Champions League Betting Preview
The UEFA Champions’ League is the pinnacle of European football, although it has undoubtedly become a worldwide phenomenon owing to the huge global profiles of the biggest clubs and the media attention that constantly surrounds the best-known players.
The 32 clubs who have qualified for the group stage are divided into 8 groups of 4 teams, which are determined both by a seeding system and the fact that no two clubs from the same country can be drawn in a group together. The top two sides from each group then go through to the round of 16, at which time it becomes a knockout competition held over two legs home and away. The final, however, is a one-off game and will be held at the Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid on 1 June 2019.
Real Madrid made history in its 2017-18 Champions’ League campaign when it beat Liverpool 3-1 in the final to take the title for the third consecutive year — the first time this has been done since the European Cup became the Champions’ League in 1992-93. This was the Spanish side’s 13th win overall, making it the most successful club side in Europe by some margin.
The group stage consists of six match days, the first on 18–19 September 2018, with the final group games on 11–12 December 2018.
The first legs in the round of 16 matches will be played on 12, 13, 19 and 20 February 2019, with the second legs on 5, 6, 12 and 13 March. The quarter final matches then take place on 9 and 10 April (first leg) and 16 and 17 April (second leg), followed by the first leg of the semi-finals on 30 April and 1 May and the second legs on 7 and 8 May. The Champions’ League final will be held on 1 June 2019.
The eight groups for the 2018-19 Champions’ League are:
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Top 5 Champions League Betting Tips
Manchester City’s time — at last?
The superlatives flowed endlessly about Manchester City’s runaway win in the 2017-18 Premier League season, but its failure thus far to win the Champions’ League is still a blight on its recent record. Most observers agree that whether or not City is finally able to win the title will ultimately determine Pep Guardiola’s legacy in Manchester, but according to the bookmakers they are the most likely side to win it this year.
Despite being odds-on to retain its Premier League title at 4-6 with most sports books, you can still get a relatively generous 9-2 on City taking out the Champions’ League at PaddyPower and Coral. Given Guardiola’s previous success in the tournament, this actually looks a pretty good value bet at this early stage.
Who Will Net the Top Goalscorer Title?
The Champions’ League top goalscorer betting market is a good one to punt on because you can pick up some surprisingly good value bets at this stage. For instance, you can get 5-1 on Lionel Messi being the top goalscorer with bet365, or a surprising 6-1 on Cristiano Ronaldo with Betstars. However, the best value bet looks to be the 12-1 you can get with Coral on Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah finding the net most often. To some extent, this could depend on how far Jurgen Klopp’s side progresses, but given the Egyptian international’s stunning season in the last Premier League campaign when the Golden Boot winner scored 32 goals in 36 appearances, it is hard to imagine he won’t be right up there come the final stages of the Champions’ League.
Taking Home More Than One Trophy
The Premier League is probably the most open of the major leagues in Europe, with perhaps four sides in with a real chance of winning. However, in Spain, Italy, Germany and France, there are fewer sides in genuine contention; for instance, it’s highly unlikely that the winner of the Bundesliga will be anyone other than Bayern Munich, or that another club can seriously challenge PSG in France.
A much more interesting betting market, therefore, is to combine winning a domestic title with the Champions’ League as well. Some of the best value bets in this market include 9-1 with Betway on Barcelona wining La Liga and the Champions’ League, or you can get the same price on Bayern Munich taking out the double.
The Top Two
Whether there is any value to be found when punting on the two qualifiers from each group depends very much on the draw, as some groups will always end up being significantly more competitive than others.
Group F looks to have some of the best value; Manchester City are odds-on to get through but who goes to the knock out stages with them is far less clear. Couple City with Lyon, you can get 11-8, 15-8 if you pair it with Hoffenheim, or 3-1 at Ladbrokes if you think Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk will go through. Group D looks interesting as well, with a good range of betting markets on offer — these range from 15-8 at William Hill on Porto and Schalke going through, to 11-1 with Coral on Galatasaray and Lokomotiv Moscow getting to the round of 16.
Who Will Flop?
If you fancy having a bet on a fancied side falling apart and not getting out of the group stages, then you will get suitably long odds that will make it worth having a punt. Most of the mobile sports betting apps that we feature here will give you the opportunity to create your own market if there isn’t one quoted, and so this is a good opportunity to create an interesting single bet or acca. For instance, you would likely get some pretty generous prices on Barcelona or PSG not getting to the round of 16, for instance, or on Bayern Munich and Juventus failing to qualify.