In domestic play, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain have been trending in different directions this season. The spread for today’s match reflects that, as Chelsea are a sizable underdog to win at Parc de Princes.
When the pairings were drawn in December, Chelsea opened at +275 with PSG the favorite at +100, according to OddsShark.com. Since then Chelsea has floundered and PSG have dominated, and now Bovada has the Londoners valued at +475 with PSG favored at -155.
Injures and set pieces will play a huge role in this meeting, the third consecutive year these teams are playing in Champions League. Chelsea have lost starting defenders in consecutive weeks, and over the weekend John Terry joined Kurt Zouma amongst the Chelsea players unavailable for the first leg. PSG have avoided major injuries this year, but suspended fullback Serge Aurier on Monday after the Ivorian went on Periscope and lambasted his manager and teammates.
Why set pieces you ask? If Chelsea are down defenders, they will certainly be bombed with dangerous crosses from Angel di Maria. And if they want any goals in Paris tonight, it may come from a free kick. Seven goals have been scored this season in Champions League off set pieces, and Chelsea’s Willian has four of them.
While Chelsea had a strong performance against Newcastle, the Parisians bring a much higher level of football to the field. It won’t be a blowout, but it won’t be nearly as close as it has been between these teams in recent meetings.
After watching Chelsea over the weekend, I did like the form of Pedro and Diego Costa. While it doesn’t inspire me to pick Chelsea as winners, Pedro at +1200 to score first is a viable option. Zlatan leads all players at +300 for the opening goal, and is even a modest +1800 to score a hat trick.
Prediction: PSG 3-1
Best Bet: Willian (+500) to score anytime