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BurrOaks' UCL Picks: Manchester City vs Real Madrid - 5/17


The series tied up on aggregate, heading back to England, for the right to take on Inter Milan, and challenge for the European crown. Who will be the ones to pull it off? Will Erling Haaland and Pep’s Manchester City squad finally get another opportunity? Will Vini Jr. and Carlo Ancelotti continue to defy all expectations and bring home Madrid’s 15th UCL title? Tomorrow the talk will end and these two titans will play. Regardless of the results, we are in for 90+ minutes of must see TV. You do not want to miss this one folks.

I have to start with this. I am a massive Madrid fan. I can’t hide that and I have never tried. The article will have bias and it will read that way. I will continue to bring my most objective gambling angles to you, as the point of these articles is to win money. Not to support Madrid. That said, many of us are holding Madrid to win UCL futures from the beginning of this article series.

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Manchester City vs Real Madrid (3PM EST)

Manchester City

Man City is on a hell of a run right now. They are unbeaten in 22 straight games across all competitions. Their last loss came against Tottenham back on 2/5/23. Their home record this season is very impressive as well. Haaland has broken the EPL record for most goals in a season and to his credit, he has looked very impressive. However, I just watched Big Antonio Rudiger make Haaland look like Casper the friendly ghost last match. Rudiger did an excellent job limiting Haaland’s touches, marking him on set pieces, and minimizing his impact all game long. As I talked about last week, Haaland isn’t the kind of striker who will be playing with the ball at his feet all game. His best finishing ability comes from service into the box. The best way to stop Haaland is to deny him service.

That is going to be an issue because Man City have Kevin De Bruyne. KDB played well last game and carried the scoring weight, along with putting in crosses for others to try and finish. I am not going to focus on how his goal came from an out of bounds touch. It is over and hopefully we will get a better referee crew for this match. I will contest that there’s absolutely no way KDB should have won man of the match last game. That was a major pander to English fans and even the pundits agreed. That should take nothing away from his performance. KDB scored an absolute screamer of a goal, and played his role well. I really like his assist numbers for this match. If Man City hopes to win this game, KDB will probably be the most important player on offense for City. He is the one who allows Haaland to focus on being Haaland.

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Real Madrid

Madrid are major underdogs here according to the sports books. However, I watched this series last year. Madrid were down bad. They needed a miracle to come back. The TV broadcast even famously showed a graphic where Man City had a 99% chance to advance over Madrid. Down two goals on aggregate in the 73rd minute. Madrid never faltered. They continued to play their game. Then lightning struck twice in under 120 seconds. BANG. Big Benzema sets up Rodrygo for a tap in off Camavinga’s service in the 90th minute. Followed immediately by another BANG. Rodrygo with another one in the 91st. This time cleaning up an Asencio header from Dani’s service. Madrid have tied the match and forced extras. City is clearly shaken. They see the title slipping away. Then Ruben Dias makes a horrible tackle in the box on Benzema. The pen is awarded. Big Karim Mostafa Benzema steps up to the spot to take. He absolutely buries the ball in the back right corner of the net and Madrid go on to lift their 14th UCL trophy. I rehash this not because I think we will see a repeat of last year. But because it is an important lesson. Madrid never hang their heads and quit. They know how to execute with their backs against the wall. They really are built differently. This team haunts the nightmares of every top club in Europe. You can not lose focus for even a second because they will bury you.

Madrid have had a massive amount of success on English soil. Karim Benzema specifically. I can’t believe we are getting his goal at almost 2:1 and that’s a must play spot in my opinion. Vini Jr. has tied a Ronaldo record for most consecutive UCL games with a point. Think about that for a second and realize he is only 21 years old. Going back to last year’s final against Liverpool, Vini has scored or assisted in 11 straight UCL starts. I love splitting a unit between his goal and his assist props. Vini has posted his second season in a row scoring 20+ goals and 20+ assists.

Love him or hate him, Vini Jr. is one of the best young players on the planet. Expect him to show up and show out when the lights are brightest.

Final Thoughts / Oaks' Picks

I think this game will have goals from both sides. I don’t necessarily think we will see another 4-3 match like Leg 1 of last year. Both defenses have improved from the season before. Madrid will get Militao back for this match. City will continue to be without Ake but have played well without him. I see this being a 2-1 kind of game with both teams scoring. I don’t know if this match will be settled in regulation. We may be looking at extra time or a PK situation. Ultimately, I will not be surprised to see either team advance.

As a gambler and not as a fan, I see massive value in Madrid. This team should never be +440 on the money line or +260 to advance. A +260 line is an implied probability of 27.78%. The fact Madrid has 14 UCL titles and the next closest club has 7 should be all you need to know about what I think of those odds. If I wasn't already holding a futures ticket, I’d be running to the window to take those prices. Just Saying.

Best of luck and HALA MADRID!

BurrOaks' Picks:

  • Benzema Anytime Goal (+195) FanDuel
  • (0.5u) Vini Anytime Goal (+350) DraftKings
  • (0.5u) Vini 1+ Assist (+600) PointsBet
  • Kevin De Bruyne 1+ Assist (+160) Barstool
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