Chelsea is coming off a surprising loss in their last Premier League match, which really hurt their title chances, and they are the Champions League betting underdog on the road facing Paris Saint Germain.
PSG is in form and they have the France Ligue 1, pretty much, in the bag, but can they beat the English giant in the first leg of this Champions League quarterfinal tie?
PSG is on a nine-match winning streak and while they are the favorite against Chelsea they may have had the easiest road to the CL quarterfinals.
Their group was one of the easiest and then in the round of 16 they beat a Bayer Leverkusen squad that has had issues this season and is in fourth place in the Bundesliga.
PSG was the Champions League soccer betting lines favorite posted at +105 with Chelsea at +300 and a draw line of +250.
While France Ligue 1 does not have the talent of the Premier League PSG has looked great scoring the most goals, by a wide margin, and conceding the fewest.
The Blues have lost two of their last three matches and which team will show up in Paris? The one that lost 1-0 in their last two losses or the one that blew up for six goals in a big win over Arsenal?
In Premier League play Chelsea has scored the third most goals and conceded the fewest. It is no secret that their defense must key on Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has scored the most goals in Ligue 1 by an 11-goal margin.
He and Edinson Cavani, who ranks second in France in goals, have combined for 39 goals on the season and if the Blues’ defense can shut them down they will be in good shape.
PSG has only suffered one home loss this season and that was to Lille in the Coupe de France round of 32.
Chelsea has two losses, one draw, and one win in their last four road matches. Eden Hazard leads a deep squad that has eight players that have scored at least three goals in the EPL season.
Samuel Eto'o is a question mark for this match and his loss would be a blow, as he has the second most goals for the Blues this season.
Jose Mourinho coached Chelsea to a 3-0 win in Paris in the Champions League back in 2004.
He is back in the Blues’ fold and with the issues the squad has in England he has pressure to guide Chelsea deep in the Champions League.
Cinderella lives to dance in the Elite Eight while three top seeds look to advance as well as March Madness betting hits a critical stage.
No. 11 Dayton pulled another upset and now faces top overall seed Florida on Saturda.
Whether its odds on the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 matchups this week or NCAA college basketball props on who will score the most points or who will be the Most Outstanding player, fans are flocking to the betting window.
On Friday, top-seeded Virginia is an underdog to No. 4 seed Michigan State. Check out trends and March Madness odds on all the weekend’s games.
East Region trends (courtesy of Odds Shark)
Michigan State 4 vs Virginia 1
Michigan State 6-1 ATS past seven games
Michigan State has played four straight UNDERs in Sweet 16 play
Spartans just 3-7 SU vs 1 seeds since 1996
Top seeds are 12-4 SU past 16 games vs 4 seeds
The only time since 1996 that a 4 was favored vs a 1, No. 4 Louisville beat Washington in 2005
Virginia 18-1 SU past 19 games overall
Iowa State (-1.5) 3 vs Connecticut 7 (146.5)
Iowa State won and covered six straight games
UNDER is 13-3 past 16 UConn games (but two OVERs in tournament)
UConn 7-2 ATS past nine tournament games
Iowa State 6-2 ATS past eight tournament games
Kentucky 8 vs Louisville 4
Kentucky is 8-2-1 ATS past 11 games vs Louisville
11 of past 14 meetings played UNDER the total
Wildcats on 5-0 ATS run after an 0-5 ATS run
Louisville is 6-1 ATS past seven games
Louisville is 14-1 SU past 15 games as favorites
Kentucky on 7-0 SU, 6-0-1 ATS run in tournament games
Louisville is 6-1 ATS in Sweet 16 since 1997
8 seeds have played 4 seeds three times since 2000 and won all three
Tennessee 11 vs Michigan 2
2 seeds are 5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS since 11 seeds since 2002
Michigan 9-1 SU past 10 games
Tennessee is 7-1 ATS past eight games overall
UNDER is 10-2 past 12 games when Vols are underdogs
Michigan is 7-1 ATS past eight tournament games
Dayton vs Florida
Florida 4-1 SU and ATS vs 11 seeds since 1999
Dayton 7-1 ATS past seven games
Florida has lost three straight Elite Eight games
Dayton 9-3 ATS in 12 games as dog this season
The last two times an 11 faced a No. 1, the 11’s won (VCU vs. Kansas in 2011 and George Mason vs. UConn in 2006)
Wisconsin vs Arizona
Arizona is 7-2 ATS past nine tournament games
Arizona lost three straight Elite Eight games
Wisconsin 8-2 ATS past 10 tournament games
Wisconsin lost five straight games to No. 1 seeds (but 3-0 ATS past three) – last victory vs No. 1 was 2000 vs Zona
OVER is 7-1 past eight meetings of 1 and 2 seeds
1 seeds 16-14 SU vs 2 seeds since 1997
Kentucky Derby fever is starting to grow and the favorite for the 2014 edition of the race goes this weekend in the Florida Derby.
