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We are halfway through the first leg of the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League, with all of the favorites emerging victorious last week. Real Madrid bested Roma 2-0 in the only game decided by more than one goal. Paris SG, Benfica, and Wolfsburg were the other victors, with those four clubs now having a better chance of advancing heading into the second leg, which takes place the second week of March.
There are four more first-leg matches, with two games being played on Tuesday, February 23rd and two more the following day on Wednesday, February 24th. The two teams pegged by online sportsbooks to win it all are both in action Tuesday.
Barcelona is a +200 favorite to win it all, and they are a big -165 choice to beat Arsenal, who is returning a hefty 4:1 payout with a big upset. Even a draw would be a surprise, returning a 3:1 payday, and combined with an over/under of 3 goals, the online sportsbooks are looking for the tournament favorite to win this one in convincing fashion.
The UEFA Champions League begins the Round of 16 next week, with two matches being played on Tuesday and two more Wednesday, followed by the remaining four matches to be played early next. Remember, both teams will each play a leg on their home field, with the second leg set to begin the second week of March.
There are several soccer betting options available provided by most major online sportsbooks. Not only can you wager on the outcome of the match in typical style (bet either side to win along with an option to draw), but you can also place a bet on which team will advance to the next round.
Of course, there is always the Soccer Future wagers available, and currently Barcelona is the top choice returning 2:1, while Bayern Munich is right behind them at +225. Real Madrid (+450), Manchester City (+850), and Athletico de Madrid (+950) are the only other clubs currently returning less than 10:1 odds.
The Men’s and Women’s Finals matchups have been set for the 2016 Australian Open, with the top seeds in each division making it to the Finals and having a chance to repeat after winning this tournament last year.
On the Men’s side, Andy Roddick rallied to win the last two sets to best Milos Raonic to reach the Finals. Raonic just missed making history, as he was one set shy of becoming the first Canadian to make a Grand Slam Finals appearance.
Roddick will face last year’s winner and #1 seed Novak Djokovic, who beat third-seeded Roger Federer in four sets on Thursday. Djokovic beat Murray in the Finals last year – the third time he beat Murray in the Australian Open Finals.
We are down to the final four teams, with this weekend’s winners heading to the Super Bowl. One week after three of the four home teams lost outright, all four home teams (and the top two seeds in each conference) were able to win outright this past weekend.
Those results set up a pair of high-profile matchups, including the latest chapter in the epic Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady rivalry in the early game when New England visits Denver. The online sportsbooks list the visiting Patriots as a solid three-point favorite, which appears to be somewhat of a trap line. The early action (which is usually the sharp action), has come in big on the visiting Patriots.
These teams met once in the regular season, also in Denver, with the Broncos handing New England their first loss of the season in late November. Peyton Manning did not play in that game, and the Broncos were able to overcome a 14-point fourth quarter deficit to force overtime and eventually win on a 48-yard rushing touchdown.
Short rest for the English Premier League, who just finished a round a play on Tuesday and Wednesday and now play again this weekend. In our EPL Betting Update article last week we spent some time discussing Leicester City, who has by far been the surprise team of the league thus far but had a tough matchup at Tottenham Hotspur.
The Foxes were able to pull the big upset in that match, as Robert Huth headed one in the back of the net in the 83rd minute for the game’s only goal, returning a big +415 payday at the online sportsbooks for the outright win.
Leicester for City has now pulled even with Arsenal a top the EPL table, trailing only in goal differential. Arsenal is +16 while the Foxes are +13, but are gaining confidence every week and Wednesday’s big victory can only boost momentum going into this weekend.
We are just past the halfway mark of the EPL Season, with more than a few surprises along the way. The biggest surprise has to be Leicester City, who is just two points behind Arsenal at the top of the tables 20 matches in. Riding the hot foot of Jamie Vardy, who along with Everton’s Romelu Lukaku leads the league in goals scored with 15, the Foxes have lost just one match since the last weekend of August. Vardy has been named EPL Player of the Month in both October and November, with manager Claudio Ranieri taking home Manager of the Month in November also.
Despite that good play, Leicester City is a big underdog this week vs. Tottenham Hotspur. Tottenham currently sits in fourth place with 36 points, but leads the EPL (along with Manchester City) in terms of goal difference at +18, and their 16 goals allowed is also the best in the league.
The online sportsbooks list the Spurs as a -150 favorite to win outright, with a draw returning +280 and an outright win by the Foxes netting a nice +415 payday. The Over/Under is 2.75 goals.
While betting bowl games against the pointspread is by far the most popular College Football betting option at this time of the season, Over/Unders are also a viable option and tends to offer more value than laying points with a favorite or taking points with an underdog.
We reviewed all the Over/Under results from the bowl games played in December, with surprising results. Over players did very well posting an 18-13 record, showing 3.7 units of profit. But we found that when the posted totals were higher, the winning percentage on those Over wagers also increased.
If the total in a December bowl game was at least 60 points, then Over players scored a huge profit on the sportsbooks. There were 15 such instances this December, with 12 of those 15 games sailing over the total. That’s an 80% winning percentage with a great +8.7 units of profit!
With three weeks left in the NFL Regular Season, only three teams have guaranteed their ticket to the postseason, and only one team has guaranteed themselves a first-round bye. But with all the uncertainly surrounding the NFL Playoffs, the sportsbooks have pegged two teams as overwhelming favorites to win their respective conferences.
The New England Patriots regained command of the AFC with a big win in Houston last weekend, and coupled with outright losses by both Denver and Cincinnati, the Patriots are now a commanding +110 favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
The two closest teams to the Patriots in terms of AFC Future Odds are Denver and Pittsburgh, who are each returning a 4:1 payout.