BurrOaks' UCL Picks: Real Madrid vs Manchester City - 5/9

Burroaks77 | @burroaks77

Only four teams remain in UCL and the battle to be crowned The European Champions returns to action this week. On Tuesday Real Madrid will host Manchester City. On Wednesday AC Milan will host Inter. Home and away is a little meaningless in Italy this round, as AC Milan and Inter share the same stadium.

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Real Madrid vs Manchester City (Tuesday 3pm EST)

Real Madrid

As you all know, I am a massive Real Madrid fan.

I have a couple futures positions open on Madrid to win the UCL this season, and I gave that play out for the FlashPicks futures article earlier this year. We are currently getting cash out offers ranging from 2.5x to 3x our stake. When it comes to cash out offers, always do what is right for your bankroll. I am personally going to ride my tickets because I think there is a better profit opportunity in hedging the position game to game.

Madrid will be without Militao at CB this game due to a yellow card accumulation suspension. He will be available for the second leg at City. Militao is one of the best CB’s on the planet and his defensive presence will surely be missed. Man City will be without Nathan Ake at LB/CB as well. Ake is a quality starter who defends well and plays a significant role on set pieces. City’s depth makes the loss of Ake less impactful than Madrid’s loss of Militao.

Madrid have been inconsistent lately and have picked up some bad losses against Girona and Real Sociedad in La Liga. Madrid have been playing a heavy rotation and giving a lot of guys off the bench time and opportunities. Madrid is coming into this match hot off a Copa del Rey title where they performed well and defeated Osasuna. Minus Militao, I am expecting a full strength Madrid squad eager to take the game to City at home.

Vini Jr. has been red hot recently notching an assist in all of his last six starts. He has a total of seven assists in his last six games played. Additionally, Vini has six assists in ten UCL games played this season. He has started nine of those ten matches. I LOVE taking him for a dime in this game. Another important stat for Vini I want to talk about is his SOT numbers. Vini has started 53 matches this season across all competitions. He has only failed to register a SOT in nine of those 53 starts. Some quick math gives us a roughly 83% hit rate for 1SOT. Vini has scored or assisted in every match he has started in UCL. I see a ton of value on his numbers here at home. We all remember Benzema and Rodrygo’s heroics last year in Madrid’s comeback victory over City. I like their numbers as well. I find it hard to believe anyone will be shutting Madrid out at home.

Manchester City

Man City and Pep are playing their other injuries close to the vest. KDB has’t started the last few games for City and his status is up in the air while I am writing this article. I expect him to go if he is anywhere close to match fit. In the meantime, Riyad Mahrez has been doing a phenomenal job filling in. Mahrez has dropped four assists in his last three EPL starts. He is putting in excellent service in KDB’s absence and guys are finishing the chances he sets up. If Mahrez plays, I like his assist. Of course we can’t talk about City without talking about Haaland.

Haaland has been on fire this year breaking the EPL single season record for goals and he’s not done yet. Haaland has notched 35 goals in EPL and has added 12 so far in UCL. Haaland is a massive threat, but one who depends on getting service. He struggles to create his own shot. Madrid’s best chance to limit Haaland’s impact comes from starving him for service. That said, this is one of the only opportunities you will get to bet on Haaland at plus money. So I wouldn’t fault anyone for jumping on that number.

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BurrOaks' Picks

This game is going to be electric. It is definitely the more anticipated matchup of the two semifinal games. City want’s revenge for Madrid’s comeback last year and Pep is under increasing pressure to bring home a European trophy. Ancelotti has been under fire at Madrid for their performance in La Liga despite his ability to bring home trophies. I expect both teams to score in this match. I expect the pace of play to shift frequently. I expect both teams to switch between high pressing and setting up blocks at various depths. Both teams do their best scoring in transition and playing off breaks. Both teams have strikers who can press and force keepers to make mistakes. As a Madrid supporter, I would love to see us get the win here at home, but I understand that a draw is perfectly OK. The odds on City ML are appealing and you don’t often see a plus number on them. If you would like to hedge your futures position, like we talked about earlier, this is the spot to do it. City at +125 let's you hold the Madrid ticket without risk and can set you up nicely for the second leg.

BurrOaks' Picks

  • Vini jr 1+ assists (+500) PointsBet
  • Vini jr 1+ SOT (-109) Barstool
  • Haaland Anytime Goal (+100) FanDuel
  • Real Madrid Draw No Bet (+135) DraftKings (I am biased. Play City ML +125 if you prefer.)
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