Manchester City are still big favorites to win the UCL for the first time, but PSG could be a good bet for European glory.
Who do Bettors Favor?
The first four games in the Champions League Round of 16 are over, and according to the best online sportsbook sites, Manchester City are still the favorites to lift the trophy. You can get around +225 on City winning the UCL with Liverpool (+400) and Bayern Munich (+450) their closest rivals, followed by PSG at +700 and Chelsea at +900.
Best Bet for the Champions League Winner
Manchester City are once again dominating the UCL betting and their 5-0 victory against Sporting Lisbon was impressive. Given their wealth, talent, and coach, it’s hard to make a case against them, at least on paper, but in reality, they’ve regularly disappointed in this competition, and one spectacular triumph won’t erase the nagging sense that they’ll find a way to hurt themselves before the competition is done.
Another reason to be cautious is that several of their top competitors also had good first leg results, avoiding some significant pitfalls.
Liverpool came back from their tie with Internazionale with a comfortable 2-0 lead, while PSG beat Real Madrid and deserved more than their 1-0 victory. Bayern Munich had a strong start to the knockout round as well, and will be optimistic of defeating Salzburg in the return leg.
At this point, all three would be good alternatives to City in the Futures market, but PSG has the best odds, and their squad strength is perhaps even greater than City’s. You could argue that no club is more suited to win this tournament, and they represent good value at the current odds.
Which Teams will Reach the Champions League Final
As you’d expect, Liverpool, Bayern and Manchester City are all short odds to reach the Champions League final and it makes more sense to look elsewhere.
Last time I recommended a bet on PSG to reach the final and they’ve shortened up since then, while Internazionale’s chances appear to have dropped significantly, so Ajax look like the team to be on.
The Dutch heavyweights have been drawn against Benfica, and their first leg will take place on February 22. They should be favorites to advance, and none of the other clubs will want to have to face them in the quarter-finals. Coach Erik ten Hag is rated as one of Europe’s best, having previously guided his club to the Champions League semi-finals and almost to the final.
Ajax will certainly have no fear of anybody, and when they face the top clubs, they will be able to play without the burden of expectation that Manchester City and PSG would be under. Although winning the tournament would be tough, they have a good chance of reaching the final, especially if the draw goes their way.
Which Nation Will Win the Champions League?
If you like taking an overview of the relative strengths of the main European leagues, this is one of the more interesting alternate markets for the Champions League.
England is still the favorite since it has four clubs remaining in the competition, although only City and Liverpool seem to be prospective Champions League champions at the time. While I still like the look of Italy in this market, Inter’s first-leg loss was a setback that has Italy supporters dependent on Juventus to land the odds.
There are currently no clear choices in this market, however, Spain may be worth considering. Three Spanish clubs remain in the competition, and all three have a good chance of progressing, At these odds, Spain could be the best play.
Best Bets for the Champions League Golden Boot
Manchester City hit top goalscoring form in Lisbon, but as usual, the goals were shared between several players and there was little change in the Golden Boot market.
The market leader is still Robert Lewandowski of Bayern and he has a significant lead in the goals tally over his two biggest rivals, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, so it isn’t that surprising to see the Polish star a short-priced favorite in the Golden Boot market.
Yet despite that lead, it may still be worth taking him on. Last month I picked Sebastian Haller in the top scorer market, and his odds remain unchanged so it could be worth adding a new contender to your Golden Boot portfolio in Liverpool’s Mohammed Salah.
The Egyptian striker is having a great season, and has come back from AFCON 2021 in top form. He was on target against Inter is only two behind Lewandowski. Given Liverpool’s impressive goalscoring power, attacking style and potential as tournament winners, Salah appears to be a solid pick at this stage.