Napoli vs Barcelona Champions League Betting Tips & Predictions
The Stadio San Paolo could be in for a treat on Tuesday night when Napoli host Barcelona in the first leg of this Last 16 encounter. The match kicks off at 20:00 local time on February 25 and early Napoli vs Barcelona odds have the Spanish side as favourites.
There are however good arguments to want to side with the Italians, instead. Here’s why Gennaro Gattuso’s troops could well draw first blood on home soil.
Best betting sites for Napoli vs Barcelona
Napoli vs Barcelona top tips and best odds
Time to look ahead to the betting odds for this game and also provide some good betting tips, remembering that we only advise prices from our select group of preferred betting sites. Here’s what we’re going for.
|Back Napoli to win||3.15||LeoVegas|
|Back Over 4.5 cards||1.8||Betway|
Napoli are a fine price at 3.15 to win the game. Since Gattuso took over they’ve beaten tough sides like Juventus (Serie A) and Lazio (Italian Cup) at home, proof that they can raise their game when it really matters. As they did under predecessor Carlo Ancelotti when beating Liverpool in the Group Stages.
Against an injury-ravaged side (see below) who have often fallen apart in the knockout rounds of this competition over the years, it would be no surprise if Napoli at least win the first leg.
Ref Felix Brych averages almost four yellows a game and has shown 10 reds in just 26 matches this season. In such an important game, tempers could flare and we should really get over 4.5 cards here.
- Napoli have won six of their last seven games.
- The Italians conceded just one goal at home in three Champions League Group Stage matches, including keeping a clean sheet against Liverpool.
- Leo Messi may have scored four at the weekend but before that he went four games without scoring at all.
- Barca have won just six of their last 16 away matches in Europe.
- Messi’s side secured their 150th Champions League win on MatchDay 6 of the Group Stages, beating Inter Milan. Only Real Madrid got there first.
Barcelona’s European form W-W-D-W-W
The Blaugrana are top of La Liga but only because their usual rivals like Real and Atletico Madrid have been even more inconsistent than them. It’s certainly not normal for Barca to have incurred four La Liga losses by this stage of the season.
They’ve been better in Europe though and were good in the first round, beating a strong-looking Inter Milan side both home and away.
A big contributing factor to their problems has been injuries. To lose Luis Suarez was bad enough but a long-term injury to Ousmane Dembele followed and just like that, they lost two of their most important forwards till the end of the season. Another issue was, of course, the change in manager which has meant a slight tweak to their formation and some inevitable teething problems.
You can’t mention Barca without mentioning Lionel Messi and the Blaugrana will be hoping he doesn’t perform his usual trick of going missing in big away European games. At least he had his shooting boots on at the weekend.
Both full-backs, Jordi Alba and Roberto, are also out injured. That means Busquets will need to be at his best in terms of defensive duties in the heart of midfield.
Napoli’s European league form W-D-D-W-D-W
Bizarrely, over the last few months, Napoli have had a habit of losing easy-looking matches and winning the tougher ones. As an example, since mid-January, they beat Lazio and Inter (away) in the Cup and Juve at home in Serie A but then went and lost at home to Lecce.
Then again, this comes under the category of a huge game so maybe it suits them best to go into games as underdogs.
Gattuso will be sweating on the fitness of two extremely important players. Defender Kalidou Koulibaly is unlikely to overcome a thigh problem but Arkadiusz Milik may recover in time and could be risked even if he’s not 100% fit, whether from the start or off the bench.
Kostas Manolas will have the unenviable task of trying to stop Messi, a job made even harder if Koulibaly doesn’t feature. The former Roma man Manolas has played in some big Champions League games in the past and will have to be fully focused for this one.
Diminutive Belgian forward Dries Mertens can try to use his pace to get behind Barca’s back four and his energy and runs off the ball will be vital to Napoli’s chances of grabbing a goal.
Where to Bet on Napoli vs Barcelona
With Barca’s ongoing injuries, this could be a good time to be playing them. And though things might turn out very differently in Spain, Napoli could well have a lead to take into the second leg, so bet accordingly.
Neither the players from Napoli or Barca are shrinking violets and with so much at stake and Felix Berdych with the whistle, we should get at least five cards shown in the night.
Make sure you get in on the action with some Champions League betting at one of these great online bookies.