Champions League picks, predictions, odds: Experts split on PSG vs. Bayern, AC Milan vs. Tottenham and Chelsea

Champions League picks, predictions, odds: Experts split on PSG vs. Bayern, AC Milan vs. Tottenham and Chelsea

The Champions League is back! After a longer-than-normal hiatus due to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the 2023-23 UCL campaign rolls on with the knockout stage kicking off on Tuesday. The massive Paris Saint-Germain vs. Bayern Munich clash highlights a fine slate, while Chelsea will look to right the ship and put their poor Premier League form behind them when they face Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday. As always, you can watch the competition across CBS platforms with games airing on CBS and Paramount+

Here’s our predictions for each match and more:

Tuesday’s broadcast schedule

(All times U.S./Eastern)

Wednesday’s broadcast schedule

(All times U.S./Eastern)

Match picks

AC Milan vs. Tottenham

Featured Game | AC Milan vs. Tottenham Hotspur

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One matchup to watch: After a difficult start of the year, right-back Theo Hernandez has proven again to be one of the best players in his role, providing a nice assist to Olivier Giroud in Friday’s clash against Torino. He will play in the same area as Tottenham’s Pedro Porro, who was, to put it mildly, not at his best against Leicester City Saturday in his debut in a 4-1 loss and definitely needs to react. Their performances will likely tell us in which direction the game will go on Tuesday. -Francesco Porzio

Most likely to score a goal: Harry Kane is breaking every possible record as he recently became Tottenham’s all time top scorer and can take advantage of a Milan defense that has had some big issues in the past weeks. In fact, the Rossoneri faced a tough start of the year and only had two wins since the World Cup break while conceding ten goals in the last four games (four against Lazio, five against Sassuolo and one against Inter Milan). -Francesco Porzio

Man of the Match pick: Ivan Perisic knows very well how to impress in San Siro as he won the Scudetto in this stadium with Inter Milan in 2021 under Antonio Conte. He definitely is a key player also for this club and his performance will be crucial for the away side. I expect the game to be very tactical and he’s the one who can make the difference. -Francesco Porzio

Match prediction: It sounds like a difficult game to predict. AC Milan are coming from their first win in more than a month, while Tottenham lost and conceded four goals against Leicester and need to react immediately. Both teams have some defensive issues and I don’t see one of them winning on Tuesday. 2-2. -Francesco Porzio

Paris Saint-Germain vs. Bayern Munich

Featured Game | Paris vs. Bayern Munchen

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One matchup to watch: Joao Cancelo was an unexpected coup for Bayern Munich in the January transfer window. His addition to the Germans’ back line changes their complexion both defensively, but also on the right side where the Portugal international has played so far. PSG’s starting XI will depend on which star names are ultimately passed fit for the Parc des Princes clash. However, the prospect of Nuno Mendes getting forward on the same side of the pitch as Cancelo could make that one of the main positions to watch as these two Portuguese talents battle for supremacy. –Jonathan Johnson

Most likely to score a goal: Eric Maxim Choupo Moting wasted no time in scoring against PSG for Bayern when he came up against his former side. The Cameroon international has hit impressive form this season and it feels nailed on that he will find the net again here across the two legs in this tie. –Jonathan Johnson

Man of the Match pick: Gianluigi Donnarumma has been in inspired form of late and it seems likely that the Italian will have to be at his absolute best if PSG are to have any hope of advancing to the Champions League quarterfinals. Bayern are vulnerable at the back, but can still pose a threat going forward and Les Parisiens have not been impressive defensively since the resumption of club action post-World Cup. –Jonathan Johnson

Match prediction: PSG’s season hangs in the balance coming into this one after their Coupe de France defeat to bitter rivals Olympique de Marseille. Expect to see a focused and determined Christophe Galtier side raise their game by a few levels compared to some of the underwhelming displays they have produced of late. Do not be surprised if the hosts win by a goal and for both sides to score which will set things up nicely ahead of the return leg next month. –Jonathan Johnson

Borussia Dortmund vs. Chelsea

Featured Game | Borussia Dortmund vs. Chelsea

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One matchup to watch: Jude Bellingham’s drive and dynamism seems perfectly suited for a clash with a Chelsea midfield who might struggle to stay in the battle with the England international. So far we have seen Enzo Fernandez excel in games where his side are dictating the terms of engagement, how he will cope when there are top tier opposition midfielders driving at him remains unknown. –James Benge

Most likely to score a goal: In my bold predictions I make the case for why Chelsea might actually start scoring some goals, but that is perhaps best saved for columns that include the very necessary “bold” in front of “predictions.” Playing in more of a wide berth, Karim Adeyemi has found form of late and has the pace to exploit Chelsea’s defensive line. –James Benge

Man of the Match pick: If Chelsea do somehow come away from this game without having lost, one suspects that Thiago Silva will have been their star man but it feels rather more likely that this will be a statement win for Dortmund and one bright young thing in particular. Perhaps it is nothing more than the easy narrative but given his growth as his player, the attention that will be on him and how well suited his qualities are to Premier League opposition, does it not seem inevitable that Bellingham will shine the brightest? –James Benge

Match prediction: Neither of these teams have particularly set the world alight in the last few months, but Chelsea in particular seem to have uncovered a heady cocktail of underwhelming performances and horrendous luck. That might be enough to swing this tight contest to Borussia Dortmund, 2-1. –James Benge

Club Brugge vs. Benfica

Featured Game | Club Brugge vs. Benfica

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One matchup to watch: Goncalo Guedes and Goncalo Ramos vs. Simon Mignolet. Benfica will have chances all match due to Brugge’s struggles as of late but Mignolet is a keeper that can stand on his head to save his defense. Forced into action early and often, if Mignolet can’t keep the match close, Benfica could end this tie in leg one.  –Charles Booth

Most likely to score a goal: Goals will be hard to come by in the match but singling out one person to find the back of the net, it’s Joao Mario. He has been ever present this season and will continue to deliver in the match. Goncalo Guedes and Goncalo Ramos will take all of the attention as likely scorers but that only gives Mario more space to keep things going. –Charles Booth

Man of the Match pick: Joao Mario. While Befica’s central forwards draw attention from the opposition, Mario is quietly having an excellent season on the wing in domestic play with 12 goals and four assists. Brugge has allowed teams to have their way out wide which plays to Mario’s strength as the only thing that stops him from assisting a few goals will be strong saves from Simon Mingolet. Scoring Benfica’s lone goal will be plenty to push Mario to man of the match honors. –Charles Booth

Match prediction: Even without Enzo Fernandez, Benfica are a strong side that will be tough to stop for a Club Brugge team that has struggled since the World Cup break. Brugge have only won one match in all competitions since things stopped for the World Cup as the return of Champions League play couldn’t be returning at a worse time for the club. Benfica will manage this match to a 1-0 victory. –Charles Booth

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