Champions League picks, odds, predictions: Experts think Real Madrid down Chelsea, AC Milan keep Napoli close

Eight teams are left in the UEFA Champions League as the quarterfinals kicked off on Tuesday on Paramount+ and CBS and will wrap up in the middle of next week. Manchester City vs. Bayern Munich highlighted the Tuesday slate with Pep Guardiola’s side taking a dominant 3-0 lead in the tiel while Benfica fell to Inter 2-0 in Portugal. Real Madrid and Chelsea meet on Wednesday, while it’s an all-Italy tie on the same day as Napoli take on AC Milan. 

Italy have had a resurgence on the continental stage and lead the way with three of the eight quarterfinal teams while England are second with two teams. You can also check out our rankings of the top 50 players left in the competition.

Here’s everything you need to know about the games, our expert picks and more:

Wednesday’s broadcast schedule

Match picks

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AC Milan vs. Napoli

Featured Game | AC Milan vs. Napoli

One matchup to watch: Rafael Leao vs. Giovanni Di Lorenzo – The last Serie A match between AC Milan and Napoli saw Rafael Leao dominate the Azzurri’s defense and captain Di Lorenzo. In fact, the Portuguese striker scored a brace and was nominated Man of the Match. However, it’s likely that this time it will be a different game, with Napoli being much more careful when they defend. The matchup between these two will probably tell us a lot about the result of this first leg. 

Most likely to score a goal: Olivier Giroud – The Rossoneri have to score at San Siro in the first leg, considering that the second game will be much more difficult and Olivier Giroud is the man that Stefano Pioli needs for such a game. The French striker scored four goals in eight Champions League matches and has to deliver once again against Spalletti’s side. 

Man of the Match pick: Khvicha Kvaratskhelia – The Georgian talent is coming from two games where he didn’t score or assist a goal. For Kvaradona, this is something strange this season. This is why I expect him to be back at his usual level against AC Milan in the quarterfinals as all eyes will be on him. 

Match prediction: AC Milan 1, Napoli 1. AC Milan won 4-0 in the last Serie A clash between the two sides ten days ago and despite Napoli being close to winning the Scudetto, the feeling is that the Champions League’s match between these sides will be much closer than what we expected some weeks ago. It’s likely that the first leg won’t decide who will qualify for the semifinals and I predict a draw. – Francesco Porzio

Real Madrid vs. Chelsea

Featured Game | Real Madrid vs. Chelsea

One matchup to watch: Vinicius Junior vs. Reece James – Since the turn of the year Real Madrid’s flying Brazilian has been in sensational form, finding the net once more against Villarreal to make 11 goals in 2023. However if you were designing a full back to go stride for stride against the world’s best wingers you would come up with James, who offers the further advantage that his cut and thrust in attack can pose questions of Vinicius. The England international will probably be doing a lot more defending in the first leg but he and Mason Mount make for an extremely effective pairing on the right with and without the ball. They can ask as many questions of the Madrid left as Vinicius asks of them.

Most likely to score a goal: Karim Benzema – It’s the Champions League. It’s Real Madrid. It’s Benzema. 

Man of the Match pick: N’Golo Kante – The Frenchman might have only played one game since August but it was a superb display, 59 minutes of all action football that brought back memories of the superstar who ran through the field in the spring of 2021. Injuries mean Kante might never get back to the level he showed in demolishing Real Madrid that year but frankly he could be a fair bit worse two years on and still be the consensus man of the match.

Match prediction: Real Madrid 1, Chelsea 1 – Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali might have rushed to sack Graham Potter (who was probably never going to take Chelsea where they aspire to be) but the second manager of the season was forging a team who were better defensively than their goal record might have suggested. The Blues have averaged almost exactly one expected goal allowed over their last 15 games, it does not seem beyond the realms of imagination that they can nick one in the Santiago Bernabeu and keep the tie alive.  James Benge

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