The Group Stages of the Champions League are out of the way and the serious business can begin. So which teams offer the best value ahead of the Round of 16?
Who do Bettors Favor?
The familiar site of Manchester City dominating the Champions League betting may not entice some soccer punters who’ve been burned backing City in this tournament before. Still, they are the favorites at +275 with the best online sportsbook sites, ahead of Bayern Munich at +350. Two more Premier League sides, Liverpool and Chelsea, are also in contention, with PSG completing the top six.
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Best Bet for the Champions League Winner
Once again Manchester City look the best team in the competition and once again, punters should be wary. Given their resources, their talent, and their manager, it is hard to argue against them on paper, but they have regularly disappointed at the business end in this tournament and there is enormous pressure on the club, the players and Pep Guardiola to deliver the trophy.
In City’s favor is the draw, which has handed them a straightforward looking tie against Sporting Lisbon, while two of their main rivals, Liverpool and PSG, have much tougher assignments.
Still, the same can be said for Bayern Munich, the second favorites, whose record and reputation in this tournament is the polar opposite of City’s. Bayern have an equally friendly draw, against Red Bull Salzburg and are available at bigger odds, so of the top two in the market, look the better bet.
PSG are in the same situation as Manchester City and are under intense pressure to deliver the Champions League title given the astonishing array of talent in their squad. Unfortunately, they face old rivals Real Madrid and are far from certainties to go through. The other big name in the top four, Liverpool, have an even tougher draw, against Serie A-leading Inter Milan, so can’t be backed either.
Which Teams will Reach the Champions League Final
Liverpool, Manchester City and Bayern are all short prices to reach the Final but if you’re going to play in this market, there are other options at better odds. That doesn’t include Chelsea, who are far too short given their recent struggles. In fact, the one team that stands out here is PSG.
That may seem strange, having warned against betting on them in the winners’ market, but they are currently available at bigger odds than Liverpool to reach the final, and that makes little sense given that their tie against Real Madrid, while difficult, is easier than the task facing the Reds.
I’d also be tempted to wager on Inter Milan, simply because of their odds. The reigning Italian champions are flying domestically and if they can edge past Liverpool, a friendly quarter final draw could see those odds crash dramatically.
Which Nation will Win the Champions League?
England dominate this market, which is not that surprising, given that they still have four teams still in the competition, three of which are in the top five in the winners’ markets.
Still, look a little closer and there are some doubts about England in this market. City’s tendency to crumble under the Champions League pressure is well known, while Liverpool have a nightmare draw and Chelsea have lost their way across the board in recent weeks. There’s Manchester United as well, of course, but they haven’t been a serious part of the Champions League conversation for many years.
At the available odds, Italy look the best value option. Both Juventus and Inter Milan have strong European credentials and while neither are among the favorites, they have both been improving steadily and have good squads, so their combined strength offers an interesting betting possibility.
Best Bets for the Champions League Golden Boot
With neither Cristiano Ronaldo nor Lionel Messi looking like strong candidates this time round, it is reliable Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski who dominates the Golden Boot betting. He is four goals ahead of Ronaldo and five clear of Messi and punters have backed him in to odds-on favorite.
Still, there is a long way to go and Lewandowski is not the current top scorer. That honor goes to Sebastian Haller, of Ajax, who has scored ten to the Polish striker’s nine.
Lewandowski’s experience and Bayern’s better chance of progressing to the final has presumably tilted the betting in his favor, but Ajax also have a winnable last 16 tie, against Benfica, and Haller has been prolific all season. Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah is also an interesting option in this market, but Haller’s form in the Champions League has been exceptional and he already has the goals on the board.
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