In just a few days, the UEFA Champions League group stage will get underway again with an intriguing opening round of fixtures, including Liverpool vs PSG.
There is plenty to suggest that this will be one of the most open tournaments in recent times. Indeed, Real Madrid, Juventus, Barcelona, PSG, Manchester City, Liverpool and Bayern Munich are all tightly bunched at the top of the odds, and it would be little surprise if any from that group won it.
But, because there are so many great teams, there is going to be some difference in opinion from bookmakers. In short, that means you can get better value in the odds from shopping around. In light of that, some of the top teams and their odds are discussed below:
The two favourites
It might be slightly surprising to note that Real Madrid are not the bookies’ favourite this time around, despite winning four of the last five Champions League Finals. The accolade goes to Manchester City, who come in around 9/2 with most bookies. Betfair, however, offer the best price on Pep Guaridola’s men at 11/2. Coming just behind is Guardiola’s former club Barcelona. Again, Betfair are on top here with odds of 13/2.
The defending champions
One should never rule out Real Madrid, of course. Most bookies have gone for odds of 7/1 or 8/1 for Los Blancos, but you can find them as big as 17/2 with outlets like Paddy Power and BetStars. That’s considerable value for the 13-time champions, especially if you use the latest free bet offers for betting sites UK.
Ronaldo’s new club
Few individual players could have impacted Champions League odds as quickly as Cristiano Ronaldo, but that’s exactly what happened when the Portuguese maestro moved to Juventus in the summer. The have moved in joint-second place in the odds with Barcelona at 6/1 on some betting sites, but Black Type have the Old Lady priced at 8/1.
And, speaking of Ronaldo
Of course, one cannot speak of Ronaldo without mentioning his chances of being top scorer. He has an incredible record of 120 Champions League goals and has been top (joint-top in 2015) scorer in the last six consecutive campaigns. Surprisingly, Lionel Messi is the favourite, coming in at 5/1 with Bet365. Betfair have the best odds for Ronaldo, with a generous price of 7/1. If you are looking a value bet, how about Barcelona marksman Luis Suarez, a huge 20/1 with several outlets.
The dark horses
At the time of writing, Liverpool have made a 100% start to their Premier League campaign and look poised to challenge Manchester City for the title. Last year’s finalists, they should go deep in the competition once again after bolstering an already excellent squad during the summer. Sky Bet’s odds of 14/1 look particularly generous for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
The teams to avoid
Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United do not look to be in a good place at the moment, so they should be given a wide berth, even is some will be tempted by the 33/1 odds (BetStars). Atlético Madrid are obviously a decent side, but odds of just 10/1 with some bookmakers are not that attractive.
And, a prediction to finish
This feels like it will be Manchester City’s year. Pep Guardiola knows what it takes to win the Champions League and he has the tools at his disposal to do it again, even if it does come at the expense of the Premier League title.
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