When the Champions League exits the group stage and heads into the knockout rounds, there are several teams that you expect to see there every single time. Real Madrid, the current holders of the trophy, are one of those teams. After all, this is a team that won this tournament in its first 5 years of existence, back when it was still known as the European Cup, and who have won the current version twice in the last 3 seasons. Real Madrid have once again powered their way into the Round of 16, and while you would expect them to continue rolling, they have been handed a very tricky draw in this round. Napoli are flying high in Serie A in Italy, and while they look unlikely to catch Juventus at the top, their third-place spot is better than a lot of people expected from this group. The toughest part for the Italian side is that they need to go on the road for the first leg. This match-up can be won or lost in the first game, so expect Napoli to try and bar the door shut. Find the updated soccer betting odds here.
A Closer Look At Napoli vs. Real Madrid Odds, Prediction & TV Info
When: Wednesday, February 15 2:45 PM EST Where: Santiago Bernabeau Stadium, Madrid TV: FS1 Live Stream:FOX Sports GO UEFA Odds: TBA
Why bet on Napoli
While Napoli are likely to play a more defensive style in Madrid, this is a team that is a legitimate goal scoring threat. They are the top scoring team in Serie A this season, but there are times when they need those goals, as their defense has proven to be a little rocky at times. One thing that does fall in the favor of Napoli for this one is their recent form away from home. They have 4 wins and a draw in their last 5 road games, and they have scored 19 goals during that stretch. Their last away game in the Champions League came in the group stage against Benfica, which they managed to win 2-1. Don’t look for them to be as attack-minded in this one.
Why bet on Real Madrid
Real Madrid have been an absolute powerhouse this season, and they have opened up a solid lead atop La Liga. They are only a point up on Barcelona, but still have a pair of games in hand. Given that they are just coming off an incredible 40 game unbeaten streak, the chances of them blowing their lead at the top seem quite slim. That streak was broken in a home loss to Celta Vigo in mid-January, but this is still a team that is close to unbeatable at home. Madrid have scored 54 goals in 20 La Liga games this season, and even though Gareth Bale is doubtful for this one, they have more than enough power up front to get over that potential loss.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
Madrid are going to come out and try to open up a big lead in the first le, and an early goal may change the whole set-up of this game. I think that might happen, and it may even force Napoli to go in search of an away goal.