Manchester City progressed smoothly to the quarter-finals of the Champions League and are still the favorites to lift the trophy
Who do Bettors Favor?
According to the best online sportsbook sites, the pre-tournament favorites Manchester City are still the top-rated UCL contender at +220, but they are closely followed by two other big-name clubs, Bayern Munich and Liverpool. Chelsea and Real Madrid come next at around +800, with the remaining contenders all priced at +2500 or higher.
Which Teams are in the UCL Last Eight?
At the time of writing, four of the eight games in the Round of 16 have been completed, while the remaining four will be played on March 15 and March 16.
Manchester City were not at their best in their second leg against Sporting Lisbon but with a 5-0 lead from the first game, they didn’t need to be, and a 0-0 draw meant they comfortably booked their place in the last eight. Fellow Premier League side Liverpool were made to work a little harder by Internazionale, who scored with an hour to go in the second leg at Anfield, but the Reds hung on for a 2-1 aggregate win.
The biggest tie of the Round of 16 was between Real Madrid and PSG. The French side earned a 1-0 win from the first leg and scored first in Madrid, but were undone by a Karim Benzema hat-trick in the last half hour that dumped them out of the tournament. German champions Bayern Munich are the other team definitely into the last eight after a 7-1 thrashing of Red Bull Salzburg at the Allianz Arena.
UCL Main Contenders
Manchester City remain the favorites for the tournament, but punters have additional reasons to be cautious about relying on them to win the trophy. Their habit of finding a way to lose in this tournament, perhaps related to the pressure of never having won the competition, cannot be overlooked. In addition, recent results in the Premier League have enabled Liverpool to close the gap in second place, meaning that City will have to continue to give both tournaments their full attention.
Of course, that will also affect Jurgen Klopp’s side over the remaining weeks of the season, so it is possible that Liverpool no longer offers value in the UCL Winners’ market. The other main Premier League contenders, Chelsea, are yet to secure their last eight spots so can’t really be picked here.
The best two remaining options amongst the leading contenders are Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. The German champions have a healthy nine-point lead domestically and have a depth of experience in the latter stages of this competition that their rivals cannot match. The same can be said for Real Madrid, and while they have not been in vintage form this year, they have a healthy lead domestically, and a manager in Carlo Ancelotti, who has vast experience at the top of European football.
Underdog Bets for the UCL
Manchester United and Atletico Madrid are level at 1-1 after their first leg and both have strong records in this competition but neither are in good form this season and would be big outsiders against most of the other remaining teams in the tournament, so they don’t look great bets at this point.
Instead, the two teams to concentrate on could be Juventus and Ajax, both of which will need to come through the second legs of their respective round of 16 ties.
Poor domestic form and ongoing financial problems hampered Juventus at the beginning of the season, but they haven’t lost in the top flight since the end of November and are now up to fourth in the Serie A table, only seven points behind the league leaders Inter. They earned a solid point in Villarreal in the first leg of their Round of 16 matches and will be favorites to go through with home advantage in the second leg, and their squad is good enough to give them a chance against any of the big clubs.
Ajax may not have the same depth of squad as some of their tournament rivals, but they have a strong recent record under manager Erik ten Hag, who has been tipped by many to be a leading candidate for the Manchester United job. It is not so long ago that Ten Hag took his young team close to reaching the Champions League final and with two away goals on the board already, like Juventus they will be expected to prevail in their Round of 16 ties and reach the quarter-finals.