Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Champions League predictions, odds: Manchester City vs. Atletico Madrid, experts split on Chelsea-Real Madrid

The UEFA Champions League quarterfinals are set to begin on Tuesday with two title contenders set to play in both Liverpool and Manchester City. The Reds face Benfica in their opener while City host Atletico Madrid. On Wednesday, it will be Chelsea hosting Real Madrid in a rematch of last season’s semifinals, and Bayern Munich heading to Cinderella Villarreal.

All matches are at 3 p.m. ET, and you can see the action live on Paramount+.

Here’s our predictions for each match and more:

Craving even more coverage of the world’s game? Listen below and follow ¡Qué Golazo! A Daily CBS Soccer Podcast where we take you beyond the pitch and around the globe for commentary, previews, recaps and more.

Tuesday’s broadcast schedule

Wednesday’s broadcast schedule

Benfica vs. Liverpool

Date: Tuesday, April 5 | Time: 3 p.m. ET | Live stream: Paramount+

Location: Estádio da Luz — Benfica, Portugal

Commentators: Pien Meulensteen and Karen Carney (Sideline reporter: Guillem Balagué)  

Odds: Benfica +675 ; Draw +390; Liverpool -255 (via Caesars Sportsbook)  

Featured Game | Benfica vs. Liverpool

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One matchup to watch: Benfica’s defense nullifying Ajax’s attack was key in the last round so Jan Vertonghen and Nicolas Otamendi will once again play vital roles up against the likes of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz. Intriguingly, both Vertonghen and Otamendi have Premier League experience while Diaz moved to Anfield from FC Porto so there will be plenty of familiarity. Adding to the stakes is the fact that Otamendi is a booking away from second-leg suspension so will be walking a tightrope from the off. — Jonathan Johnson

Most likely to have a clean sheet: Alisson Becker. Liverpool are arguably favorites to win so Alisson would be the more logical pick for a clean sheet while Salah, Mane, Jota or Diaz could do the damage. Given that the Egyptian is under a little scrutiny of late, this could be the sort of game where he makes the difference as a reminder of his quality. — Jonathan Johnson

Man of the Match pick: Thiago Alcantara has the technical ability to dominate and dictate this sort of contest and he will be one of the main dangers Benfica seek to neutralize. However, this is a battle which I expect him to come out on top in. — Jonathan Johnson

Match prediction: Benfica 0, Liverpool 1. Jurgen Klopp’s men to give themselves the advantage after being made to work extremely hard for it. — Jonathan Johnson

Manchester City vs. Atletico Madrid

Date: Tuesday, April 5 | Time: 3 p.m. ET | Live stream: CBS and Paramount+

Location: Etihad Stadium — Manchester, United Kingdom

Commentators: Peter Drury and Jim Beglin (Sideline reporter: Peter Schmeichel)

Odds: Man City -270; Draw +375; Atletico +800 (via Caesars Sportsbook)  

Featured Game | Manchester City vs. Atlético Madrid

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One matchup to watch: Phil Foden vs. Jose Maria Gimenez. Not only is Gimenez Atleti’s key center back, but these are two of the premier players at their respective positions. The Uruguayan is a tank at the back, but he will have to be super cautious when going up against a tricky and speedy Foden, knowing that one wrong challenge can dig a huge hole. Expect Gimenez to be a tad less aggressive than usual and look to stay in front of the rising English star. — Roger Gonzalez

Most likely to keep clean sheet: Ederson. The City goalkeeper will feel good about a clean sheet, even with Atleti’s four goals against Deportivo Alaves on Saturday. Atleti will pressure and aim to get City to turn it over, but no team in the world passes like City. And no club handles pressure like them with their quick, efficient touches. If they can keep the ball on the ground and be smart in their distribution, they can limit the chances and get a key clean sheet. — Roger Gonzalez

Man of the Match pick: Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian is the engine in the middle, comes close to scoring on a free kick and ends up getting the winning assist on a delightful ball to Foden. — Roger Gonzalez