Cairo Prince, a 10-1 shot according to the Kentucky Derby futures at Bovada racebook , will go off as the morning line favorite (currently 9/5).
The Florida Derby is one of three Derby points races on Saturday. The $2 million UAE Derby at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai and the Louisiana Derby are the others where Derby hopefuls need to finish well to earn consideration for Churchill Downs.
Let’s take a close look at the Florida Derby from a handicapping standpoint, courtesy of TurfNSport.com (see also the latest Kentucky Derby betting updates)
Gulfstream Park Race 14 - Florida Derby (G1) (6:48 ET)
4 Constitution 4-1
3 Cairo Prince 9-5
2 Matador 15-1
8 Spot 8-1
Analysis: Constitution makes his stakes debut here for the Todd Pletcher barn off a sharp win last out against a solid field of Alw-1 optional claimers at Gulfstream Park in his first start around two turns. The colt broke his maiden in his debut going seven furlongs despite getting off a beat slow. The fact he came from off the pace in his debut is encouraging as Wildcat Red and General a Rod both bring early zip.
The colt has enough pedigree to handle nine furlongs. He is by Tapit out of a Distorted Humor mare that won going long and this is her first foal to race. Pletcher won this race in 2007 with Scat Daddy. While the Fountain of Youth (G2) is the key prep for this race, three of the last six winners of the race exited allowance races.
Cairo Prince makes his first start since winning the Holy Bull (G2) on Jan. 25 where he talked the early pace and drew off smartly to win by 5 3/4 lengths. The third place finisher in the race as Intense Holiday, who came back to win the Risen Star (G2) at fair Grounds and is a major player in today's Louisiana Derby (G2).
The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee has won three of his four starts with the lone blemish a nose loss to Honor Code in the Remsen (G2) last November at Aqueduct. The Remsen was at nine furlongs and he should have no problem handling the distance here and owns solid late pace numbers.
Matador adds blinkers here after making a mild late run to finish fifth in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2). Two back he was fourth in the Sam F. Davis (G3), but was beaten just a length for the top spot. His lone win came in the Canadian bred Cup and Saucer on turf and his only two starts on conventional dirt came at Tampa, a surface some runners just do not like.
The colt makes his third start off the bench for the Mark Casse barn and is going to be a price. He should be running late if the early pace is brisk and can be in the mix.
WIN: #4 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 3,4 / 2,3,4,8
TRI: 3,4 / 2,3,4,8 / 2,3,4,6,8
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Things just keep getting worse for Manchester United after the dropped further down the league table with an embarrassing 3-0 loss to Liverpool at Old Trafford in their last match.
Now they have to come back from a two-goal deficit against Olympiakos to advance to the quarterfinals of the Champions League.
Midweek Man United were big home Champions League betting favorites at -200 with Olympiakos at +600 and a draw line of +375.
[ Check out odds to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup and see where England and Greece are currently ]
Olympiakos has already bagged the Greek Super League title and they did so rather easily leading PAOK Thessaloniki FC and Atromitos by 18 points with only one more match remaining. In their 25 league matches they only have two losses and two draws and they have been great on both sides of the pitch.
Can Olympiakos win at Old Trafford? Man U has not enjoyed the home field advantage as they usually have on their own pitch and four of their nine losses in EPL play have come there.
[ Watch for Champions League odds updates and matchup reports ]
Manchester United won the time of possession battle against Olympiakos in the first leg in Greece (60 to 40%), but they only managed seven shots on goal.
Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney each have 11 goals in EPL play and there is a lot of pressure on this duo to provide some goals against Olympiakos. The Red Devils look out of form as of late mainly in the midfield and if they struggle again in that area of the pitch Olympiakos has a shot.
Alejandro Dominguez and Joel Campbell were the players that scored for the Greek side in the first leg and both netted within the first 60 minutes. It will be key that Man U strikes early and if they give up the first goal they may be done.
Man U gave up three penalty shots, which led to two goals, in the Liverpool loss and they cannot let that happen in this match.
Olympiakos has already wrapped up their domestic league, and did so a while back, so their key players will be well-rested for this big road match.
Olympiakos G Roberto Gago is the anchor of the defense and you can be sure that Man U will come out pressing the issue on offense. If they can frustrate the Red Devils like they did in the first leg they will have done their job.
The Greek squad will likely pack the defense to protect their two-goal cushion, but the Red Devils have to be wary of the counter attack.
With just two games left in the regular season including their final home game of the year on Thursday, the Cincinnati Bearcats will attempt to get back on track hosting the Memphis Tigers.
Cincinnati was a 4-point NBA betting odds favorite at home, according to Bovada.
Cincinnati found its stride in the middle of December, putting together a stretch of 15 straight wins that included impressive road upsets over Memphis and Louisville. But over the last five games, the Bearcats have struggled against quality opponents with losses to SMU, Louisville and Connecticut.
