By Robert Ferringo
A lot of eyes will be on Brooklyn this week when the Atlantic 10 Tournament tips off. One of the deepest, strongest mid-major leagues in the country, the A-10 is just ripe for some bid-stealing school to come swooping in and shorten the guest list for the NCAA Tournament by one.
The Atlantic 10 Tournament starts Thursday, March 14 and will crown a champion on Sunday. Here is Doc’s Sports Atlantic 10 Conference Preview:
The Favorite: St. Louis (+175)
The Bilikens have won 12 of 13 games and they are one of the hottest teams in the country. This is a veteran team, galvanized by the death of former coach Rick Majerus, and this is a team on a mission. St. Louis started the year 3-3 overall, but has gone 21-3 since then – with two of the losses coming in overtime. St. Louis has an upperclassman-dominated roster and they all know the system like the back of their hand. But depth cold be a problem, as this team really only goes about seven-deep. Keep an eye on seniors Kwamain Mitchell and Cody Ellis. Both have had star-crossed careers and would love to go out champions.
The Contender: VCU (+185)
A lot of the big computer rankings systems actually have VCU rated ahead of St. Louis, even though the Rams lost by 14 in their last meeting. The Rams are deep and athletic and they have closed the year winning eight of their last 10 games. This team wants to press, trap, and rely on their wing players to dictate the tempo. This is VCU’s first trip through the A-10 tournament. And unlike the CAA, their former conference, there are no gimme games in this weekend. They will face a capable, veteran team in the quarters against either Xavier or St. Joseph’s. And I don’t know if this team shoots well enough to win three games in three nights.
The Sleeper: Butler (+500)
The Bulldogs have found the sledding a lot tougher in the A-10 as opposed to the Horizon League. But Butler is no stranger to success in March. And at one point this season they were 16-2, coming off a win over Gonzaga, and in the Top 10 in the country. Rotnei Clarke is one of the best shooters in the nation and is capable of getting hot and carrying this team for a weekend. But if he is shut down the Bulldogs don’t have a second perimeter option. They will have a dangerous matchup with LaSalle in the quarters and Butler’s superior interior play could make the difference. After that would be a rematch with St. Louis.
The Spoiler: Massachusetts (+1000)
This is one of the teams that no one wants to play. Massachusetts has as much natural ability as any team in the conference. They also have one of the league’s best players in Chazz Williams, and the program has had a load of success in this tournament. But the Minutemen are shaky, flaky and completely unpredictable. They could lose to GW in the first round. But if they win that game they will lock horns with rival Temple. And if Massachusetts gets rolling at all this weekend they could be tough to stop.
Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Predictions: I am actually going to call for a bit of an upset in that I don’t think that any of the top three seeds – St. Louis, VCU or Temple – will win the league title. This tournament has had a lot of upsets over the last several years and last season’s surprise winner was St. Bonaventure. I think that we will see some of the top teams go down in the quarters and this is a league that could steal an at-large bid from one of the major conferences.
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Monday night ESPN announced the schedule and matchups for its annual BracketBuster weekend. This will be the 10th and final year of what, in my opinion, is one of the most enjoyable and entertaining weekends on the college basketball calendar.
ESPN picked 13 games to feature this season, beginning with the usual Friday night doubleheader. North Dakota State and Akron will kick off the event and Stephen F. Austin will travel to Long Beach State for the nightcap.
Each year I also try to project the odds and spreads for each of the BracketBuster games. I will release my initial numbers for all of the games (the non-TV games will take up another post). But there is still two weeks to go before the games open on Friday, Feb. 22 and then the brunt of the BracketBuster schedule gets underway on Saturday, Feb. 23. So a lot is going to change between now and then and the numbers will adjust to reflect that.
Below is a list of the BracketBusters games that will be shown on ESPN. Later on today I’ll post the full schedule of non-TV games. I will have further analysis the week of the event.
