Champions League Odds: Barcelona Favored to Defeat Manchester City

OddsShark.comFeatured ColumnistFebruary 17, 2014

FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi, from Argentina, kicks the ball and scores from a penalty during a Spanish La Liga soccer match against Valencia,  at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Barcelona head to English soil in the first leg of the round of 16 Champions League to face a Manchester City squad making its first appearance at this late stage of the annual tournament.

Even away from Spain, Barcelona are the betting favorite, and it is not hard to see why. Most shops monitored by had Barca at +150, with City at +190, and the draw line higher at +260.

Barca are loaded, and they are tied atop the La Liga table with Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.

They have scored the most goals in La Liga play, 13 goals in their last four matches and a healthy Lionel Messi, who scored twice in Barca's last match. 

And while Vincent Kompany has been solid this season for the City defense, he and Fernandinho will have their hands full trying to keep Messi in check.

Man City may have won their last match against EPL leader Chelsea, but in their previous two they looked far from impressive. They played to a 0-0 draw facing a Norwich squad that is battling to stay out of the relegation zone and lost their first home match of the season to Chelsea. City lead the EPL in scoring but have only scored two goals in their last three matches.

Can Manchester City crack the Barca defense? That may be the biggest question in this match.

City have the firepower with the likes of Alvaro Negredo, David Silva, Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri, but Gerard Pique leads a Barca defense that has been great as of late. The team's defense has conceded just two goals in its last four matches.

City have played the tougher schedule in the last couple of months, but all the pressure is on them at home. Barca have crushed opponents this season at home in Champions League play, so Man City may have to win on their pitch to have any chance to progress.

Barcelona have been in this position many times before and have proven they can handle the pressure. Can City do the same in their first foray in the last 16?

Messi and Neymar will create nightmare problems for a Man City defense that has two clean sheets in their last two matches. However, that streak will end facing the Spanish giants.

City have talent and home-field advantage, but they have yet to prove they are in the same class as Barcelona.

Tuesday’s other matchup pits Paris St-Germain against Bayer Leverkusen, while Wednesday’s Champions League odds menu features a super matchup of Bayern Munich and Arsenal.