EMMET RYAN LOOKS AT THE FIRST OF THE KNOCKOUT GAMES: The game that has everyone salivating since the draw for the knockout stages of the Champions League was made is finally here. Manchester City are home underdogs tonight against Barcelona but should betting fans be wary of the conventional wisdom.

Malaga reminded everyone that the Blaugrana are not the monster that ruled Europe under Pep Guardiola. Barca remain supremely talented but that Pep team wouldn’t have dropped a La Liga game so limply just days before such a big match. The odds however are so tempting. Barcelona rarely become available at a price as good as 2.1, it’s near impossible for punters to pass that up. Tipster HQ however is in a bold mood and it’s time to ignore the favourites, to forget the history, to not fear the reaper. No, this is the time to do the unthinkable and believe in Manuel Pellegrini.

City had a moment of clarity in the latter part of the group stages. That win over Bayern reignited the reigning EPL champions. Bettors have been slow to get on the bandwagon but the form book says this team is for real. For Johnny Marr, for Oasis, for Jason freaking Orange, it’s time to believe. Bet on Man City at 3.85 to win against Barcelona tonight.

The other game on Tuesday sees everybody’s favourite other team in Europe (outside of Arsenal fans) Borussia Dortmund travel to Turin to clash with Juventus. Serie A is not what it was. The news from Parma this week was a blow to the childhood of so many Betdaq punters. I feel the pain for all of you. Juventus however are a legitimate force in Europe and they are taking on a Dortmund side that spent most of the season worrying about relegation from the Bundesliga. There’s absolutely no reason to believe in the upset tonight…except for one. Jurgen Klopp has got some kind of freaky relationship with this competition and Juventus will be under unreal pressure tonight. The hipster manager has another upset up his sleeve. Ok, this is starting to get crazy but I’m saying YES bet on Dortmund as 4.1 underdogs.

Right, this has been a bit of a wild ride so far. Just as well it’s Arsenal next because they always lose in the first leg of this round. Wait, what? The Gunners are near unbackable favourites against Monaco tonight. I’m going to keep this one short and sweet. It’s February but not the regular kind of February for Arsenal. Let the crazy continue. Take Arsenal/Arsenal at 2.34 on the Half-time/Full-time.

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