Here is a list of the marquee BracketBuster games along with my projected spreads:
Friday, Feb. 22
North Dakota State at Akron (-4.5), ESPN2, 7 ET
Stephen F. Austin at Long Beach State (+2.5), ESPNU, 9 ET
Saturday, Feb. 23
Iona at Indiana State (-7.5), ESPNU, 11 a.m. ET
Eastern Kentucky at Valparaiso (-9), ESPNU, 1 ET
Canisius at Vermont (-3), ESPN3, 1 ET
Pacific at Western Michigan (-4), ESPN3, 2 ET
Montana at Davidson (-7), ESPNU, 3 ET
Northwestern State at Niagara (-5.5) , ESPN3, 3 ET
Detroit at Wichita State (-9), ESPN/2, 4 ET
Creighton at Saint Mary’s (Pk), ESPN/2, 6 ET
South Dakota State at Murray State (-2), ESPN2, 8 ET
Denver at Northern Iowa (-2), ESPN3, 8 ET
Ohio at Belmont (-7.5), ESPN2, 10 ET
By Robert Ferringo
Congratulations to the Baltimore Ravens, their fans, and their backers for winning the 2013 Super Bowl.
Now shut the hell up and get out of my way. It’s now Day 1 of the 2013-2014 NFL season and you need to stop living in the past. This is going to be my team’s year and it is going to be my turn to celebrate a championship, damn it!
That is the general feeling of the 31 other football fan bases this morning. While bobbleheads will spend weeks dissecting Joe Flacco’s place in the NFL quarterback hierarchy (is their a more vapid discussion?), whether or not San Fran got screwed by the refs (Jerome Boger dude, Jerome Boger - see: No. 32), or what impact Beyonce’s ass had on the power outage, I am already turning the page and looking at which angles I can profit from next season.
Sportsbook.ag already has released odds to win the 2014 Super Bowl for all 32 teams. Of course, these odds are going to fluctuate. But they at least give us a base line to work against when gauging public opinion. We still have free agency, the draft, offseason injuries, maybe a random trade, and then training camp to consider before the NFL Week 1 odds are out for the 2013 regular season. And how the futures odds move will give us insight into how the general betting public views the trajectory of these teams heading into next year:
Here are the full odds for the Super Bowl contenders for the 2014 Super Bowl:
Arizona Cardinals +10000
Atlanta Falcons +1600
Baltimore Ravens +1400
Buffalo Bills +10000
Carolina Panthers +5000
Chicago Bears +3000
Cincinnati Bengals +3000
Cleveland Browns +6000
Dallas Cowboys +3000
Denver Broncos +800
Detroit Lions +4000
Green Bay Packers +1000
Houston Texans +1000
Indianapolis Colts +4000
Jacksonville Jaguars +15000
Kansas City Chiefs +5000
Miami Dolphins +5000
Minnesota Vikings +4000
New England Patriots +600
New Orleans Saints +1600
New York Giants +2000
New York Jets +5000
Oakland Raiders +15000
Philadelphia Eagles +5000
Pittsburgh Steelers +1400
San Diego Chargers +4000
San Francisco 49ers +700
Seattle Seahawks +1200
St Louis Rams +5000
Tampa Bay Buccanneers +6000
Tennessee Titans +10000
Washington Redskins +3000
The favorites were a perfect 4-0 against the spread in the opening weekend of the NFL playoffs. For the general betting public is was just another windfall, and for the sportsbooks it was another kick square in the groin during one of the worst seasons for the books in recent memories.
I came across a post on Deadspin that commented on an original report from the Los Angeles Times in which Jay Rood of the MGM Resorts properties and Jay Kornegay of the Las Vegas Hotel & Casino share their tails of woe from this NFL season.
Here were my two favorite quotes:
“It’s like you’re a passenger trapped on a train to hell,” said Jay Rood, whose 12 MGM Resorts’ sports books at properties including Mandalay Bay, Mirage and Bellagio took a seven-figure hit that day.
Kornegay dismissed the notion bookmakers can recover enough money in the NFL playoffs to make up for their losses. “We’ll just turn the page on the calendar and continue to evaluate ourselves, seeing if we need to make subtle changes,” he said.
At the end of the story Kornegay lamented that the books will, “need the underdog to win in every game. Again.” Not so much.
While I can empathize with the plight of Kornegay, a long-time friend of Doc’s Sports, I have to say that I have absolutely no sympathy for the books themselves. None. Just as they have no sympathy or compassion in the years when they were busting out players left and right.
For the 2012 season the NFL favorites have gone just 124-131-5, good for just a 48.63 percent hit rate. Home favorites have been even worse, going 77-87-3 for just a 46.95 percent win rate. So on the surface it appears that it should’ve been a strong year for the books since most of the betting public is chalk players.
