4/14 Recap: It seems taking some time off didn’t do anything to help my picks. Both the teams I backed yesterday fell completely flat. Spurs were ransacked on their home ground by Manchester City, meaning anything less than a victory for Manchester United today will crown the Citizens champions of England. Harry Kane was kept scoreless as well.
At least Inter Milan was able to keep Atalanta off the board. The thing about that though is they themselves only put two putrid shots on target. Neither of those came from their top scorer either, Mauro Icardi, whose chase for the Capocannoniere has stalled. But no more time for lamenting, there are picks to be made this Sunday afternoon. And it just so happens both involve teams that have Champions League semi-finals on the horizon.
My Picks: Inter Milan 1 Atalanta 0 (Inter PICK [-105])
Tottenham Hotspur 2 Manchester City 1 (Spurs PICK [-105], Harry Kane to score in 2nd half [+1500])
Actual Results: Inter Milan 0 Atalanta 0
Manchester City 3 Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Harry Kane Didn’t Score)
The picks head first to Italy to see what Roma has for an encore following their shocking elimination of Barcelona in the Champions League.
ITALIAN SERIE A
AS Roma @ Lazio (2:45 PM ET/beIN Sports Connect, fuboTV, Rai Italia America, iGol)
There may not be a more important match across Europe’s top leagues than today’s Eternal City Derby between Roma and Lazio.
Not only is this affair one of the most, if not the most, heated rivalries in all of Italian football, there are major top four implications. After Inter wet themselves yesterday, the winner of this match could put a full three points between themselves and their direct competition.
But both teams are coming into this one on opposite sides of incredible comebacks in Europe. Roma’s turning over of a 4-1 deficit against Barcelona will go down as one of the great shocks in Champions League history. But in my opinion, it shouldn’t be understated the job Red Bull Salzburg did in the second half to advance against Lazio. The Austrian side showed that while the rich are getting richer in Europe, the minnows can still find a way upstream now and again.
This matchup will ultimately come down to the form of each side’s striker. Roma’s Edin Dzeko was huge against Barcelona and has been on form in Serie A. Lazio has lost just twice this season when their leading scorer, and top man in Serie A, Ciro Immobile has scored. Those two losses were against Salzburg last match and…Roma.
I’m not a big believer in momentum when it comes to derbies, but today is different. There’s momentum and then what happened midweek to each club. I’ll take Roma to win easily, and gleefully, as an underdog pick ’em (per Bovada).
PREDICTION: Roma 2 Lazio 0 (Roma PICK [+105])
SPANISH PRIMERA DIVISION
Real Madrid @ Malaga (2:45 PM ET/beIN Sports USA, beIN Sports en Español, fuboTV, iGol)
After Valencia’s loss to Barcelona yesterday, Real Madrid can take back third place in La Liga with a win over Malaga. Third place might as well be the second loser to Los Blancos. But finishing above Valencia in the table is something they need to do psychologically for me. Finishing below Atletico and Barcelona isn’t odd these days, but when you start dipping below other teams like Valencia or Sevilla, the alarms sound at the Bernabeu.
But while Malaga may be a cakewalk, Madrid will probably have one eye on Bayern Munich in the UCL semi-finals.
Real Madrid narrowly avoided a similar fate to Barcelona in the Champions League, with a laaaaaate Ronaldo penalty saving their blushes. Malaga is doomed to relegation and has been for quite some time, to be honest. So why is this game only a 1.5 goal spread (per Bovada)?
Madrid is renown for stomping bad teams, but over the past couple of seasons, they’ve stumbled ahead of big matches. Two years ago Malaga was able to get draws in each match before the Madrid Derby. Last year two late Ronaldo goals nicked a point off Las Palmas ahead of their second UCL Round of 16 leg against Napoli.
I’m not saying Real are going to lose this match. I’m just saying that stranger things have happened in football this year than Malaga getting a draw in this one. While I’d like to think I can think outside the box from time to time, this isn’t one of them. It won’t be a massacre, but Madrid covers easy.
PREDICTION: Real Madrid 3 Malaga 0 (Real Madrid -1.5 goals [+105])
If you have any picks you’d like to see made, 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. Also, here is a link for my results throughout and the points system. Cheers!