Champions League predictions, odds: Expert picks for Chelsea, Juventus and Atletico Madrid vs. Man United


After a wild two days of UEFA Champions League knockout stage play last week, action continues on Tuesday and Wednesday with eight more teams set to play their round of 16 first legs. On Tuesday, Chelsea host Lille while Villarreal welcome Juventus to Spain. On Wednesday, Atletico Madrid host Manchester United, and Ajax go to Benfica.

You can see all of the action live on Paramount+. Here are our staff picks for the four big clashes:

Tuesday’s broadcast schedule

Wednesday’s broadcast schedule

Chelsea vs. Lille OSC

Date: Tuesday, Feb. 22 | Time: 3 p.m. ET | TV: CBS | Live stream: Paramount+
Odds: Chelsea -320; Draw +400; Lille +1000 (via Caesars Sportsbook)  

Featured Game | Chelsea vs. Lille

One matchup to watch: Jonathan David vs. Antonio Rüdiger. One of Ligue 1’s most devastating forwards takes on a center back who is supremely at ease on the left side of Chelsea’s back three. This battle might be all the more intriguing when the hosts have the ball; David is one of Ligue 1’s outstanding pressing forwards but Rüdiger does not lack confidence with the ball at his feet. If David can disrupt him high up the pitch, then it may both offer chances for Lille and disrupt Chelsea’s supply line. — James Benge

Most likely to score a goal: Hakim Ziyech. The Moroccan has taken his time to rediscover his Ajax form in Blue, but of late he has been devastating form, scoring in his last three Premier League games including a crucial late winner over Crystal Palace that should win him a place in Thomas Tuchel’s side. — James Benge

Man of the Match pick: N’Golo Kanté. This competition is the Frenchman’s stage to shine and he would appear to have shaken off the injury issues that have dogged him and Chelsea so far this season. At his very best, there is no player who comes close to him on either end of the pitch. — James Benge

Match prediction: Chelsea 1, Lille OSC 0. It’s probably not going to be one for the neutrals, but even as they have struggled for form, Chelsea have proven capable of doing just about enough to get wins. — James Benge

Villarreal vs. Juventus

Date: Tuesday, Feb. 22 | Time: 3 p.m. ET | Live stream: Paramount+
Odds: Villarreal +150; Draw +220; Juventus +195 (via Caesars Sportsbook)  

Featured Game | Villarreal vs. Juventus

One matchup to watch: Pau Torres vs. Dušan Vlahović. This might be the most interesting matchup of this round of 16 tie. The Serbian striker is about the play his first career Champions League match and he has to do it against one of the most promising center backs in European play, who was also linked to Juventus in the past. Álvaro Morata’s role will also be crucial to find other options between the defending and attacking lines of the teams. — Francesco Porzio

Most likely to score a goal: Arnaut Danjuma. Juventus will face Villarreal with a bunch of injury absences, especially in defense. With Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci injured, and Daniele Rugani not expected to be available, Brazilian full back Danilo is expected to play out of position at center back to make up for all the absences. The Villarreal striker, who already has 12 goals to his name in 21 matches this season, has a nice chance to put his name in the scoresheet. — Francesco Porzio

Man of the Match pick: Álvaro Morata. With Paulo Dybala’s sidelined, Morata is expected to make his presence in Massimiliano Allegri’s expected 4-4-2 Tuesday night. It’s a huge chance for the Spanish striker, who plays in his home country against a team that he knows really well. With Dušan Vlahović making his UCL debut, Morata needs to bring his experience in the match to support his teammate. — Francesco Porzio

Match prediction: Villarreal 1, Juventus 1. It won’t be an easy game for Juventus, especially when you take account of all the absences that they will have. Unai Emery’s side is a difficult one to beat, especially in their home stadium. — Francesco Porzio

Atletico Madrid vs. Manchester United

Date: Wednesday, Feb. 23 | Time: 3 p.m. ET | TV: CBS | Live stream: Paramount+
Odds: Atletico Madrid +145; Draw +215; Man United +205 (via Caesars Sportsbook)

Featured Game | Atlético Madrid vs. Manchester United

One matchup to watch: Cristiano Ronaldo vs. José María Giménez. The Uruguayan center back will be tasked with gluing himself to the Portuguese superstar, and he’s a player who can challenge him, especially in the air. Facing an Atleti defense isn’t easy, but it has certainly been more manageable than in recent years. Diego Simeone’s side may have not conceded in the 3-0 weekend win over Osasuna, but their defensive form before that was quite shaky. There was that 1-0 loss to relegation contenders Levante, and then they conceded multiple goals in four straight matches before that. This is a defense that has dealt with so many injuries, but even when healthy they’ve been underwhelming. Ronaldo vs. Giménez will be key to the outcome of Wednesday’s match. — Roger Gonzalez

Most likely to score a goal: Cristiano Ronaldo. He is United’s most important attacker, but there is also a ton of history there against one Real Madrid’s chief rivals. Outside of Sevilla (27), there’s not another team that Ronaldo has scored more goals against in his career, with 25 on a a scoring rate of 0.71 goals per match. He’s broken their hearts on multiple occasions, including scoring the winning penalty for Real Madrid in the 2016 Champions League final. — Roger Gonzalez

Man of the Match pick: David de Gea. The Manchester United shot-stopper, playing against his former club, makes numerous crucial saves to leave this one level ahead of the second leg. — Roger Gonzalez

Match prediction: Atletico Madrid 1, Manchester United 1. The Red Devils start the match on the front foot as they take the lead through Ronaldo (who else?), but the second-half woes continue for United as Atleti draw level late on a Luis Suarez strike. — Roger Gonzalez

Benfica vs. Ajax

Date: Wednesday, Feb. 23 | Time: 3 p.m. ET | Live stream: Paramount+
Odds: Benfica +325 ; Draw +290; Ajax -127 (via Caesars Sportsbook)  

Featured Game | Benfica vs. Ajax

One matchup to watch: Rafa Silva vs. Dušan Tadić. I cannot wait to see how creative talents Rafa and Dušan Tadić fare. The Portuguese has eight goals and 16 assists across all competitions while the Serb has one goal more than that. Rafa can call upon 21-goal Darwin Nunez to finish many of those chances while Tadic has 28-goal Sebastien Haller alongside him. How these two creative wizards fare could shape the outcome of this encounter. — Jonathan Johnson

Most likely to score a goal: Sébastien Haller. Haller has been on fire this campaign and unlike Nunez, he regularly provides assists too (eight across all club competitions) which makes Ajax more of an all-round goal threat. If the Frenchman can pick up where he left off in the group stage, then the Eredivisie powerhouse look a good bet to reach the quarterfinals. — Jonathan Johnson

Man of the Match pick: Dušan Tadić. Haller and Tadić are two strong shouts, but they have a number of highly talented teammates who can also shine alongside them. Antony and Steven Berghuis have been particularly productive while Jan Vertonghen will know all about Ajax’s strengths and weaknesses having made the breakthrough there. — Jonathan Johnson

Match prediction: Benfica 1, Ajax 2. This has the potential to be the most entertaining of this midweek slate of Champions League games. Hopefully it lives up to the billing, but Erik ten Hag’s men must be considered favorites. — Jonathan Johnson





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