3/6 Recap: So let’s just say the first set of UCL second legs didn’t go so hot for me. The return of the Champions League brought my “account” into the negatives as both PSG and Liverpool could not deliver. Liverpool was already up 5-0 in the tie, so they get a pass for pumping the brakes a bit. I at least said (SILVER LINING ALERT) the under on total goals was going to come in. However, the free-spending Parisians laid their yearly egg in the Round of 16, leaving me to wonder how I had any faith in them, to begin with. Once I saw the Marco Verratti get that second yellow, a shame since he’d been dynamic in the midfield, it was over.
My picks: Liverpool 2 Porto 0 (Liverpool -1, Under 2.5 total goals)
Paris Saint-Germain 2 Real Madrid 1 (PSG -0.5)
Actual Results: Liverpool 0 Porto 0
Real Madrid 2 Paris Saint-Germain 1
But I could sit here and wallow in my shame, or get back up on the UCL horse with two more picks for today’s Champions League matches. While I am keen to do the former, here’s the latter.
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
FC Basel @ Manchester City (2:45 PM ET/Fox Sports 2, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN, fuboTV, SiriusXM FC 157)
While this may be the most mismatched pairing of the Round of 16, yes even more so than Bayern/Besiktas, Manchester City and Basel could produce some fun football at the Etihad today.
During the few times I get to watch Swiss football outside of the Champions League, it usually features Basel. The eight-time defending Swiss champions (yet will soon lose their crown) are UCL regulars but haven’t made it past the Round of 16 in the Champions League era. This year will be no different, but be sure to check this game out for Basel’s Mohamed Elyounoussi and Albian Ajeti, two attack-minded players on Premier League clubs’ radars.
As for Manchester City, their Champions League or bust campaign continues. They already have a certain double with the Carabao Cup and Premier League, but if Pep Guardiola wants his side mentioned among Europe’s elite, he needs to lift this trophy with the Sky Blues.
The line on today’s game, even at the Etihad, scares me. Granted I am a bit gun shy after yesterday’s showing, but a two-goal spread in a meaningless game has me very tentative. So with that being said, I am going to avoid that line and take the under 3 total goals prop (per Bovada). On to the quarterfinals for the Premier League leaders.
PREDICTION: Manchester City 2 Basel 0 (Under 3 total goals)
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Juventus @ Tottenham Hotspur (2:45 PM ET/Fox Sports 1, Fox Deportes, fuboTV, ESPN Deportes Radio)
While the first three games of this UCL week have had little in them, this one is going to be a doozy. Last year’s runner-up, Juventus, heads to Wembley Stadium to keep the Premier League from having a third team advance to the quarterfinals. The drama writes itself.
This may be looking at Europe through Premier League-colored lenses, but for my money, there is no more important striker in the world than Harry Kane. Yes, there are players like Ronaldo, Messi, and Suarez that could pump in more goals, but no goal getter gets those goals in a more consistently critical fashion than Harry Kane. His form has dipped in one tournament or another over the years, but Kane has spread his goals out nicely in the 2017-18 season averaging nearly a goal a game across all competitions.
But if there is a team that can get an away goal and then sit on it, it is Juventus. With the tie at 2-2 coming out of Turin, Juventus can’t concede early and risk having to score twice. Gigi Buffon will have to do better than he did at home, where he was largely responsible for Spurs’ second half responses.
I believe that Spurs get through on the back of my first draw pick here (currently +250 on Bovada) on Picks From Across The Pond. Those two away goals will prove too much for The Old Lady to overcome.
PREDICTION: Tottenham Hotspur 1 Juventus 1
If you have any games you’d like me to pick you can contact me on Twitter @TREVORutley. In addition to the available media listed for each game, be sure to try out our Gameview service while watching as well. Cheers!