Real Madrid vs. Schalke Odds, Champions League Betting Preview

OddsShark.comFeatured ColumnistFebruary 25, 2014

Atletico's Juanfran in action with Real's Cristiano Ronaldo during a semi final, 2nd leg, Copa del Rey soccer derby match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon Stadium in Madrid, Tuesday Feb. 11 , 2014.  (AP Photo/Gabriel Pecot)
Gabriel Pecot/Associated Press

In the first leg of the Champions League knockout stage, Real Madrid is the favorite Wednesday heading to Germany to face Schalke 04.

Real has won three matches in a row, and their unbeaten streak now stands at 15, as they are now in first place in Spain’s La Liga.

Schalke had its four-match winning streak snapped last time out, but it still played to a draw. After a poor start to the Bundesliga season, Schalke are unbeaten in its last seven matches and are now in fourth place in the league table.

Most sportsbooks monitored by had Real Madrid as big-road betting favorites posted at -225, with Schalke at +650 and a draw line of +400.

Even more impressive about Real's recent run is the fact it has been accomplished without superstar Cristiano Ronaldo for three matches due to a suspension. Even with the La Liga goal-scoring leader out, the Real offense has not missed a beat, scoring 10 goals in its last three league matches.

Madrid is known for their offensive attack, but their defense has been stellar lately. They have two clean sheets in a row, and they have only conceded three goals in their last eight La Liga matches.

Schalke has scored the fourth-most goals in the league even though it does not have a dynamic striker. However, it does have five players who have scored at least four goals, led by Jefferson Farfan (eight) and Kevin-Prince Boateng (six).

This is the first-ever meeting between these two teams, and Madrid does not have much success on German soil. They have only one win, 17 losses and six draws.

Ronaldo will be fresh for this match, coming off his three-match suspension, and the Schalke defense has its work cut out for the Royal Blues. He is not the only focus of the German side’s defense, as Karim Benzema has three goals in his last three matches and Gareth Bale has two.

These three Madrid players have combined to score 46 goals this season.

Schalke must play well in the midfield, especially on defense, but Marco Hoger and Dennis Aogo are out with injuries, which will hurt the team. Julian Draxler, who garnered transfer interest from Arsenal and Real, is also hobbled by a thigh injury, but he should play.

Schalke has won five of its 11 home matches against Spanish clubs in UEFA matches.

In other Champions League odds action this week, Manchester United faces Olympiakos and Zenit Saint Petersburg faces Borussia Dortmund. Wednesday sees Chelsea at Galatasaray, where the English side was a huge -450 favorite in early wagering.