Sam Hendry with his midweek Champions League best bets
Manchester City are already set to go down as one of the greatest recent English teams, but success in the Champions League would see them go down as one of Europe and the world’s finest.
They get their knockout campaign underway in Switzerland when they play Basel, whose odds may seem high for a match between two of the supposed 16 best teams in Europe, especially given their strong home record against English clubs.
But having said that, this Man City team is several levels above anything Basel have faced this season and I can’t see them having much trouble here.
Pep Guardiola’s latest masterpiece are bang in form – not that they have ever been out of it – and the genius of Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero should prove too much for a Basel defence struggling with injuries and without star centre back Manuel Akanji, who was sold to Borussia Dortmund in January.
City to win by two goal margin is the bet here.
A tight match is in prospect in Italy when Juventus host Tottenham Hotspur.
Having swept their way to six consecutive Serie A’s, Juve finally are coming under pressure domestically and currently trail Napoli by a point.
Their greater experience at this stage of the competition makes them slight favourites to qualify, but Spurs should not fear their opponents, who are not the force they have been the last few seasons.
Juve cannot risk too much in attack for fear of conceding an away goal to Spurs fearsome attack while Mauricio Pochettino would be more than happy to return to Wembley for the second leg with the aggregate score level.
The half time score to be a draw seems a good bet.
The standout tie of the round comes from the Bernabeu where two of the favourites for the competition meet in Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain
Madrid’s issues this season have been well documented and unless Zinedine Zidane can guide them to an unprecedented third consecutive Champions League triumph then his time in charge will most likely come to an end.
Cristiano Ronaldo has, by his standards, a paltry 11 La Liga goals this season, but seven of those have come in the last four games, an indication that he’s coming into form at just the right time for Real.
PSG, meanwhile, are cantering their way to the French title, but their Qatari owners have more than just domestic glory on their minds and it is on this stage where they will expect to see a return on their £200 million investment in Neymar.
Real have only lost once in the Champions League at the Bernabeu since 2011, and a home win may be the best bet, although I expect this tie to remain in the balance going into the second leg.