However, the favorites and the big public underdog seemed to constantly and consistently come through for the entire year. Also, top teams like New England, Houston, Denver, San Francisco and Green Bay seemed to lay the wood to the bottom-feeders whenever they faced them. Mix in some trendy public teams like Indianapolis with Andrew Luck (11-5 ATS) and Washington with Robert Griffin (11-5 ATS), and sprinkle in the total ineptitude of bottom-feeder teams like Oakland, Kansas City, Philadelphia and Tennessee (combined ATS record: 19-44-1) and it was pretty simple for bettors to load up on the top tier and, when desperate, simply bet against the losers.
I’m sure the books will chalk this up to just being a simple anomaly. Or it was just an “off” year. But I actually disagree. I remember talking with a Las Vegas sportsbook manager earlier in the season and simply asking him, “Where are all the 7’s and 8’s?”
This entire year it felt like the books were simply tossing out versions of the 3.0. Everywhere I looked it seemed like we were parsing through lines at 2.5 or 3.5 or 3.0, these seemingly coin-flip games (according to the books’ numbers). Truly, it was like they weren’t putting any effort in at all.
Case in point: during the meat of the NFL season, October and November from Week 5 to Week 12, there were 112 lined NFL games. Only 24 of those games had lines of 7.0 or higher and only 14 of the 112 games were lined at higher than that.
I can’t really say that I expect a “regression” next year because, as I mentioned, it’s not as if NFL favorites performed at some bizarre level this year. All I know is that it is not likely that the books have two losing years in a row, so somebody’s gonna pay.
The odds for the NFL Wild Card Round were released this week, and the first thing that had to jump out at bettors was the fact that Washington was instilled as such a decisive home underdog this week, set at +3.0 at home against Seattle.
By all accounts, the wise guys have been pounding the Redskins and taking the points. And the reasons are pretty basic: home underdogs in the NFL playoffs have been outstanding over the last 30-plus years.
I found a page on Bleacher Report from a few years ago and was able to update it with the record of every home underdog in the NFL postseason dating back to 1980. The results are an outstanding 23-13 straight up record and a 24-11-1 mark against the spread.
Now, this simple system hasn’t been as successful in recent years, with the home dogs going just 9-9 straight up and 10-8 ATS going back to 2004.
Here is the complete, updated (hijacked) list of home dogs since 1980 (w=wildcard round, d=division round, c=conf. championship):
Year Round Home Line Away Home Away
2012 d SAN FRAN +3.5 New Orleans 20 13
2012 w DENVER +7.5 Pittsburgh 29 23
2011 c CHICAGO +3.5 Green Bay 14 21
2011 w SEATTLE +9.5 New Orleans 41 36
2011 w KANSAS CITY +3 Baltimore 7 30
2010 w ARIZONA +2.5 Green Bay 51 45
2009 w MIAMI +3.5 Baltimore 9 27
2009 w SAN DIEGO +1.5 Indianapolis 23 17
2009 w MINNESOTA +3 Philadelphia 14 26
2009 c ARIZONA +3.5 Philadelphia 32 25
2008 w ARIZONA +1 Atlanta 30 24
2008 c ARIZONA +2.5 Philadelphia 32 25
2008 w MIAMI +3.5 Baltimore 9 27
2008 w SAN DIEGO +1.5 Indianapolis 23 17
2008 w MINNESOTA +3 Philadelphia 14 26
2007 w PITTSBURGH +3 Jacksonville 29 31
2005 w CINCINNATI +3 Pittsburgh 17 31
2004 c PITTSBURGH +3 New England 27 41
2000 c NY GIANTS +2.5 Minnesota 41 0
2000 w MIAMI +2 Indianapolis 23 17
2000 w NEW ORLEANS +6.5 St. Louis 31 28
2000 w PHILADELPHIA +3 Tampa Bay 21 3
1997 c PITTSBURGH +3 Denver 21 24
1997 c SAN FRAN +2.5 Green Bay 10 23
1996 d CAROLINA +3 Dallas 26 17
1995 w PHILADELPHIA +3 Detroit 58 37
1992 c MIAMI +2.5 Buffalo 10 29
1992 d MIAMI +1 San Diego 31 0
1991 d DETROIT +1 Dallas 38 6
1988 c CHICAGO +1 San Francisco 3 28
1985 w NY GIANTS +3 San Francisco 17 3
1984 w SEATTLE +1.5 Los Angeles Raiders 13 7
1982 c WASHINGTON +2 Dallas 31 17
1982 d MIAMI +2 San Diego 34 13
1981 c SAN FRAN +2.5 Dallas 28 27
1980 c PHILADELPHIA +1 Dallas 20
By Robert Ferringo
Ah, nothing warms the heart in the dead of winter like the hatred that one has for a bitter rival.
