LEICESTER are trying to prove they’re not one-season wonders – and can show their worth on their Champions League debut tonight.
Claudio Ranieri’s men have struggled to live up to last season’s billing and it’s no surprise. But no one can take the Premier League title from them or deny them a first Champions League adventure.
As top seeds the Foxes have landed a favourable draw with Porto, Bruges and Copenghagen. I expect them to qualify along with the Portuguese and they are 8-11 at Ladbrokes to make the last 16.
Leicester last featured in Europe when they lost to Red Star Belgrade in the first round of the UEFA Cup in 2000 – in the glory days of Martin O’Neill.
Their last win was against Glenavon in 1961 so they can make history by winning in Belgium tonight.
Bruges are the sort of side Leicester should be beating. They have no superstars and have lost six of their last eight against English teams.
Jamie Vardy must have dreamed of the day he’d play on this stage and his 6- 1 at McBookie to score first.
I’m backing the England striker whose pace could stretch Bruges but Riyad Mahrez can’t be ignored at 7-1 with bet365 despite a slow start to the season.
The other group game sees section favourites Porto entertain Copenhagen. The Danes are one of the poorest qualifiers and don’t have good form on the road with four successive draws on the domestic front.
Porto did well to KO Roma in the play-offs and I fancy them at 8-13 with boylesports to start with three points.
Spurs have a tougher group alongside Bayer Leverkusen and Monaco but will be happy with having CSKA Moscow as top seeds.
The Londoners are 7-5 favourites with boylesports to win Group E and should start with three points at home to Monaco.
Spurs have moved the game to Wembley and that’s a slight worry but it’s a sellout and I’m backing them at 3-4 with the likes of Ladbrokes. It was 4-1 to a weakened Spurs when they met at White Hart Lane in the Europe League last season.
Harry Kane got off the mark at Stoke at the weekend and is 9-2 with McBookie to score first.
I’ll repeat my tips about the delayed Man City v Borussia M’gladbach game. City are 4-9 at William Hill to beat the Germans and consider Sergio Aguero to score first at 16-5 with betfair. To net at anytime he is 8-11 at Ladbrokes.
The sides met last season and Man City won 2-1 away and 4-2 at home and goals are expected again. Both outfits are attack-minded so Man City and both to score is worth a look at 8-5 with Coral as City look to continue their great start to the season under Pep Guardiola.
CSKA start at Bayer and have lost five out of five on trips to Germany. The Russians are top seeds who could finish bottom and I’m on Bayer at 13-20 with McBookie.
Group H favourites Juventus have lost Paul Pogba but don’t look any weaker. New coach Max Allegri has recruited well with Medhi Benatia, Dani Alves, Miralem Pjanic, Marko Pjaca and Gonzalo Higuain brought in and they’ve started the season superbly.
The Italians should pass a tricky test against Europa League holders Sevilla whose squad has also been reshaped with a new boss on Jorge Sampaoli whose sides usually entertain. Take a chance on Juve plus 2.5 match goals at 6-4 with Paddy Power.
Lyon will look to shoot down Dinamo Zagreb without star striker Alexandre Lacazette with the French 4-6 at boylesports.
Holders Real Madrid have won all their home games in the last four group campaigns and should start with another win against Sporting. They are of course short at 2-9 with William Hill and Betfred but should win by at least two (11-20, betfair).
Borussia Dortmund haven’t started the season well – they lost 1-0 at Red Bull Leipzig at the weekend – but should beat Legia Warsaw. However, for me they’re a bit short at 2-5 with Coral.
Vardy to score
Kane to score first
Aguero to score first
Man City & Btts
Juventus & over 2.5 goals
Ronaldo to score first
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