Updated: Monday, 13th July 2020 @ 9:36pm

MM's midweek wager: Manchester United to sneak past Real Madrid and Bolton to oust fierce rivals Blackburn

MM's midweek wager: Manchester United to sneak past Real Madrid and Bolton to oust fierce rivals Blackburn

By Dominic Claeys-Jackson

Just two midweek games this week involving Greater Manchester teams – but both happen to be absolute crackers.

Manchester United host Real Madrid in the mouthwatering second leg of their last-16 Champions League tie, finely balanced following the 1-1 draw in Spain a fortnight ago. 

Meanwhile, the fiercely-contested Lancashire Derby takes place between Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers, with just three points separating the rivals in the Championship.

Here is MM’s punter-friendly betting guide to help boost your chances of a win.

MANCHESTER UNITED (1) vs. Real Madrid (1), Old Trafford, Tuesday 7.45pm

90 minutes: Manchester United (23/10, William Hill); Draw (27/10, Bwin); Real Madrid (13/10, Coral)

To qualify: Manchester United (5/4, Bet365); Real Madrid (4/5, Betfred)

There’s no denying it – this mouthwatering tie is a head-scratcher, with statistics pointing in all sorts of directions as to how it could unfold.

It is rare Manchester United are underdogs at home, but bookies are backing the Spanish champions to not only qualify tonight, but win too.

Real have beaten Barcelona twice this week and, with key players rested in Saturday’s 2-1 victory, they look set to fly into Old Trafford.

Boss Jose Mourinho has lost just two of 15 games against United, but the Reds are still well-priced both to qualify (5/4) and to win tonight (23/10).

Danny Welbeck’s Bernabeu goal put United in control, and a combination of terrific home form and the vociferous Old Trafford crowd could see them sneak through.

The Reds have lost just one of their last 14 Champions League home games, while Real have won just one of their last five on English soil.

Therefore, backing United in the draw no bet market (13/10, BetVictor) to win on the night offers good value with insurance.

United to score first (6/5, Bet365) is also a decent punt, despite Real chasing the essential away goal.

The crowd will fire up the Reds instantly and, given Real’s susceptibility at the back, Sir Alex Ferguson may feel attack is the best form of defence.

Indeed, perhaps the biggest certainty in this game is its goal-fest potential, with both sides’ likeliness to score reflected by incredibly short odds (1/2, Bet365).

Real have failed to score only once in their last 32 Champions League games, but have not kept a clean sheet in the competition this season.

Meanwhile, United have conceded three times in each of their two home games against Real during the Champions League era.

Best value therefore is over 3.5 goals (19/12, Pinnacle) but, with 12 goals in the last two Old Trafford meetings, over 5.5 goals (9/1, BetVictor) may tempt.

If you think the game will defy the odds and be an underwhelming borefest, however, then the 0-0 draw is a whopping 16/1 (Coral).

Scorer-wise, Cristiano Ronaldo – on his eagerly-awaited return to Old Trafford – is 4/1 to score first and evens to score anytime (Coral).

Counterpart Robin van Persie is 11/2 first goalscorer (Stan James) and 5/4 anytime goalscorer (BetVictor), while both Ronaldo and van Persie to net is 12/5 (William Hill).

Finally, Argentine Angel di Maria has provided four assists in the Champions League this term – all against Manchester teams – and the repeat is 3/1 (Boylesports).

Tip: Manchester United Draw No Bet (13/10, BetVictor)

*Ensure you check before betting whether your selection includes or excludes any extra-time or penalties played.

BOLTON WANDERERS vs. Blackburn Rovers, Reebok Stadium, Tuesday 8pm

Bolton Wanderers (Evens, Betfred); Draw (47/17, Pinnacle); Blackburn Rovers (22/7, Pinnacle)

It’s often said the formbook goes out the window in derby clashes – but it’s hard to envisage such a thing happening tonight at the Reebok.

Bolton are unbeaten in their last six league games, winning four, while in the same time period, Blackburn have won just once, losing three.

However, just three points separate the two Championship play-off outsiders, with Bolton currently in 10th on 48 and Blackburn in 12th on 45.

Wanderers should have enough to see off their fierce rivals and are a decent price at evens, but recent history suggests a close game.

They have beaten Rovers 2-1 in each of their last three encounters – and the repeat scenario is best-priced 9/1 (BetVictor).

Bolton to win by a margin of one goal is 3/1 (Ladbrokes) and, if you fancy a Wanderers victory, that may be worth siding with.

Hotshot Jordan Rhodes has scored 22 this season for Rovers, and is a tempting 6/4 (William Hill) anytime goalscorer, or 11/2 (Bet365) first goalscorer.

Tip: Bolton to win by 1 goal (3/1, Ladbrokes)

Double: Manchester United win (after 90 minutes) and Bolton Wanderers win (5/1, Bet365)

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Picture courtesy of Sky Sports, via YouTube, with thanks.

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