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@BurrOaks' Champions League Picks: Week 1 - 2/13

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The Champions League is so very BACK! Let’s GO! European football’s biggest stage. With the biggest names. Will put the 16 best teams in a head to head, home and a home, aggregate format until we crown a winner. This week the group stages kick off with AC Milan hosting Tottenham and PSG hosting Bayern on Tuesday. Followed by Brugge hosting Benfica and Dortmund hosting Chelsea on Wednesday.

In a home and home aggregate format, it is massively important to start strong. Especially if you are hosting the first match. This is because the away goal weight has been removed for UCL. Meaning that scoring away is less important than winning total goals scored. I will dive more deeply into this when we get to the second leg, because it will have betting implications for us. For now, these can be bet as typical 90 minute plus stoppage time matches.

AC Milan v Tottenham (Tuesday 3PM ET)

Both of these clubs are struggling through some bad form, embarrassing domestic results, and hampered by injuries. AC Milan was looking like a legitimate contender for the Scudetto prior to the World Cup. Three consecutive losses to Lazio, Sassuolo, and Inter have derailed that campaign. The loss of Fikayo Tomori has proven to be a major problem for AC Milan. He is their defensive anchor and without Tomori, AC has been conceding way too many goals. They have also made the choice to bench Leao this month. Speculation is that this was a discipline issue, because he appears to be fully fit. Leao was reinserted back into the lineup this weekend, but performed poorly. I am not the manager, I am not in the locker room, but I can confidently say that cooling off one of the most productive left wingers in Italy, before UCL, was probably a bad call.

Tottenham just can’t put multiple good results together. Beating Manchester City at home 1-0 was an impressive result. Following that up with a 4-1 loss on the road at Leicester was not. Leading Man City, in their building at half 2-0 was a shocker. Finishing that game with a 4-2 loss was equally as shocking. Tottenham struggle to put together complete games. I don’t see either of these teams being finals contenders. That said, I do think there will be goals in this match.

Leao has scored one goal and assisted two in qualifying. He has eight goals and five assists in Serie A. Olivier Giroud has four goals and two assists in qualifying. He has seven goals and four assists in Serie A. I like Giroud AGS in this match. We saw how much he stepped up for France in the World Cup and he is AC’s leading scorer in UCL this season. Give me the big man who is a major threat on set pieces in the big game.

For Tottenham, Harry Kane will be the engine that drives this team. Kane has struggled in UCL, scoring only one goal and assisting two in qualifying. However, he has 17 goals in EPL. I like taking a shot on Kane AGS if you think Tottenham score. Personally, I see a 3+ goal game here with both teams to score. I think AC will possess the ball and pressure Tottenham in their final third while Tottenham try to absorb pressure and look to counter.

BurrOaks' AC Milan/Tottenham Pick #1

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Harry Kane anytime goalscorer @ +190
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BurrOaks' AC Milan/Tottenham Pick #2

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Olivier Giroud anytime goalscorer @ +220
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BurrOaks' AC Milan/Tottenham Pick #3

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Both Teams to Score & over 2.5 goals @ +143
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PSG v Bayern Munich (Tuesday 3PM ET)

PSG has been BAD lately. They have also been without Mbappe and Messi. It looks like Mbappe is going to make the UCL roster, but Messi may not be fit for Bayern. PSG has lost back to back games vs Marseille and Monaco. They have also failed to keep a clean sheet in five of their six matches since the World Cup break.

Bayern started the return to domestic play slowly as well, but seem to be rounding into form. Draws with Klon and Frankfurt at home looked like a major concern for the big red machine. However, Bayern have since righted the ship with a 4-2 win at Wolfsburg and a 3-0 win vs Bochum. Bayern will be without Sane for now, but should see him return if they manage to advance past PSG.

Bayern have a plethora of offensive options, and It will be hard to discuss player props without a lineup. However, one guy that can always be counted on is Joshua Kimmich. Kimmich does a ton for Bayern from the midfield. He takes set pieces and is very dangerous with them. He also presses forward and gets very involved in the attack. His 1 SOT and assist numbers always have nice value and should be looked at. Kimmich is one guy whose role is never in question.

For PSG look no further than Mbappe. He is really that dude. If PSG can get him consistent service or spring him on the counter, I like him to score. Sergio Ramos is always a dark horse as well. He is capable of scoring from distance and a problem in the air on corners. His 1 SOT and to be booked markets are always worth a look. He may even be involved in set piece duty without Messi. I like Bayern to advance from this matchup. They are a better team who is deeper in all areas except maybe keeper.

BurrOaks' PSG/Bayern Pick #1

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Mbappe Anytime Goalscorer @ +150
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BurrOaks' PSG/Bayern Pick #2

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Bayern to qualify for next round @ -158
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Borussia Dortmund v Chelsea (Wednesday 3PM ET)

Chelsea is discovering that spending money doesn't equal wins at this level. They have spent the most in January’s transfer window, and still have not gotten results. Most of that money has been spent on attacking players. Chelsea has still not scored 3+ goals in a match this season. I have a major concern that this team won’t be able to gel together quickly enough to become a serious UCL threat.

Dortmund is on the rise since returning from World Cup break. They get Haller back and he is the weapon on offense Dortmund needed to succeed. Winning every match since their return to action, Dortmund look to carry that form into UCL and make a title run. Karim Adeyemi is starting to find the score sheet and has stepped up to the competition after his move from RB Salzburg. Jude Bellingham has been master class. Gio Reyna has been a phenomenal spark off the bench. The defense and keeping has looked much more sound. Dortmund are playing their brand of football and it shows. I like rolling the dice and taking a flier on Dortmund to advance in this one.

BurrOaks' Dortmund/Chelsea Pick #1

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BurrOaks' Dortmund/Chelsea Pick #2

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Dortmund to qualify for next round @ +140
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