Week in Sport Betting Preview 24 February : Champions League, Honda Classic golf and world championship boxing
- 24 Feb - 1 Mar
- Live on BT Sport and Sky Sports
The Champions League last 16 and Europa League last 32 continue this week, while there is Honda Classic golf action from Florida and another Brit in world championship boxing competition in America.
Chelsea vs Bayern Munich - Tuesday 24 February
Chelsea enjoyed a fantastic win over Tottenham in the Premier League on Saturday but they have a much tougher assignment on their hands in the Champions League on Tuesday night when they take on Bayern Munich at Stamford Bridge.
The German champions are not having their most dominant season in the Bundesliga, but they are still top of the table and are scoring a lot of goals this season. They destroyed Spurs 7-2 in London in the group stage and also put six past Red Star and three past Olympiakos away from home.
Robert Lewandowski is arguably the best centre forward on the planet and has scored 25 goals in 23 Bundesliga games this campaign. Chelsea are not good at keeping clean sheets and they will not be able to do so against the Bavarians, led by the Pole.
Bayern’s defence is far from watertight this season, but they have more than enough guile to handle this inexperienced Chelsea side and, even if the Blues do find the back of the net, the Germans will outscore them. This tie is men against boys.
Real Madrid v Man City - Wednesday 25 Febaruary
These are two European super-powers but neither are at the height of their powers with Real Madrid lagging behind Barcelona in the La Liga title race and Manchester City completely out of the Premier League campaign.
Both teams have flaws and this may not be a classic, although the fragility of both sides could lead to a fair few goals over the tie.
Pep Guardiola has done a masterful job in some ways since taking over as Man City manager but he has far from masters the Champions League. His three seasons in charge of the club have seen his side be ousted by Monaco, Liverpool and Tottenham in the knockout stages. Monaco and Spurs are clearly inferior sides to Pep’s City, while Liverpool are excellent, but City finished about them in the Premier League so would expect to beat them in Europe.
All three of those ejections came with a loss in the away leg and Guardiola just isn’t great at getting results in these circumstances. In contrast, Zinedine Zidane is sensational in the knockout stages of this competition – he won it three straight seasons with Real Madrid.
There is not a great deal between these sides at the moment, but Real Madrid at home present exceptional value against Pep’s struggling European travellers.
Man Utd vs Club Brugge - Thursday 26 February
The first leg of this Europa League last 32 tie was one to forget, but it was a solid enough result for Manchester United, coming away from Belgium with a 1-1 draw. The Red Devils seem to be building a bit of confidence at the moment, buoyed by the arrival of Bruno Fernandes in January, who appears to be an excellent signing and adding some zip, drive and creativity to the midfield.
With the likes of Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood in good goal-scoring form, ahead of Fernandes and the returning Scott McTominay, United will have far too much for the Belgian side.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is taking this competition very seriously as it could be crucial in keeping him in a job for next season, so expect a strong team and a comfortable win for a United side that has conceded just one goal in their last five games, winning three and drawing two of them.
Honda Classic Golf - Thursday 26 Feb - Sunday 1 Mar
Rickie Fowler has been one of the top golfers on the planet for a number of years now but it often a tough player to back because he doesn’t convert many good performances into wins.
He is still yet to win a major and, incredibly, has just five wins to his name on the PGA Tour, which is tough to believe. However, he is playing at the PGA National at Palm Beach, Florida this week, where he seems to play his best golf.
Fowler won the Honda Classic in 2017 and finished runner-up last year, while he has clocked two other top 10 finishes here too. If there is anywhere in the planet that he is likely to perform well, it is here.
He has not been in stellar form of late, but two top 10 finishes out of four events so far this year shows he is not too far off it. The field is not incredible at the Honda Classic this year, and with his history in the event, Fowler makes the most sense.
Kal Yafai vs Roman Gonzalez – Saturday 29 February
This will have none of the fanfare of Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder last weekend, but one of Britain’s least-known boxing world champions ever takes on a legend of the lower weight-classes in the States.
Kal Yafai has been WBA super fly weight champion since 2016, defending his belt five times, but his story has never really caught on and the general public have no real idea who he is, something about the lower weight classes just doesn’t catch on.
On Saturday he takes on Roman Gonzalez, who was once considered a top three pound-for-pound talent before his two defeats to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in 2017. However, he has bounced back with two knockout wins and Chocolatito is now 48-2 in an exceptional career.
The Nicaraguan is the underdog in this fight despite having vastly superior pedigree, beat better opponents and, while he is being painted as over-the-hill, is only two years older than the Brit.
While not home soil, Chocolatito is also more comfortable and experienced in America than Yafai, who has only twice boxed outside of the UK – in Ireland and Monaco. Gonzalez is extremely well-travelled, with his last win coming in Japan.
Yafai could prove his worth, and at 26-0 he is an excellent talent, but Gonzalez is a genuine all-time great, maybe not at super fly, but at fly and light fly weight. The underdog is great value.
- Bayern Munich scored 24 goals in their six group stage games in the Champions League
- Robert Lewandowski is the joint top scorer in the competition with 10 goals
- Man City’s Riyad Mahrez has four assists in the Champions League this season, only Ajax star Hakim Ziyech has more
- Man City have scored just three goals in their last four games
- Manchester United have conceded one goal in their last six game in all competitions
- Mason Greenwood has four goals in five games in the Europa League this season
- Rickie Fowler has come in the top two at the Honda Classic in two of the last three years
- Favourite Tommy Fleetwood has never managed a top two finish here
- Roman Gonzalez has only lost to one man in 50 professional fights
- Kal Yafai is making his American debut, where Gonzalez has fought 10 times before