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UEFA-Champions League- Round 1 – Season opening

The Banker: Monaco vs. Atletico Madrid (3:00 p.m. ET)

Atletico Madrid have the tantalising prospect of a Champions League final at their own home ground, the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, if they negotiate their way through the group stage and knockout rounds.

Their group looks easy enough without being too kind, and they can make it a perfect start by winning away to Monaco.

They have had a poor start to their La Liga campaign, however, taking just five points from their first four games. They were held by Eibar most recently. But they showed their capabilities with a fully deserved 4-2 win over Real Madrid in the UEFA Supercup – the match between the Europa League and Champions League winners. This remains a side that can produce tactically perfect performances when it matters most.

Monaco have picked up just one win in Ligue 1 so far. Their great team of the 2016/17 season has now been almost entirely picked apart by bigger clubs. And although a new generation promises much, Atletico are value here.

Tip: Atletico Madrid at 3/4
Prediction: Monaco 0-2 Atletico Madrid

The Solid Bet: Inter Milan vs. Tottenham Hotspur (12:55 p.m. ET)

Tottenham’s good start to the season has come grinding to a halt after successive defeats to Watford and Tottenham. They looked jaded in the defeat at Watford before being simply outclassed by Jürgen Klopp’s Reds, and with the stadium situation still unresolved, there is noticeably less optimism surrounding Tottenham than there was two weeks ago.

Toby Alderweireld and Kieran Trippier have not travelled to their game away to Inter Milan, and Harry Kane already looks in need of a fortnight on the beach. Nonetheless, bookies rate them significantly higher than their opponents. They are narrow outsiders at 9/5 to win at the San Siro with Inter 7/4.

Inter too are in need of a confidence boost, having taken just four points from their opening four Serie A matches. Key injuries have disrupted their fluency, although the threat carried by Mauro Icardi up front remains.

Tottenham may struggle to reach last year’s standards in the Champions League, where they topped a group that included Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid.

But their opponents here are no great shakes, and a draw would suit both sides.

Tip: Draw at 9/4
Prediction: Inter Milan 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur

The Outsider: Liverpool vs. Paris Saint-Germain (3:00 p.m. ET)

Liverpool have looked imperious in the league so far, picking up five wins out of five. They demolised Spurs on Saturday despite only winning 2-1, and their price of 23/20 to beat PSG is a reflection of the confidence bookies and punters have in them this season.

But PSG probably have the best front three in Europe. Liverpool’s attack will likely be weakened on Tuesday thanks to a bizarre eye injury to Roberto Firmino. Sadio Mané has made a fantastic start to the season, but Mo Salah looks a level below last year, particularly with his confidence in front of goal. Neymar and Kylian Mbappé were rested for the 4-0 win against St Étienne at the weekend. In short, this game comes at a slightly better time for PSG than for Liverpool.

A glut of goals is predicted here, with over 2.5 priced at 4/9. Neither Thomas Tüchel nor Jürgen Klopp is the type of manager to radically adapt his approach, and so even a price that short looks right.

But PSG seem underrated here. Their European pedigree is growing every season, and their attack my just have the edge on Liverpool’s.

Tip: PSG at 12/5
Prediction: Liverpool 1-2 PSG

The First Goalscorer: Barcelona vs. PSV Eindhoven (12:55 p.m. ET)

It is a sign of how European football has become a tale of haves and have-nots that a big club like PSV Eindhoven can be 25/1 to win a Champions League game, but they are travelling to the Nou Camp and bookmakers have almost total faith in Ernesto Valverde’s men to get the job done.

Barcelona won their last home match 8-2 against Huesca. After the second leg of the Spanish Supercup way back in August, they did not lose a single home game last season, so the 1/9 quotes on the home side look justified.

But the best bet may be to get on Philippe Coutinho to bag the game’s first goal. The Brazilian playmaker was rested for Barcelona’s comeback victory against Real Sociedad at the weekend, and against a PSV side that will defend deep, it could take a Coutinho long shot to break the deadlock. Coutinho has averaged a goal about every 170 minutes so far in his Barcelona career and is value to break the deadlock at 5/1.

Tip: Philippe Countino to score first at 5/1
Prediction: Barcelona 4-1 PSV Eindhoven

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