No. 23 Kentucky heads to Louisville to take on the No. 3 Cardinals at 4 p.m. on Saturday. This annual feud is one of the top rivalry games in college basketball and will be must-see TV for any college hoophead.
This game always takes on added significance in the Bluegrass State. That is the nature of rivalry games. But this is also a massive revenge situation for the Cardinals. The last time these two met was in April at the Final Four in New Orleans. Kentucky easily dispatched of Louisville en route to the national title.
Here is a look at this Saturday’s marquee matchup:
Kentucky Wildcats at Louisville Cardinals Betting Story Lines
There really isn’t a lot to like about Kentucky this year beyond its incredible athleticism. Witjer can play. He is a large swing player that does his best work from beyond the arc. He averages 12 points per game and, along with surging Archie Goodwin, are the closest things that the Wildcats have to a go-to player.
Beyond that, Kentucky’s main attribute is its size. Nerlens Noel and Alex Poythress are two highly touted freshmen forwards. You can see the underlying potential with this pair – the word man-child would be apt for either – but neither is very polished. That is my polite way of saying they are both completely out of control on both ends of the floor.
Kentucky last its top six players from last year and was rebuilding from scratch. Lack of experience and familiarity was the main reason why this Wildcat team has gotten off to such a poor start, falling out of the Top 25 thanks to losses to Duke, Notre Dame and Baylor (at home) along with a string of other unimpressive performances.
Louisville was a team that I felt was overvalued heading into the season. They were a Top 5 team that many were predicting to make a return trip to the Final Four. However, this team is essentially the same one that was mediocre for most of 2011 and then simply got hot at the right time, in March. I was definitely looking to play against this overvalued group.
But then something happened that at the time seemed like a curse but may have actually been a blessing: their most important player, center Giorgui Dieng, broke his wrist and was ruled out for six weeks. That was a major blow and left a gaping hole in the middle of Louisville’s stingy defense.
That break turned out to be the best thing that could’ve happened to Louisville. Rick Pitino was forced to revert his team back to the pressing, trapping, up-tempo style that he made famous at, of all places, Kentucky. Louisville went small, relying on guards Russ Smith and Peyton Siva to set the pace at both ends of the floor.
The results have been a string of blowouts and I feel like the new/old up-tempo style has really kickstarted Louisville’s season.
Louisville is supposed to have Dieng back at full strength for this contest. They will need him to bang the boards and counter Kentucky’s size advantage. However, this game is going to be almost solely decided at how Kentucky’s young players handle the Louisville pressure – as well as the pressure of their fans – and whether or not they can take care of the ball and execute offensively.
Kentucky Wildcats at Louisville Cardinals Betting Odds and Key Trends
The spread on this game opened at Louisville -7.0 but was quickly bet up to -8.5. I expect this spread close around 7.0 or 8.0. The total has been set at 134.5.
Here are some key trends:
Wildcats are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 road games.
Wildcats are 6-13 ATS in their last 19 Saturday games.
Wildcats are 7-17-1 ATS in their last 25 non-conference games.
Wildcats are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games following three or more home games.
Wildcats are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning S.U. record.
Wildcats are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 vs. Big East.
Cardinals are 16-5 ATS in their last 21 games overall.
Cardinals are 19-7 ATS in their last 26 games vs. a team with a winning S.U. record.
Cardinals are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 home games.
Kentucky Wildcats at Louisville Cardinals Betting Prediction
There is almost nothing that I like about Kentucky this year. They are overrated and inexperienced. However, I think that this is too many points. I won’t have a play on this game because the team I want to bet is Louisville but the number is heavier than I would’ve liked. You always want to look at the underdog in a rivalry matchup, so if you put a gun to my head and made me take a side in this game it would be – ‘over’. Take the ‘over’ and look for both teams to get out and run in this one.
The late season Thursday night game in Blacksburg has become one of college football’s subtle traditions.
