The Champions League is the most prestigious competition in European football. Last year’s winners Liverpool are back again to defend, with three other English sides in the mix, including favourites Manchester City. Of course, veterans like Real Madrid and Barcelona are never to be underestimated. With the group stages set to kick off in mid-September, let’s take a look at the betting odds and tips for outright Champions League winners.
Favourites – Manchester City
Despite having never won the Champions League, Manchester City are current favourites to come out on top with 10/3 odds. The group fixtures for City show that they have been blessed with one of the easiest groups, with matches against Shakhtar Donetsk, Dinamo Zagreb and Atalanta.
Guardiola has previously won two Champions League finals as manager of Barcelona and will be looking to do so with City. The team have shown excellent domestic form, winning the English treble last season. If history tells us anything, City will need to watch out for other Premier League teams in the knockout stages as they have been defeated in the last two quarter finals by Liverpool and Tottenham.
Close Runners – Barcelona, Liverpool and Real Madrid
Barcelona are four time winners of the Champions League, yet they have crumbled in the quarter finals the last two years running. This year they have £175 million worth of transfers in Griezmann and de Jong and are up there in the betting odds with 5/1. Barcelona dominated domestically last year, though they have had a slow start this season. Their main issue is drawing the toughest group stage. They will face Borussia Dortmund and Inter Milan in Group F.
Liverpool are also considered strong runners to defend their title at 6/1. They beat Tottenham in the final last year and showed they are capable of handling top level pressure when they came back from 3-0 down to defeat Barcelona in the quarter finals. They are looking strong domestically too this season, with only City considered to rival them in the Premier League.
Real Madrid are running at 8/1 odds. They have won the Champions League 13 times, including three times consecutively between 2016 – 18. Madrid’s form is not what it used to be in the last couple of years, and last year they suffered a humbling defeat against Ajax. This year they have Hazard, Jovic and Militao among the names to join the ranks. They are certainly worthy contenders.
Middle of the Pack and Outside Bets
Betting is not all about choosing favourites. A strong outside bet can make for more risk but a bigger payout. The Champions League knockout stages are exciting and unpredictable; anything can happen. Don’t rule out those at the middle of the pack, or even outside bets that could make a comeback and claim a shock victory.
Slap bang in this middle range are Tottenham and Chelsea. Both are sitting on odds of around 25/1 each. Tottenham made it to the final last year, but they have Bayern Munich and Olympiacos to contend with to even make the knockout stages, and their domestic performance so far this season leaves a lot to be desired. Chelsea have had their growth stunted due to their transfer embargo and are not in great form either, but may see the Champions League as their only hope of a result this season. They also have a tough group stage with Ajax and Valencia.
PSG, Juventus, Bayern Munich, AC Madrid and Ajax are all middle of the pack teams who could well claim European glory if everything were to go their way. AC Madrid are no stranger to Champions League titles, whilst Bayern Munich regularly make the last 4 and completely dominate Germany domestically.
If you want a true outside bet, Inter Milan have odds of around 66/1. They have an extremely tough group (shared with Barcelona and Dortmund) and have not been up there for a while, domestically or in Europe; at least, not in the same way as they used to be. This year they have Lukaku, Sanchez and Godin, and at such far out odds it’s a fair price for a team that is capable at their best.