We have reached the final weekend of this season of Corner Picks, as the Champions League finale is set to take place in Istanbul on Saturday. Manchester City are trying to get the one trophy they've yet to win against an Inter team looking for their first Champions League trophy since 2010 when they beat Bayern Munich in Madrid. Inter would also be the first Italian team to win the competition since that 2010 season, while it's been a whole two years since an English team won. That was in 2021 when Chelsea beat Manchester City.
More important than all of that, will this be the year when Corner Picks finishes the season up over 20 units? We enter the final at +22.92 on the weekend, but I'm not a coward. I'm including three bets for the final, allowing the chance to finish below 20. Am I the bravest human on the planet? That's for others to decide, and if they decide that I am, who am I to disagree? I am but one person. One remarkably courageous and intensely humble person. All odds via Caesars Sportsbook.
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Manchester City vs. Inter
Date: Saturday, June 10 | Time: 3 p.m. ET | Watch: CBS/Paramount+
Match Pick: As an Italian-American who loves Serie A, defends Serie A and wants to see Serie A flourish, believe me when I tell you I want Inter to win. Even as a Napoli supporter, it would be a great thing for the league and a nice finish to a season that saw Napoli dominate and three Italian teams reach the finals of the European competitions.
While Roma and Fiorentina failed to win the Europa and Conference Leagues, respectively, the fact Serie A teams reached the final of all three competitions shows that the league is much stronger than many have given it credit for in recent years. Of course, most people won't care if they don't win any of them, so for that reason, Inter beating Manchester City would send quite a statement.
While most aren't giving them a chance to, Inter can beat Man City. The Inter team we've seen the last couple of months has been a much better squad than the one we saw early in the year and is much more reminiscent of the team that won Serie A two seasons ago under Antonio Conte. Unfortunately, none of this matters. Serie A is better than people thought, and Inter are playing wonderful football, and it isn't likely to mean much for one simple reason.
Have you seen Manchester City?
City are the best club in the world. That's no guarantee they'll win this match, but look at what City have done to teams lately. Not only did they erase Arsenal's lead in the Premier League, beating them twice by a combined score of 7-1, but they've smacked nearly everybody put in front of them around. In 12 Champions League matches, Pep Guardiola's team outscored opponents 31-5, and it's not like it's played a bunch of nobodies. City outscored the Sevilla team that won the Europa League 7-1 over two matches. In the Round of 16, they beat Leipzig 8-1. Then they beat Bayern Munich 4-1 in the quarterfinals and followed it up by beating Real Madrid 5-1 in the semis!
These are the biggest clubs in the world, and City have swept them aside with ease. It's hard to imagine we'll see anything different in the final, no matter how badly I want to. Pick: Manchester City (-230)
Total: The recent history of Champions League finals has not featured high-scoring matches. Liverpool beat Tottenham 2-0 in 2019, and the final has finished 1-0 in the three years since. The last final to see at least three goals scored was in 2018 when Real Madrid beat Liverpool 3-1. The year before, they beat Juventus 4-1.
Basically, we see these matches go one of two ways. Either it's a close, tense battle between two evenly-matched teams that ends 1-0, or there's a dominant side that runs away with it and scores a bunch of goals. Based on what I told you about how I believe this match will go, which way do you think I'm leaning with the total?
Yep, we're going over. There's a real chance Manchester City could go over the 2.5 on their own. Even after City wrapped up the semifinal against Real Madrid, they didn't stop scoring. Pick: Over 2.5 (-135)
Prop: Erling Haaland has been one of the most dominant players on Earth this season, but he comes into the Champions League final in a bit of a goal drought. He's scored 52 goals for City this season but did not score in either leg against Real Madrid and has only one goal in his last seven matches. It's not for lack of chances, though, as he's had 11 shots on target and an xG of 4.6. So the fact he's "due," mixed with the way I anticipate Inter to defend City, leads me to believe there's a strong chance Haaland breaks through Saturday, and there's more value on him scoring the first goal than scoring any time. Pick: Erling Haaland to score 1st goal (+210)