UEFA Champions League Picks: FC Schalke 04 vs. FC Basel
by Nicholas Tolomeo with Raphael Esparza - 12/10/2013
During this soccer season, Doc’s Sports Service has teamed up with Strike Point Sports and Raphael Esparza (Vegas Sports Informer), two of the top soccer handicappers, to provide weekly free soccer picks for English Premier League, MLS and Champions League matches. Check back each week for a new free pick. This week, Raphael Esparza has a free play on the total in the FC Schalke 04 vs. Basel
Schalke 04 will play host to Basel in a Group E showdown on Wednesday, with the second qualifying spot for the round of 16 on the line as well as a possible seat at the top of the group. Though Schalke have the home field advantage, Basel has not lost an away match all season in all competitions; their two losses have been at home.
FC Schalke 04 vs. FC Basel Betting Story Lines
Schalke has the second-highest payroll in Bundesliga just after league table leaders Bayern Munich, but they currently find themselves occupying the sixth spot in the table and are seven points off the final Bundesliga Champions League qualifying spot. Schalke sits just one point behind FC Basel in Group E standings and needs to win at home to secure their spot in the round of 16.The Royal Blues will not only be playing for their Champions League lives, seemingly their coach Jens Keller will have his squad playing for his job. German media reporters were rife with rumors that Keller would be getting sacked, and following his squad’s Bundesliga loss to Monchengladbach, this may be Keller’s last hurrah.
FC Basel will be looking to extend their unbeaten run on the road this season, and they have established some slight breathing room against their opponents following their 1-0 win against Chelsea at home. If Basel’s away success continues, and a struggling Chelsea loses to Steaua Bucuresti, Basel will be able to secure its spot atop of Group E.
FC Schalke 04 vs. FC Basel Betting Odds and Trends
Schalke is listed at -1 (+120) with FC Basel available at +1 (-155). The total is listed at 2.5, with the ‘over’ juiced to -150 and the ‘under’ priced at +120 on Bovada. Schalke has had the over 2.5 goals hit in three of their five group stage matches, with two of those three matches coming at home. However, one was a 3-0 win, while another was a 0-3 defeat. For Basel, they have scored in four of their five group stage matches and have kept a clean sheet only once, in their most recent match against Chelsea.
Take OVER 2 ½ -150 FC Basel at Schalke 04 (Wednesday UCL)
I would take this total even if it’s 3 (over 3.5 is available as an alternate line at Bovada priced at +165.) Schalke is scoring goals and giving up goals at will, and on Wednesday we should see this trend continue. Schalke’s last three games have gone over the total, and two out of their last three Champions League matches have also gone over total. FC Basel has scored eight goals in four games, and on the road Wednesday I see them at least putting one in the back of the net. Should be a great game, and Group E has produced some good Champions League games.
Raphael Esparza (Vegas Sports Informer) went 4-1 in his previous five UEFA Champions League picks including winning his 6-unit play with Shakhtar winning 4-0 over Real Sociedad to pick up 10 units over two days of Champions League action.
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