Virginia Tech travels to Miami to take on the Hurricanes tonight in their first Thursday night clash of the season. However, this game is simply the prelude to next week’s huge Thursday night showdown against Florida State. That game will be played in Blacksburg and pits the two most talented teams in the ACC against one another.
Here is a look back at how Virginia Tech has fared on Thursday nights over the last 20 years:
Sept. 22, 1994: Virginia Tech 34*, West Virginia 6
Sept. 7, 1995: Boston College 20*, Virginia Tech 13
Oct. 8, 1998: Virginia Tech 17*, @Boston College 0
Sept. 23, 1999: Virginia Tech 31*, Clemson 11
Sept. 7, 2000: Virginia Tech 45*, @East Carolina 28
Oct. 12, 2000: Virginia Tech 48*, West Virginia 20
Sept. 12, 2002: Virginia Tech 47*, Marshall 21
Oct. 10, 2002: Virginia Tech 28, @Boston College 23*
Sept. 18, 2003: Virginia Tech 35*, Texas A&M 19
Oct. 28, 2004: Virginia Tech 34*, @Georgia Tech 20
Nov. 18, 2004: Virginia Tech 55*, Maryland 6
Oct. 20, 2005: Virginia Tech 28*, @Maryland 9
Oct. 27, 2005: Virginia Tech 30*, Boston College 10
Oct. 12, 2006: @Boston College 22*, Virginia Tech 3
Oct. 26, 2006: Virginia Tech 24*, Clemson 7
Oct. 25, 2007: Boston College 14*, @Virginia Tech 10
Nov. 1, 2007: Virginia Tech 27*, @Georgia Tech 3
Nov. 6, 2008: Virginia Tech 23*, Maryland 13
Nov. 13, 2008: @Miami 16, Virginia Tech 14*
Oct. 29, 2009: North Carolina 20*, Virginia Tech 17
Nov. 5, 2009: Virginia Tech 16*, @East Carolina 3
Nov. 4, 2010: Virginia Tech 28, Georgia Tech 21*
Nov. 10, 2011: Virginia Tech 37*, @Georgia Tech 26
Nov. 17, 2011: Virginia Tech 24, North Carolina 21*
(* denotes winner against the spread)
That means that the Hokies are 19-5 straight up on Thursday nights going back to 1994 and an incredible 18-4 since 1998. Virginia Tech is 11-3 at home on Thursday nights since 1994 and 10-2 in Blacksburg in this primetime games going back to 1999.
More impressively, Virginia Tech has gone 17-7 against the spread in those Thursday night affairs. And if you kick out the Boston College games (apparently the Golden Eagles have Tech’s number in these situations) Virginia Tech is 15-3 ATS against everyone else.
However, clearly the books have caught up to the trend of blindly betting the Hokies in these spots. Tech has only gone 2-3 ATS on Thursday’s going back to 2009 and that East Carolina cover was a marginal/debatable one because the spread for that game closed at 12-5.
Contributed by Jordan Adams – Strike Point Sports
September’s last weekend offered some great television. West Virginia and Baylor were lights out in their Morgantown shootout. Likewise, Georgia and Tennessee, as well as Miami and North Carolina State, provided some touchdown fireworks of their own while playing in tight, hotly contested affairs.
You can tell that conference play is here.
Nebraska’s primetime, second-half comeback over Wisconsin was impressive, especially with quarterback Taylor Martinez leading the way for the Cornhuskers.
As for further late-game dramatics, Texas and Oklahoma State had everything you could ask for, including some controversy with the Longhorns’ game-winning touchdown.
For the sixth weekend of the season, the game we have our eyes on is:
Michigan at Purdue (4 p.m., Saturday, October 6)
Coming into the season it was clear Michigan would be the team to focus on in West Lafayette when the Wolverines were visiting Purdue.
Well, a month later, it’s Purdue who is going to be the on the marquee at home against the Maize and Blue.
Denard Robinson’s fall from grace has really dragged his Michigan team down with him. Granted, anyone who knows anything about football could tell you that his passing skills were never above average. Everyone knows he can run, but his ability to throw the football down the field has resulted in turnover upon turnover and that has been evident in Michigan’s losses to Alabama and Notre Dame.
Purdue is on the up-and-up. Boiler up!
They are 3-1 as they start Big Ten play, and the sole loss was a three-point setback to a really good Notre Dame team that handled this same Michigan team a couple of weeks ago.