[ Cincinnati vs Memphis betting odds matchup report ]
Cincinnati owns the third stingiest scoring defense in the nation allowing only 57.2 points per game and has an explosive offensive superstar in senior guard Sean Kilpatrick, who averages 20.3 points per game. But without much secondary support on offense, Cincinnati has a very slim margin for error
Memphis picked up a strong win last Saturday at home, topping Louisville 72-66 as a 5-point home underdog. The win improved Memphis' home record to 8-0 SU and 5-2 ATS over its last eight games, but road play has been another story for the Tigers. Over their last four games away from home, Memphis is 1-3 SU and 0-3-1 ATS.
The Tigers have a balanced offense that averages 78.6 points per game but usually ends up playing in shootouts with a defense that allows 69.9 points per game.
This matchup looks on paper to be a pretty classic offense vs. defense showdown. Cincinnati went into Memphis as a 5.5-point underdog back at the beginning of January and won the game easily by a final score of 69-53.
Memphis will need to do a much better job of establishing its offense Thursday to earn a better result, but that is easier said than done on the road.
The 69-53 final went UNDER the total as just about all of the games Memphis and Cincinnati have played this year have done. Cincinnati is 18-5 on the UNDER this year while Memphis is 16-9.
These numbers indicate that buckets could be hard to come by on Thursday night.
The Syracuse Orange have had four days off to regroup from a rough 2-2 SU and 0-3-1 ATS run over their last four games.
Syracuse will need its best effort on Saturday visiting the Virginia Cavaliers, who haven’t lost since January 13. Virginia was a 3.5-point favorite at home on the college basketball betting lines menu at Odds Shark.
Syracuse’s 24-0 SU and 15-5 ATS start to the season catapulted the Orange to the top of the polls as the nation’s unanimous No. 1 team. But over its last four games, Syracuse has barely held on for wins against North Carolina State and Maryland and lost outright to Boston College and Duke.
The Orange were a 13.5-point favorite at home against Boston College. Syracuse has three games remaining in its regular season with this one against Virginia as the biggest challenge.
Virginia has been red-hot over the last couple of months, stringing together a 12-0 SU and 9-3 ATS record over its last 12 games including an impressive win on the road against Pittsburgh back at the beginning of the month.
Averaging just 65.9 points per game, Virginia relies heavily on its excellent team defense to win basketball games. The Cavaliers give up fewer points than any other team in the nation allowing just 54.7 points per game, giving them a significant recent college basketball point spread edge over their foes.
Syracuse’s team is also built in a defense-first fashion, averaging 68.8 points per game n offense while allowing only 58.5 points per game, good for the second best scoring defense in the country.
The Orange and Cavaliers both have leaned heavily towards the UNDER in their games this season with the UNDER going 7-16-1 in Syracuse’s games and 9-15-1 in Virginia’s. The total has gone UNDER in each of Syracuse’s last seven games and in five of Virginia’s last six.
Syracuse has been great against the spread on the road this season with a 6-1-1 ATS record away from home while Virginia is 7-5 ATS at home. With the way these two teams play, defense will obviously be at a premium, and the 3.5 points that Syracuse is receiving could definitely factor in to the final decision.
The Florida Gators' last loss came back on December 2 against the Connecticut Huskies.
The Gators followed that loss up with solid wins over Kansas and Memphis that began their current 20-game winning streak. With seniors Casey Prather and Scottie Wilbekin leading a talented young team, Florida looks to have the right combination of experience and talent to make a deep run this year.
In addition to taking over the No. 1 spot in the polls this week, Florida also has the top spot on the March Madness betting odds at 5/1 to win the championship.
The Syracuse Orange (15/2 to win the NCAA Tournament) have not been sharp in the second half of February, narrowly escaping with wins against North Carolina State and Maryland and losing to Boston College and Duke.
Still, Syracuse's recent slump shouldn't erase a 25-0 SU start to the season, and if the Orange can re-find their form they could still make a deep run.
With Tuesday night's win over Bradley, the Wichita State Shockers became the first team in college basketball history to start a regular season off 30-0 SU. Wichita State's soft competition makes the Shockers a hard team to gauge, but it looks pretty clear at this point that last year's Final Four run was no fluke.
The Shockers are going off at 12/1 on the latest March Madness odds to win it all.
Duke (8/1), Kansas (8/1), and Kentucky (14/1) are all contenders thanks to their incredible collections of young talent. Duke seems to be rounding into form just in time for the tournament with a 10-2 SU and 8-3-1 ATS record over its last 12 games including a 66-60 win over Syracuse last Saturday.
Bettors looking for value on the March Madness odds may find some in Michigan State (17/2) or Arizona (11/1). Neither team has been in great form recently with Arizona losing two of its last four games on the road and Michigan State going 5-5 SU and ATS over its last 10 games.
But despite that, both of these teams are built for tournament success, and could win the Championship when on their games.
Other potential contenders from top sportsbooks on the March Madness betting lines include Wisconsin (22/1), Creighton (25/1), Michigan (25/1), Virginia (25/1), and Villanova (28/1).