Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo gestures during an Italian Cup round of 4 first round soccer match between Inter Milan and Juventus at the San Siro stadium, in Milan, Italy, Tuesday, Feb.2, 2021. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
- Reigning Portuguese champion Porto hosts Juventus on Wednesday (3:00 pm ET) at the Estadio do Dragao in the first of their two-legged Round of 16 Champions League matchup
- Porto is slumping, with draws in four straight across all competitions, while Juventus has drawn Inter Milan (0-0) and lost to Napoli (0-1) since the end of a six-game winning streak
- Get a breakdown of the two clubs, Wednesday’s matchup odds and a few value picks below
Both Porto and Portuguese soccer at-large have fallen since the former’s Europa League triumph a decade ago, with the Round of 16 generally being as far as it’s been able to progress in the last decade.
Juventus is some years removed from its run of two Champions League final appearances (and losses) in the span of three seasons, but has retained its contender status thanks to the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo — consistently lethal — and its trademark defensive structure.
While Juve is heavily favored to advance from the two-legged tie, there could still be plenty of value in individual scorers and team props.
Porto vs Juventus Champions League Odds
|Porto vs Juventus||POR +0.5 (-124) | JUV -0.5 (-104)||POR +310 | JUV +105 | DRAW +215||Ov 2.5 (+114) | Un 2.5 (-141)|
Odds taken Feb 14 at DraftKings
The only previous head-to-head meeting this century between the two clubs saw Juventus win 3-0 on agg. (2-0 away, 1-0 home) in the Round of 16 back in 2016-17.
Porto vs Juventus Stats
|4-1-1 (2nd, Group C)||2020-21 Champions League Group Stage||5-0-1 (1st, Group G)|
|10 (1.67/game)||Goals scored||14 (2.33/game)|
|3 (0.50/game)||Goals conceded||4 (0.67/game)|
|Sergio Oliveira (3)||Leading Scorer||Alvaro Morata (6)|
|D – D – D – D – W||Overall Form||L – D – W – W – W|
|Lost 3QR to Krasnodar||2019-20 Finish||Lost R16 to Lyon|
|0-0-2||H2H Record Since 2007 (W-L-T)||2-0-0|
Porto: Trouble in Paradise
As rosy as the picture was around Sergio Conceicao’s Porto early in the 2020-21 campaign, things have darkened somewhat around the Dragoes.
Sporting holds an eight-point lead in the Primeira Liga, the team’s workhorses like Sergio Oliveira and Mehdi Taremi are showing the wear and tear of a congested schedule and the Portistas‘ chances of advancing in Europe look less-than-great.
A 2-2 draw with last-place Boavista on Sunday won’t have generated any confidence for Conceicao’s group, though the emergence of his young son Francisco in the first team is a lone bright spot in recent weeks.
Porto’s league results — with dropped points in 37% of Primeira Liga contests to-date — are the club’s worst in four years, dating back to the Nuno Espirito Santo era.
Juventus: Single Focus
In truth, Juve is not in that different a position than Porto: Eight points behind Italian leader Inter Milan, the domestic title looks to be out of reach.
A number of humbling results — most recently, a 1-0 loss to Napoli on Tuesday — in Serie A have signalled a clear transition of power in Italy, and Andrea Pirlo’s side will likely not win a record 10th-straight Italian title.
With that comes a shift in focus: Juventus’ primary goal now is finally vanquishing the Champions League, with the Coppa Italia final against Atalanta in May seen as a secondary objective.
Make no mistake: This is still a strong squad spearheaded by the likes of Champions League all-time leading scorer Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata.
At +1200 to win the competition outright (Bet 365), Juventus is tied with PSG for fourth-shortest odds of the 16 teams remaining — behind Bayern Munich (+300), Manchester City (+300) and Liverpool (+700).
Porto vs Juventus Best Bets
Both sides are pragmatic in Europe, and each were level at the half in 2/6 Group Stage matches; given the feeling-out process that often occurs in the first 45 (and even 90) minutes of a two-legged tie, a 1H Tie play at near-even money (-103) would not be the worst play.
The Portuguese leg of the tie was scoreless until the 72nd minute back in 2017 — despite a first-half Porto red card — and two of Porto’s three Group Stage home matches this season hit the Under 2.5.
Furthermore: Porto did not surrender a goal in those three home matches, and Juventus conceded just once — a meaningless 90th-minute goal in a 4-1 win at Ferencvaros — in its three away matches. Considering the No BTTS at very steady value (-108) could be a sharp play.
Pick: 1H Tie (-103), Under 2.5 (-141), No BTTS (-108)
Carlos Verde is a sports media professional, with writing featured in a number of outlets, including the Epoch Times, Ottawa Life Magazine and Where is Football. He also served as a broadcast commentator for the United Soccer League’s Ottawa Fury FC.