The first leg of Chelsea-Madrid was a total snooze fest and the unexpected draw has led to the home team being favored in UEFA Champions League betting odds as this series swings back to West London. Can Atletico Madrid beat its parent club on their own turf? The odds are against it…but their chances are very high.
The Blues are hurting heading in to a game that has once again put Chelsea on the very brink. Frank Lampard, John Obi, Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah are all out for this matchup for a variety of reasons. Storied goaltender, Petr Cech, also hurt his shoulder during the first leg on an ugly landing and will miss this game as well. That leaves 41-year old backup Mark Schwarzer inbetween the posts.
The circumstantial odds seem to be leaning heavily against the Blues, but the UEFA Champions League betting odds are standing firmly by them. That type of praise is merited, especially given their popular public backing, but now you have +240 reasons to bet on the uber talented side from Atletico.
Blue loanee Thibaut Courtois has been a big factor for Madrid even though he found himself at the heart of a swirling mini-controversy. Madrid has allowed just five goals in their past 11 games and their keeper continues to stand tall in net. I don’t doubt that Chelsea’s best will get their cracks at him, and the guy to watch is definitely Demba Ba, but penetrating the brick wall Courtois erects in net seems like a lofty hope.
Madrid’s wealth of depth and talent is capped by the impossibly gifted Diego Costa at the tip of the spear. Feeding him routinely is midfield wonder Koke who has 6 goals of his own along with 13 helpers so far this season. They are both likely to lick their chops when they see Schwarzer in goal, and will continue to pepper him like a juicy steak. The netminder from down under will be in over his head.
That in itself tilts the UEFA Champions League betting odds firmly in the favor of Madrid, and when they’re paying out over 2-to-1 on the board as a regulation winner, this bet is a simple no brainer. Madrid will come through on foreign territory to earn an unexpected finals berth. Nobody knows what the future holds for Madrid next season as the vultures loom over their superstars, but in the meantime I see Madrid as the team to beat in this tournament.