Each of the eight Champions League groups has two rounds of fixtures to go, and the battle for qualification to the Round of 16 is reaching a climax.
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Who do Bettors Favor?
There is a long way to go in this year’s tournament and bookies and bettors alike are taking a cautious approach in the Outright Winner’s market. Fans who check out the best online sportsbook markets will find Manchester City ranked as the slight favorites at +350, but there is plenty of support for others.
German Champions Bayern Munich are rated as +400 chances, and PSG and Liverpool can be backed at +550, with Chelsea not far behind on +800. Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus, and Ajax are also in the mix. It is a good idea to keep a close eye on the market, however, as these odds can change dramatically over the course of the last few rounds.
Champions League Outright Betting
Once again Manchester City are the bookies’ favorite to win the Champions League and once again, shrewd bettors should be cautious.
The enormous financial resources at City’s disposal combined with the elite level managers they are able to employ means that they will probably lift the trophy sooner or later. But winning the biggest prize in football has become something of an obsession for the club, and for Guardiola, who won it twice with Barcelona but failed to do so with Bayern and thus far with City.
The nadir of City’s Champions League fortunes came last season when they reached the final against a Chelsea team in transition. Yet Guardiola chose to experiment and his lineup and tactics played a major role in City losing out to a Premier League rival. So at these odds, City offer very little appeal.
PSG are in a similar position to City, although their quest to win the Champions League goes back further. Their odds are at least longer than the English club’s price but still offer little value in a highly competitive tournament. At this stage, the best bet among the leading contenders looks like Chelsea.
The reigning champions have continued to improve under Thomas Tuchel, have boosted their forward power with the addition of Romelu Lukaku, and, unlike City or PSG, know how to win this tournament. At odds of +800 they look the best option right now.
Can Manchester United Clinch Group F?
Some of the eight groups in this year’s tournament look more competitive than others, and there could be a betting opportunity in Group F, where Manchester United are the big favorites to top the section.
They are level on points with Villarreal, and have a relatively simple home game against Young Boys to conclude their campaign. But before that, they will have to travel to Spain to take on their main Group rivals, which will not be an easy fixture. As any Premier League fan will tell you, United have been poor so far this season, despite the addition of Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho.
There are serious questions over manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s ability to get the best out of this expensive squad and his short term future at the club looks to be in the balance. It is hard, therefore to back them with any confidence at the moment, and certainly not at short odds, so the best play here looks like being a wager on Villarreal at +280
Best Bet in Group A
As expected, Manchester City and PSG have dominated in Group A, and the Manchester club have a one-point advantage going into the last two rounds of fixtures.
Still, I think bettors are overestimating City’s chances of winning the Group. Their fifth fixture is at home to the French champions, and that is a game that could go either way, while their final game sees them heading to Leipzig to take on a team that scored three times against them in their opening match of the tournament. City should be favorites to win the Group, but not to the degree suggested by their current odds, so at this stage, siding with PSG looks the smarter option.
Who is Looking Good in Group G?
Group G is the most fascinating of all the first round Groups. RB Salzburg have the advantage on seven points, but Lille and Wolfsburg are only two points off the pace and even Sevilla are still in with a chance of qualification.
Either Lille or Wolfsburg have a good chance of overhauling Salzburg, and they meet in the final round of Group G fixtures, but Wolfsburg have the home advantage for that fixture, and at significantly bigger odds than their French rivals, they rate as the best bet.