Match prediction: Manchester City 1, Atletico Madrid 0. Heavy City possession leads to a ton of chances, but a lone goal is enough as they combat Atleti’s pressure with crisp passing. — Roger Gonzalez

Chelsea vs. Real Madrid

Date: Wednesday, April 6 | Time: 3 p.m. ET | Live stream: CBS and Paramount+

Location: Stamford Bridge — London, United Kingdom

Commentators: Clive Tyldesley and Rob Green (Sideline reporter: Jules Breach)  

Odds: Chelsea +108; Draw +225; Real +280 (via Caesars Sportsbook) 

Featured Game | Chelsea vs. Real Madrid

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One matchup to watch: Karim Benzema vs. Chelsea’s back three. It’s hard to look at this matchup and come away with the expectation that anyone will have a larger say in how things will go than Benzema. With eight goals already in Champions League play, Benzema has been instrumental in Real’s performance. As comfortable dropping deep to orchestrate play as finishing in all ways from the penalty box, Thomas Tuchel will have to cook up a plan to stop him. — Chuck Booth

With the expected back three of Antonio Rudiger, Thiago Silva and Ceasar Azpilicueta expected to make up Chelsea’s back three, they have quality to keep with Benzema but also will need to avoid focusing too much on Real Madrid’s danger man at which point Vinicus Junior or Rodrygo can still hurt them. — Chuck Booth

Most likely to score a goal: Karim Benzema. Although it’s an away match, I find it hard to bet against Benzema performing on the big stage, especially after his hat trick with everything on the line against a star-studded PSG side. Benzema also has a chance at the golden boot if Real Madrid are to advance in the competition sitting on eight goals in the competition. — Chuck Booth

Man of the Match pick: Thibaut Courtois. Courtois is making another return to Stamford Bridge and he’ll be quite busy making up for Real’s porous defense in this match. Behind Odysseas Vlachodimos, Courtois has prevented the second-most goals in Champions League at 3.24 with his saves in big moments. While I see Chelsea scoring in the match, he’ll keep Real in a match that they likely shouldn’t walk away with a victory from. — Chuck Booth

Match prediction: Chelsea 1, Real Madrid 2. While it will be a tight affair, Benzema will pull Real Madrid across the line in victory. — Chuck Booth

Villarreal vs. Bayern Munich

Date: Wednesday, April 6 | Time: 3 p.m. ET | Live stream: Paramount+

Location: Estadio de la Cerámica — Castelló, Spain

Odds: Villarreal +420; Draw +320; Bayern -165 (via Caesars Sportsbook)  

Featured Game | Villarreal vs. Bayern Munich

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One matchup to watch: Robert Lewandowski vs. Pau Torres. Lewandowski lives for the European nights and his 12 goals this season makes this matchup instantly intriguing. He also leads the UCL with 9.8 expected goals, 17 shots on goal and is tied for sixth-most assists this season with three. But don’t sleep on Torres, who played a massive role in the round of 16 tie against Juventus for Unai Emery’s side as they knocked off the Serie A heavyweights. — Francesco Porzio

Most likely to score a keep a clean sheet: Manuel Neuer. The German goalkeeper has what it takes to help his team draw first blood in this tie with a clean sheet and set themselves up for a comfortable second leg at home. Bayern Munich are unbeaten in their last five games when playing away from home in the first leg of a knockout stage tie in the UEFA Champions League (W3 D2) — their last such defeat came in the 2015-16 semifinal first leg against Atlético Madrid, when Pep Guardiola’s side were eventually eliminated on away goals. — Francesco Porzio

Man of the Match pick: Robert Lewandowski. His European record is just unbelievable. He has scored 12 goals in eight UEFA Champions League appearances for Bayern Munich this season – only three players have ever netted more in a single campaign in the competition (Lionel Messi in 2011-12 and Cristiano Ronaldo in 2013-14, 2015-16 and 2017-18), with one of those being Lewandowski himself in 2019-20 (15). — Francesco Porzio

Match prediction: Villarreal 1, Bayern Munich 2. I expect a win for the road team, but it won’t come easy. Villarreal have proved to be a difficult side to beat under Unai Emery. — Francesco Porzio

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