Feb 23: Champions League Betting Preview

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THREE of Europe’s best clubs are in action tonight – and Arsenal.

There should be Champions League fireworks as the Gunners entertain Barcelona while in Italy there is a clash of the heavyweights as Juventus tackle Bayern Munich.

Arsenal have crashed out twice to Barca in five years but at the Emirates drew and won first-leg ties.

But Arsene Wenger’s side have lost their previous three home ties in the last 16 against Bayern Munich (twice) and Monaco last season.

It’s a tough one for the Londoners who face a side unbeaten for four months and just about at full strength. Arsenal should raise their game but I can’t see past the Spaniards taking a lead to the Nou Camp.

Bookies agree and Barca are no bigger than 8-11 at William Hill. Arsenal are a best 21-5 at McBookie with the draw paying 16-5 at McBookie and bet365.

Picking a first scorer is always tough with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez making Leigh Griffiths looking like he’s suffering a drought. And of course they also have Neymar.

Messi has banged in 14 in his last 20 games and Suarez has netted in 19 of his previous 24 and has 41 in 37 appearances this season.

I’m banking on the former Liverpool star to enjoy his return to England and he is 4-1 at Ladbrokes to score first with Messi slightly shorter at 7-2.

Alternatively back Messi to score at 4-5 with bet365 and Suarez at 13-12 at 888sport. Over 1.5 goals Barca goals pays 8-13 at Ladbrokes.

If you punt with 188BET they will refund losing gambles on correct score, first/anytime scorer, both teams to score and double result markets if Suarez nets.

Messi, Suarez and Neymar have bagged 91 goals between them this season and bet365 offer 4-1 about the trio failing to beat Petr Cech tonight.

The other tie between Juventus and Bayern is tougher to call. The Serie A champs rested players in a 0-0 draw at Bologna to end a 13-match winning run and won’t fear the mighty Germans.

Pep Guardiola has been accused of losing focus since revealing he’ll be Man City’s boss in the summer but he’d love to go with a Champions League medal in his bag.

Juve have all their key men fit but Bayern are without centre-halves Jerome Boateng, Javi Martinez and Holger Badstuber so I expect the Italians to at least score.

Bayern are the only away side to have won in Turin in 36 Champions League ties – and they’ve done it twice. But Juve look to have closed the gap on their rivals and I don’t think they’ll lose tonight.

Juve are a biggest 21-10 at bet365 but I’m on Juve draw no bet at 21-20 with William Hill.

Paulo Dybala has enjoyed a superb season for Juve and is 5-2 at Ladbrokes to net at any time.

The Bayern hitman to fear is of course Robert Lewandowski who is 8-5 at Ladbrokes and McBookie to score.

Recommended bets

Barcelona

Suarez to score

Juve draw no bet

Dybala to score

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