Juventus vs. Villarreal line, prediction

Juventus has seen its Champions League tournament end in the Round of 16 in each of the last three seasons despite being favorites in each.

Once again, Juventus is a favorite to advance against a team with much less of a European pedigree. And based on my projections, Juventus is once again a vulnerable and overvalued favorite.

The Old Lady opened as a favorite on the road in the first leg when the Champions League draw and lines were released in December, but that market has moved sharply toward Unai Emery and Villarreal.

Villarreal coach Unai Emery, left, speaks with a staff member during a training session at the Ciudad deportiva Villarreal in Vila-real, on Feb. 21, 2022.
Villarreal coach Unai Emery, left, speaks with a staff member during a training session.
AFP via Getty Images

Injuries have played a role in that for Juventus, but most of the market movement has come out of respect for Villarreal, which has been arguably the best team in all of Spain in the last few months.

FiveThirtyEight projects Villarreal as 61 percent favorites (-156 implied) to advance to the quarterfinals. My own projections make Villarreal a -110 favorite to advance (52 percent) and yet the Yellow Submarine is lined as +135 to advance and is barely a favorite at home.

The betting market likes Juventus a whole lot more than underlying metrics and my own projections do, but Villarreal has the better pressing numbers, owns the better expected goal (xG) difference in a tougher league, and got through a much more difficult Champions League group.

Especially at home in the first leg, Villarreal is absolutely undervalued.

The plays: Villarreal Draw No Bet (-135); Villarreal to advance (+140).