Napoli is running away with Serie A, and has a great draw as it bids to win the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history.
Who do Bettors Favor?
The best-rated online sportsbooks indicate that there is a clear top three in the UCL Champions League winners’ market this year. Manchester City is the favorite with bettors, rated at around +225, while Napoli and Bayern Munich are not too far behind. Last year’s winner Real is the fourth-ranked team here at +700, while Chelsea, Benfica and the two Milan clubs are the underdogs.
Champions League Quarter-Final Briefing
It’s the last eight stage of the Champions League and there’s a pause of three weeks before the next stage of the knockout begins on April 12, so most of these teams will be hoping to settle domestic business before turning to their European campaign.
One interesting quirk of this competition is that the draw for the quarterfinals and semi-finals was made at the same time so bettors have some indication of potential match-ups in the last four.
The winners of the Real Madrid v Chelsea tie will face the winners of the toughest quarter-final, between Bayern Munich and Manchester City, while the victor in the all-Italian fourth quarter-final between Napoli and Milan will have to get past either Internazionale or Benfica to reach the final.
UCL Favorites Betting
There are three clear favorites here, and Manchester City once again goes into the latter stages of this tournament carrying enormous expectations. For all its recent success, City has never won this competition, despite reaching the last eight stage in each of the last five years.
Unfortunately for City fans, Pep Guardiola’s team has been given just about the toughest possible draw. First, it has to take on German giant Bayern Munich, with all that club’s experience of the big games, and if it passes that test, could face another clash with Real Madrid, the reigning champion, led by the wily Carlo Ancelotti, whose record at this level is elite.
Add in a tough domestic campaign and City, yet again, doesn’t offer much value in the winners’ market. Bayern looks a better option, but it is also hampered by the draw so the best pick here could be the other leading candidate from the top three of the betting, Napoli.
Luciano Spalletti’s exciting attacking team is well clear in Serie A and is likely to sew up the title before the quarterfinals, giving it a big advantage. Being drawn against fellow Italian team Milan, arguably the weakest team in the tournament, is another factor in Napoli’s favor. And, at even bigger odds, don’t count out Real. The reigning champion should have little problem getting past Chelsea and the Real players will relish the prospect of being the underdog in its semi-final.
Betting on the Champions League Winning Nationality
Not since 2010 has a team from outside England, Germany or Spain won the Champions League, but this year, there is a strong challenge from Italy, with three representatives in the quarter-finals. England has two, in Chelsea and Manchester City, while Benfica, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich represent Portugal, Spain and Germany respectively.
The winning nationality market, however, looks to be overrating the English teams. An English winner is the narrow favorite in this market, but Manchester City is probably overpriced while Chelsea is far from convincing at the moment. Betting on the German, Portuguese and Spanish options is essentially a bet on an individual team, but with three representatives in the last eight, including one of the favorites, Napoli, and the strong possibility of an all-Italian semi-final, Italy looks the best pick here.
Betting on the Champions League Top Goalscorer
Manchester City’s Erling Haaland is the runaway leader at the top of the UCL Champions League goalscoring chart and he looks to be in a strong position.
Haaland has scored 10 goals so far in this competition, which puts him two goals clear of Mohamed Salah and three ahead of Kylian Mbappe, neither of whom can catch him as their teams are already out of the competition. Two of the next five in the list are also out of the tournament, and we can probably put a line through Benfica’s Rafa Silva and Joao Mario, whose team is likely to exit at this stage.
That leaves Real’s Vinicius Jr as the leading challenger to Haaland, and while he has a four-goal gap to overhaul, City’s tough draw against Bayern means there is a good chance that they could be knocked out, which theoretically could give the Brazilian an extra three games to catch up. It’s a long shot, but he’s a rising star of European football and there could yet be some value in picking him.