So – here we are again! The best part of 9 months worth of competition ends with a meeting of two sides who have not met in over a decade, both looking to add additional trophies to their cabinet this season after both won their respective league titles. Let’s have a look at how both arrived at the final:
Juventus had a dodgy start to the groups, with a 2-0 win over Malmo being followed by two defeats to Olympiakos and Atletico Madrid, but followed those two losses with two wins and a draw to qualify, just – one point clear of 3rd place Olympiakos. Going into the knockout phase, a lot had few doubts over their quality. They dispatched of Dortmund with ease, and then narrowly defeated Arsenal’s conquerors Monaco 1-0 over two legs. Going into the semi vs Real Madrid, they were huge underdogs, but thanks to a couple of goals from former Real striker Alvaro Morata, and a Carlos Tevez penalty, they went through 3-2 on aggregate.
Barcelona on the other hand lost the first game, but won all five games in a row after that. Three of the five goals they conceded in the group stage were in that opening defeat! Into the latter phases, they faced Man City (W3-1 on Agg), who they waltzed past, and then onto group opponents PSG again, who they swept aside. Bayern in the semi was expected to be a tough game, and after a cagey 70 minutes, Messi exploded to life and inspired a 3-0 win, and possibly ended the tie. The 2nd leg was over within half an hour, with a goal for Barcelona meaning Bayern needed 5. They got 3, but Barca got a 2nd and that was that.
Similar to my FA Cup final preview, I’ve looked at the same markets. Here are my top tips for each category:
So far this season in the CL, here are the stats for both sides:
- Barcelona: 55 (For), 41 (Against) – Under 10 Corners in 8/12 games
- Juventus: 56 (For), 57 (Against) – Under 10 Corners on 8/12 games
Both first leg’s for both sides semi finals had less than 7 corners in, but with just one leg this time, it could go either way. Juventus had 9 corners in a game many times, which to me is too close to 10 for comfort. The bet I like most in the corners market is Barcelona -2 Corners @ 11/10 – a bet they have won in 5/12 games this season. Under 9 Corners @ 7/5 is tempting, but like mentioned very risky.
Here is a market that I have looked at extensively – and have found several bets that are worth looking at. Here are the Card stats so far this season:
- Barcelona: 19 (for), 35 (against) – 6 over 4.5 cards in 12 games
- Juventus: 23 (for), 25 (against) – 4 over 4.5 cards in 12 games
With such skillful players, Barcelona draw in the fouls, as you can imagine. However, something I have picked up on is that one player in particular has accounted for a third of their yellow cards! Dani Alves has been booked 6 times in 10 games, and is likely to start Saturday night. SkyBet have priced him up as 2/1 A/T to be carded, while Bet365 are offering 12/1 for him to be the first booking.
Juventus on the other hand have picked up 23 cards in 12 games, so nearly 2 per game. Carlos Tevez has picked up 4 cards, Vidal 3 and Liechsteiner 3 as well – Tevez an incredible 20/1 First Booking, and 3/1 to be carded any time during the 90 minutes! Finals tend to be a little feisty, in regulation time in last year’s final there was 7 bookings and with the likes of Alves, Tevez, Vidal – south american hot-heads who can let their passion spill into their tackles, I can see an incident which causes a few afters between one or two. Once a side is losing, and know they have lost it can also cause cards. It happened when I backed Bayern Over 2.5 Cards in the 2nd leg of the semi, and the same in the Europa League final this year, where Dnipro -1 Card came in thanks to a couple of nasty late tackles. My favoured card bets are as follows:
- Over 4.5 Cards @ Evens
- Juventus -1 Card Handicap @ 13/10
- Alves Booked A/T @ 2/1
- Tevez Booked A/T @ 3/1
- Alves + Tevez Both Booked @ 12/1
These prices are from a mixture of Bet365 and SkyBet – I tweeted the latter and they priced up it all for us, which is a plus point for them. If you tweet them with the hashtag #RequestABet – they will get a price for it. Very good really!
With Lionel Messi involved, you’d think value would be short. Not so – Messi + Barcelona Win (90 mins) is 2/1 with William Hill which is a very special price! Juve have upset the odds at every point this season, so you never know what they are capable of. Certainly could win it, but I fancy Barcelona! Win + Over 2.5 Goals @ 6/4 is also a good price – if they can put 3 past Bayern, they can put 3 past Juventus. Can Barcelona finally end Juventus’ dream? Take a look at this article on the final, which includes some alternate statistics
I quite like 3-1 Barca, a scoreline they have won by 3 or 4 times in the Champions League this season. 15/2 is the price for that – over 2.5 goals has landed in 8 of Barcelona’s 12 games. I went with Sevilla + Under 2.5 Goals wrongly in the Europa final, and I think with Suarez, Messi, Neymar, Tevez, Vidal and more on the pitch, goals are on the menu! So – Tips for this section:
- Barcelona 3-1 @ 15/2
- Barcelona + Over 2.5 Goals @ 6/4
- Messi A/T + Barcelona Win @ 2/1
Best of luck for the final! My Favourite Tip for the game is Dani Alves to be booked anytime @ 2/1!