Purdue ranks in the Top 15 in points scored at over 42 per game. And with Michigan’s propensity to allow big plays and points galore, this could wind up being a straight up shootout and contest of who can outscore who.
Robinson will put up his points on the road. Marshall scored 41 this past Saturday at Purdue. But again, Robinson’s ability to take care of the ball will decide this result, as a much-improve Purdue team is too good at home for Michigan to expect to win in spite of more mistakes by its quarterback leader.
Contributed by Jordan Adams of Strike Point Sports
Hard to believe we are already nearing the first month point in the new college football season. Week 3 offered some upsets we have come to expect on Saturdays during the fall.
Oklahoma slipped up at home to Big 12 rivals Kansas State. Oregon’s defense was at its sharpest in their shutout victory over Arizona on the ESPN stage. And Notre Dame comfortably dismissed a reeling Michigan and seems to be making their case as a national story.
For the fifth weekend of the season, the game we have our eyes on is:
No. 12 Texas at Oklahoma State (7:50 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 29)
While I normally try to select a game outside the Top 25 to focus on, this week I thought this Big 12 match-up offered enough intrigue to take a further look. And while Texas is in the rankings at 12th, I don’t think they have really proven themselves worthy of that ranking and I see this game as an opportunity for them against the Cowboys in Stillwater.
Oklahoma State is a football program that knows how to score points. Even without Brandon Weeden or Justin Blackman the Pokes are going to produce points, especially at home. Can Texas match this offensive output or is the Horns’ defense going to play a large role and keep this game from becoming a shootout? If not, that would force Texas to produce points a higher level than they feel comfortable doing so.
Even though it came against weaker competition, OSU is averaging over 62 points per game in its first three outings. They are sitting at 2-1 with a loss to Arizona between easy victories.
Texas comes in at 3-0 after a bye week. The Longhorns’ last outing two weeks ago saw them take care of Mississippi by 35.
This will be the first of a tough stretch for Texas, who will be facing three straight ranked opponents after this road test. They will be in Austin against West Virginia, then in Dallas for their annual Red River Rivalry game against Oklahoma before finally coming home to face Baylor.
Ranked Texas has been established with an opening line of field goal favorites on the road. We’ll see if they continue to ascend.
Contributed by Jordan Adams – Strike Point Sports
Europe’s elite club soccer competition formally got underway this past week and some exceptional matches took place.
This past Tuesday we saw giants Real Madrid and Manchester City clash in the Spanish capital for easily the most entertaining and highly regarded of the individual results.
City, reigning English Premier League titleholders, looked strong away from their home country and establish a 2-1 edge over Madrid. But Real Madrid struck twice in the final five minutes of the clash to steal a victory and three points. Cristiano Ronaldo’s 90-minute winner was a goal that likely should have been saved by keeper Joe Hart. Heartbreak, indeed.
Wednesday’s classic saw current Champions League holders Chelsea host the Italian League winners from last season, Juventus. The stout defense of the Italians was their calling card in 2011 and is again this campaign. Two goals from Brazilian star Oscar in his Blues debut put the West London club on cloud nine. However the resilience of the Turin-based Italy club made sure that lead would not hold up. Juve fought back to earn a well-deserved 2-2 draw and a comfortable away point.
Here are several matches to look forward to the first week of October, a fortnight from when matches kicked off the group stage of this heralded tournament:
Benfica v. Barcelona (Tuesday, Oct. 2)
Barcelona struggled in their Champions League opener against Russian side Spartak Moscow and needed two late goals to avoid the shock home upset. Their upcoming away match will be another tricky test, certainly if the Catalans don’t have the same focus in Lisbon, Portugal when they visit Benfica. Portuguese clubs have been notorious for giving top sides trouble when host the best in Europe during this tournament. This one should be another interesting test to see how focused and stable Barcelona is and an be outside of it’s La Liga schedule.
Manchester City v. Borussia Dortmund (Wednesday, Oct. 3)
If the Sky Blue faithful of Manchester hope their club is to avoid another group stage exit in the Champions League, a home win here is likely a must against the defending German Bundesliga champions. The ‘Group of Death’, which also has Dutch champs Ajax and Spanish titleholders Real Madrid, there is no match that will be easy. And also considering Dortmund won its first match and City lost its opener, another setback would leave them in a hole that might be too difficult even for the club’s heavily invest millions to dig itself out of.