Porto vs. Chelsea Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (+123 / -152)|
|Day | Time||Wednesday | 3 p.m. ET|
|Odds updated Tuesday afternoon via DraftKings.|
No team received a more favorable result through the Champions League draw than Chelsea, which faces Porto — the weakest team left in the competition — on Wednesday in the quarterfinal round of the tournament.
The Blues will also avoid Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Manchester City until at least the final should they get there. Chelsea enters this road match at Estadio do Dragao following a shocking 5-2 loss to relegation-bound West Bromwich Albion in Premier League action.
By FiveThirtyEight’s Soccer Power Index ranking, Porto is the worst team left in the competition. A look at expected goals from its upset victory against Juventus suggests it was lucky to advance against Juventus in the last round, benefitting from two shocking defensive errors from the Italian side.
Porto took its chances and went through in stoppage time via a free-kick winner, but the Portuguese side isn’t particularly good based on its underlying numbers.
The Dragons lost the xG battle by a 3.8-2.7 margin over two legs, plus they benefited from the Black and Whites’ poor finishing in the second leg. When Porto faced Manchester City in the group stage, it managed 33% possession in each game and eight total shots. They scored one goal early against the Cityzens, but recorded a lousy 0.5 xG in 180 minutes against them.
Porto be willing to cede possession to Chelsea, with the idea of forcing it to move the ball through the wings and deliver crosses. Both center backs — Pepe and Chancel Mbemba — were excellent at dealing with crosses against Juventus, but Chelsea is a much better counter-pressing team than the Italian side is at present.
Juventus also made a baffling tactical decision in the first leg to not start Alvaro Morata, which blunted its attack for the opening 90 minutes of the tie. Porto is not going to be as lucky against standout Olivier Giroud and Chelsea.
I’m willing to throw out most takeaways of Chelsea’s loss to West Brom, because the red card to Thiago Silva completely changed the game. One weird data point in a stretch of an otherwise historic defensive performance by the Blues should be almost ignored.
Entering that match, Chelsea hadn’t allowed more than a goal in 12 contests overall under new manager Thomas Tuchel. The Blues hadn’t allowed more than 0.7 xGA in any of those games either.
West Brom had a great finishing day and broke through Chelsea’s defense with relative ease on some occasions, but Tuchel’s delicate and intricate system couldn’t cope being down a man for almost an hour.
For Chelsea, a matchup with Porto is a welcome sight, because the Portuguese side is likely to set up very similarly to Atlético Madrid in the last round. The only difference is Porto is just worse.
The Dragins are worse at defending, plus they lack the attacking talent to truly threaten this elite Chelsea counter-press and defense. Tuchel will likely start Giroud up top and try to cross through Porto. It’s how the Blues broke down Atlético Madrid in the last round, and how they’ll look to get past Porto as well.
Giroud ran really hot in the UCL, leading the Blues with six goals in tournament play. The seemingly ageless French forward could be the key to unlocking Porto in this crucial first leg.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I hopped on Chelsea at the open, because it’s a nightmare matchup for Porto.
The Dragons’ four goals against Juventus came from two calamitous defensive errors — a penalty and a long-range free kick that went under the wall — by the Serie A powerhouse. They couldn’t generate consistent chances against the Black and Whites, which leads me to believe they will create next to nothing against Chelsea despite the match being on their home soil.
To make matters worse, Mehdi Taremi — Porto’s best attacker — is unavailable following his red card in the second leg against Juventus. Chelsea should be able to find one, maybe two goals and win this tie in comfortable fashion.
I project Chelsea at -155 odds to win the opening leg, and expect them to do so to get the upper hand. I’d play the Blues until -140 odds in this spot.
Pick: Chelsea ML (-140 or better)
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