Dan Favale | Sat 26/05/2018 - 05:37 EDT

Real Madrid vs Liverpool Free Champions League Final Picks

Real Madrid vs Liverpool Free Champions League Final Picks
And then there were two. Liverpool and Real Madrid will square off on Saturday in the UEFA Champions League Final, which is typically one of the biggest sporting events of the year. This time around, though, we don't have a clear favorite. Real Madrid is technically the odds-on pick, neither squad is laying even money. Who should you roll with to win in advance of this clash? We're so glad you asked.

Odds for the UEFA Champions League final come via TopBet and are accurate as of Friday, May 25. Please make sure you’re checking over these lines before deciding on or placing a wager. Though spreads typically hold strong in the final lead-up to the match, both the moneylines and over/under are known to shift with more frequency.

Real Madrid vs Liverpool Odds

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  • Moneyline: Liverpool (+183), Real Madrid (+115), Tie (+264)
  • Spread: Liverpool +0.5 (-105), Real Madrid -0.5 (-115)
  • Over/Under: Over 3.5 (+115), Under 3.5 (-135)

Some of the past Championship League Finals have been slow, rocky slogs. They’ve been predicated on controlling time of possession and general prevention more than almost anything else. This year’s clash is going to be different. Much different.

Both Liverpool and Real Madrid enter as two of the world’s most fearsome attacking squads. They want their forwards to push and make quick decisions and rack up shots on goal before opposing midfielders and defenders have time to get themselves set, suffocate the ball or react to pass trajectories.

All of which should amount to a high scoring affair. It’s curious, in fact, that the over/under didn’t crawl its way to four. Liverpool tends to sniff the current mark on their own; they’re averaging 3.33 goals across all their contests. Bake in Real Madrid’s 2.5-goal average, and we seem to have a clear-cut recipe for the over. 

Sportsbooks appear to be banking on some level of fatigue kicking in. Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo has logged more total minutes (1,080) than anyone else. And on the flip side, Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino has covered more distance than anyone else—a designed function of the way the team’s offense runs.

With 12 matches apiece under both squads’ belts, we could see something of a more calculated pace. Then again, that would go against the DNA of either coach. And knowing that, the over remains a more attractive bet, even in a championship-round setting.

Individual matchups figure to determine the outcome more than any one stylistic note. That’s usually how these things go when two teams stack up in half-identical fashion on the tactical front. And with that in mind, the biggest head-to-head sparring to watch is, without question, that of Rinaldo and Liverpool’s treasured 19-year-old Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Tackling Ronaldo one-on-one is almost never a good idea, and many have criticized Liverpool for their reliance on Alexander-Arnold when he has so few reps to his career resume. But the teen has stepped up in a big a way. He’s kept himself on the pitch recently with pinpoint passing and, most importantly, his general ball pressure. He is credited with two blocks and nine tackles through nine appearances.

Facing off with Ronaldo, one of the craftiest and quickest players ever to take the field, will represent a different test altogether. But Alexander-Arnold’s aggression works in his favor here. He won’t be as concerned with leaving the space necessary to ward off Ronaldo’s east and west attacks. He’ll continue to get up on him. And while his overzealous style can result in penalties—he’s received two yellow cards—Liverpool will live with the trade-off knowing it could throw Ronaldo ever so slightly off kilter. 

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Mohamed Salah will cause similar issues for Real Madrid’s defense. Restraining him is arguably a touch more complicated. This isn’t to say he’s better than Ronaldo. But Real Madrid will attempt to guard him by committee, rather than bringing extreme pressure. They have no choice. Liverpool’s top playmakers pride themselves on pushing the pace up field more than anyone, defensive obligations be damned. And although this can be a bittersweet approach, it incites a sort of panic within the defense that leaves ample space for those around him to operate.

Salah has been the beneficiary of his supporting cast’s go-getter warp speed on more than one occasion. He has 10 goals through 12 appearances and continues to do a magnificent job slipping through chasms in the defense while the ball moves around elsewhere. He trusts that his teammates will find him, even if he’s on the run, and they normally do.

Real Madrid’s manager, Zinedine Zidane, will try keeping Salah—not to mention Firmino, who also has 10 goals—on their toes by turning to his bench earlier than most sideline experts. Marco Asensio, Mateo Kovacic, Lucas Vazquez could all end up playing pivotal roles by regulation’s end. It’s happened more than a couple times in previous matchups.

That extra depth matters. And it’s a big part of why Real Madrid is the odds-on favorite.

So much of their offensive production is tethered to Ronaldo. (Surprise, surprise.) He accounts for 15 of their 30 goals—or 50 percent of their offense. That’s inherently dangerous. If he gets clamped down, specifically in half-pitch sets, they’ll struggle to put pressure on Liverpool’s goalkeeper, Loris Karius, let alone hang point for point.

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But those around Ronaldo are more than familiar with their roles. They know how to set him up, and they know how to move or space off the ball so he has adequate handling room. His total playing time remains a concern, but he’s used to this brand of high usage.

Even at 33, he’s one of the world’s top conditioned players. And if Liverpool tries to guard him one-on-one with any semblance of regularity, all the while using a good yet inexperienced stopper in Alexander-Arnold, there’s a good chance Real Madrid turns them into putty.

Expect this to be a close affair, and ultimately, a high-scoring one, too. The door should be open for Liverpool to steal a victory. It just doesn’t seem like they’re poised to go through it. They may have the best goal differential in the UCL, but Ronaldo’s insta-offense remains enough to be the consummate difference-maker against a defense that, while sound, will allow more than its fair share of daylight in proximity to the net.

The Picks

  • Moneyline: Real Madrid (+116)
  • Spread: Real Madrid -0.5 (-115)
  • Over/Under: Over 3.5 (+115)

Category : Sports Betting News

Tag : Liverpool , real madrid , uefa champions league , world football

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