Champions League Betting – Barcelona at AS Roma
Zack GarrisonNo comments
Tomorrow, Barcelona will start their quest to become the first team since AC Milan (1989-90) to win back-to-back European Championships – and the first squad to do it since the inception of the “Champions League” moniker. Barca will get a stiff test right off the bat, though, traveling to Italy to face 2014 Serie A runners-up AS Roma at the Stadio Olimpico (2:45 PM Eastern).
Barcelona have won ten of their last 12 Champions League matches, including a dominant performance in last year’s final against Juventus (3-1). The two losses during that span both came on the road, as the team’s defense conceded three times against PSG (3-2) and Bayern Munich (3-2).
After winning the Spanish treble last year, manager Luis Enrique isn’t worried about a championship hangover. Indeed, it’s just the opposite, as he sees the chance to repeat as something new to strive for. “It is a marvelous motivation, for the team, and for all cules [fans],” Enrique said in a press conference. “Nobody has done [repeated as winners of the Champions League], and we are going to try. In La Liga we were favorites for being the title holders; in the Champions League, the same, but we must show it on the pitch.”
The Blaugranes have won their first three games in La Liga this season, but they haven’t had the same powerful offense just yet, scoring four goals total while surrendering one.
AS Roma, on the other hand, are currently tied for second in the Serie A with seven points through three games (2-1-0). They beat last year’s champs, Juventus, 2-1, handled Frosinone 2-0, and drew 1-1 with Versona.
Their number one task come Wednesday will be to devise a way to contain Lionel Messi. The Little Wizard was in top form on the weekend, coming off the bench and bringing his team back from one goal down against Atletico Madrid. He also scored once when Barcelona and Roma hooked up for a friendly back in August (which saw Barca cruise to an easy 3-0 win).
Prior to the August friendly, the sides hadn’t squared off since 2001 (a match Roma took 3-0).
Though Barcelona are still finding their form offensively, they still look like the best team in Europe. Don’t expect a Roma side with offensive issues of its own to keep up with Messi and company, even at home.
Pick: Barcelona (-153).