Loading scores...
Cristiano Ronaldo
Michael Regan/Staff | Getty
Odds and Ends

UCL Best Bets: Count on an Aggressive Ronaldo

by Brad Thomas
Updated On: November 22, 2021, 2:59 pm ET

Champions League returns this week with teams vying for qualification into the knockout stage. With just two matches left, it’s important for some to buckle down and compete in these “must-win” matches. Our run of good Fortune has slowed down a bit with me dropping my last three plays. Nonetheless, I have found three spots for Tuesday’s UEFA card that deserve my attention. All odds can be found via PointsBet Sportsbook.  

Editor’s Note: Play for FREE! Download the NBC Sports Predictor app, make picks and win huge, weekly jackpots. Get started here!

Villarreal vs Manchester United (Tuesday, 12:45 p.m. ET)

Three-way Moneyline: Villarreal (+185) | Draw (+245) | Manchester United (+140)

Both Villarreal and Manchester United sit tied on top of Group F. With Atalanta just two points behind, both would be wise to try and get points any way possible. In the reverse fixture, Manchester United was saved by a Cristiano Ronaldo goal in the 95th minute. The 2-1 victory over Villarreal was on they were lucky to earn. Villarreal outclassed them in every aspect of the match outside of the final score line.

United’s poor play this season and an embarrassing 1-4 loss to Watford this weekend, resulted in the sacking of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær. It was obvious throughout the match the players had already quit on Solskjær. Their defense was disjointed and gave minimal effort. Now they enter matchday five with a new manager and their sights set on winning their group.

The first play from this match that I am backing is Cristiano Ronaldo over 1.5 shots on target (+105). I’ll start by saying that Ronaldo anytime scorer is very nice at +120, but I prefer the shots prop in this match. Ronaldo is an absolute monster when it comes to showing up for European play. Not only did Ronaldo hit this is the reverse fixture, he has hit this in all four Champions League matches thus far. Ronaldo leads UEFA Champions League with 11 shots on target and is averaging 2.9 shots on target per 90 minutes.

The second bet I am backing is Manchester United Draw No Bet (-130). Last weekend I was reliant on United’s defense and they let me down in the worst way possible. However, Solskjær is out, and the players should carry extra motivation in this match. Let’s look at Villarreal for a second. While they are riding a three-match unbeaten streak, they haven’t not had much quality on the pitch. Over the last month and a half, they are outperforming their xG by 1.87 goals and outperforming their xGA by 1.61. Generally, when a team is outperforming their xG and xGA it catches up to them when playing a team with quality. Despite the defense woes of United, they have plenty of quality on the pitch.

BSC Young Boys vs Atalanta (Tuesday, 3 p.m. ET)

Three-way Moneyline: Young Boys (+320) | Draw (+320) | Atalanta (-135)

Young Boys are the Swiss super club who are known for putting up a fight in Champions League and Europa League matches. They have dominated the Swiss Super League for years and have become a household name for many soccer bettors. However, this is not the same Young Boys team that we have seen the past few years. New manager David Wagner was dealt a tough blow when star forward Jean Pierre Nsame suffered an Achilles injury back in May. They have good talent, but Nsame was the goal funnel, and his absence has been missed.

They have won just one match in the Champions League qualification stage and have lost their past three. A team once known for their offensive prowess, has struggled to score recently. They have only scored three goals in this competition. Domestically they haven’t been their usual selves. One thing to note is their 3-2 domestic home record. Generally beating Young Boys at home was impossible. Not as much this year.

Atalanta have seen a solid start to their season domestically. While they are fourth on the Serie A table, they have a strong +0.45 xGD/90. They have been playing solid football, unbeaten in their last six matches. Young Boys will need to strike early and often to remain level with Atalanta. It’s tough to pass up this spot here. I am backing Atalanta moneyline (-135).

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner, and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.


Brad Thomas

Brad is a sports handicapper who is lucky enough to write about his true love; sports. "We may all root for different teams, but our objective remains the same… Beat the books! Remember, it’s a marathon not a sprint." Follow Brad on Twitter @MrBradThomas.