Liverpool vs. Milan Odds
|AC Milan Odds||+600|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-160 / +130)|
|Day | Time||Wednesday | 3 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||Paramount+ | fuboTV|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.|
For the first time since 2013-14, AC Milan is back in the Champions League. And their welcome back present is a road trip against one of the best teams in the world, Liverpool, on Wednesday.
The Reds bowed out of the Champions League in the quarterfinals last season to Real Madrid, but that wasn’t Liverpool at its best. Virgil van Dijk is back at the center of defense, and they have steamrolled three of their first four Premier League opponents. Jurgen Klopp’s side appears ready to make yet another deep run in the CL after lifting the trophy in 2019, and it’s fifth on the oddsboard to lift the trophy at +900.
As solid favorites to win this group (-110), the Reds are heavily favored to win on Wednesday. But my projections and an improved Milan suggest that Liverpool is a tad overvalued at home on Wednesday, and that the Rossoneri is worth backing on the spread.
Reds Thriving With Defensive Star Back
The return of van Dijk to the center of Liverpool’s defense has actually helped the Reds offense more than the defense.
Most of Liverpool’s 2020-21 regression came in expected goals (xG) per game and actual finishing of those chances. Klopp had to make some adjustments without van Dijk that included less freedom for Trent Alexander-Arnold to get forward to protect the not-as-good center backs.
van Dijk is also a critical on ball player for the Reds in attack as he’s a primary ball progressor through the middle of the pitch. Liverpool’s attack is much better with him running the show and leaving more comfort for the midfield to press the opposition when the ball is lost.
The Reds have only played 45 minutes of 11-on-11 with a team anywhere close to them in quality though, a half they trailed 1-0 at home against Chelsea until a penalty and a red card just before halftime swung the game. Dominant wins against Norwich City, Burnley and Leeds United are causing the Reds to get lots of love again in the market, and I’m still waiting to see them beat even a mid-table Premier League team or a solid Champions League opponent.
Rossoneri Enter Anfield in Good Form
Milan was on my fade list for most of last season after they sat atop the Serie A table at Christmas due to penalty and finishing luck. The regression came hard as Milan needed a win on the final day against Atalanta to secure their spot in the top four.
Striker Olivier Giroud has plenty of experience playing against Premier League teams after his time with Chelsea and Arsenal. With him, Milan are first in xG difference in Serie A and perfect atop the table, which is very different from the performances that led to their hot start last season.
Milan hasn’t played a tough schedule at all, but they have the second-best attack in xG and shots and the top defense with just 1.7 xGA in three matches.
They have the youngest squad in the entire competition, which gives them the legs to defend Liverpool’s counter-press and sustained periods of pressure for 90 minutes.
Milan are trending up and while Anfield will be a stiff test, manager Stefano Pioli’s men have the talent to stick with Liverpool.
Betting Analysis & Pick
This line has taken on a good amount of Liverpool money following their 3-0 trouncing of Leeds on Sunday. As good as the Reds were in that game, they played up a man for most of the second half and Leeds are a lot worse than most people think this season.
Beware the line overreaction to a couple games. As we saw with Manchester United, who took a lot of money after a 4-1 beatdown of Newcastle, only to lose to Young Boys on Tuesday.
This line shifted enough in the last few days for me to get behind Milan +1.5, which I project to be -170. Anything -150 or better and I’ll take the underdog plus a goal and a half to keep the game close at Anfield.
Pick: AC Milan +1.5 (-150 or better)
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