurgen Klopp’s Reds.
Meanwhile, the UEFA Champions League ban for breaching of Financial Fair Play rules, means that the club could be playing their last UCL tie for two years. That decision is subject to an appeal but Manchester City are facing the real possibility of Champions League exile for one season at least. Can they go out with a bang as they face Real Madrid or will the campaign end with a whimper?
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Event Date: February 26, 2020
The first leg of this tie takes place in Madrid on Wednesday evening but Manchester City are the favourites to win on the night. In a tight result market, you can back the away side at best odds of 24/17 with VBet while the same bookmaker has a top price on Real of 13/7.
Completing the initial result market is the draw which is quoted at 14/5 with 888Sport and Unibet. If we move away from the 90 minute betting for a moment, the To Qualify market shows Manchester City as hot favourites at best odds of 8/13 with William Hill while Real Madrid are lagging behind at 24/13 with VBet.
We’re talking about Real Madrid – multiple winners of the Champions League and one of the most successful teams in World Football. Why are they the outsiders in this match? The simple answer is down to form and without Cristiano Ronaldo, they just aren’t the same force that they have been in recent seasons.
Can Manchester City take advantage? Let’s take a look at some side bets before we make a decision.
Individual Goal Scorers
It’s a battle between Sergio Aguero and Karim Benzema at the top of the first goalscorer betting with the Manchester City man just edging into the favourites’ seat. Aguero can be backed to open the scoring at best odds of 17/4 with 888Sport while the same two bookmakers have the top price of 21/4 on Real’s Benzema.
Moving through the top of the list, City’s Gabriel Jesus is next at a best of 11/2 with William Hill and Coral while Raheem Sterling follows at a top price of 7/1 with Unibet and 888Sport. Sterling is very much an injury doubt for Wednesday’s game and while reports suggest the England winger is set to return, we suggest checking the team sheets before committing to a stake.
Meanwhile, other options in the first goalscorer betting include Luka Jovic at best odds of 15/2 with Betway, Riyad Mahrez at a top price of 17/2 with Unibet and Gareth Bale at a best of 9/1 with BetFred.
There are lots of options there at excellent prices but with doubts over who will make the respective starting XIs, we’re heading for the relative safety of the anytime goal markets. It’s not been a particularly happy time for Gareth Bale and he may well be leaving the Bernabeu at the end of the season but he has this happy tendency of scoring important goals at just the right time.
Bale’s timing has been excellent in the past and at best odds of 14/5 with Betway to score in 90 minutes, the Welshman offers some value.
Other Side Bets
Like a lot of punters, we like to take a look at the Both Teams to Score betting and for Wednesday’s game, it’s available at best odds of 11/20 with Betway. BTTS may well drop in and the stats to support it are good but that price is just a little too short for comfort.
Instead, we’ll switch to the Overs and Unders on Total Goals to see if we can get some better value. Taking the safer route of backing Over 2.5 will return a top price of 11/17 with VBet but if you push that a little further, you can get a best of 8/5 with 888Sport for going over the 2.5 line.
We think this will be as tight as the market suggests and that there will be just one goal deciding the match. Our preference is for a 2-1 win in favour of Real Madrid and that outcome can be picked up at best odds of 21/2 with 10Bet in the Correct Score market. Alternatively, a 2-1 away win is quoted at a top price of 35/4 with SportingBet.
As we conclude this preview, we could take the first of those correct score bets but we’re going to play a little safer. A winning margin of one goal on either side is quoted at 11/8 with Betway and we feel that’s a likely option to round off this set of 90 minute tips.
- Real Madrid to win at 13/7 with VBet
- Gareth Bale to score any time in 90 minutes at 14/5 with Betway
- Winning Margin of one goal to either side at 11/8 with Betway