The Champions League Is About To Get Serious – Betting Preview
It’s getting to that time of year when the action in the biggest club competition in world football really hots up. Here’s a betting preview.
It’s getting to that time of year when the action in the biggest club competition in world football really hots up. The first round of the knock-out phase begins on 17th and 18th February, with eight of the teams left in the competition going head to head for their first leg matches. The following week, the other eight teams play on the 24th and 25th February.
The follow-up reverse legs for each match are then played out on the 10th and 11th and 17th-18th March respectively.
So who’s most likely to make the last eight?
Of the English clubs still in the competition, none has an easy ride on paper. You would fancy Chelsea to progress against PSG over two legs, though, mainly due to the Mourinho factor and the fact that both he and Chelsea’s owner Roman Abramaovich would dearly love to win the competition. In so doing of course,, Mourinho would become the only manager to have won the Champions League with three separate clubs (the others being FC Porto and Internazionale).
You’d also fancy an in-form Arsenal to overcome Ligue 1 opposition in the shape of Monaco – but Man City’s hopes of progression against Barcelona look iffy.
Still, this will be a fascinating encounter as Man City have shown they can beat the best in Europe under the experienced stewardship of Manuel Pellegrini and his club was pretty unlucky not to emerge from Stamford Bridge with all three points recently. This is the tie that looks most in balance from an English perspective.
Elsewhere, Bayern Munich will surely progress against Shakhtar Donetsk whilst Real Madrid should have few problems brushing aside FC Schalke.
And with the teams we’ve already mentioned, we can probably find the winner of the overall event as the victors between Juventus and Borussia Dortmund and FC Porto and FC Basel will surely exit at the quarter-finals stage whichever of the big guns they draw.
An interesting encounter we haven’t yet mentioned, however, will be that between last year’s nearly men Atletico Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen. The former are slight favourites to progress – but whichever side does could be the tournament’s dark horses.
Atletico look particularly interesting as 18-1 chances to win the overall trophy with some bookmakers including Betway, 32red.com, Unibet and others (though most bookies have the club as 16/1 chances).
Diego Simeone’s side came within a whisker of lifting the Champions League last season. It was only Sergio Ramos’s 93rd-minute headed equaliser that cancelled out Diego Godín’s first-half goal for Atletico causing extra –time to be played, which Real Madrid went on to win comfortably.
This is the clear value bet, then, for gamblers on the Champions League. Interestingly, one or two of the major bookies also run gaming sites with attractive welcome bonuses (bonuses which are far larger than their bookmaking sites). The afore-mentioned 32 Red is one such site, so if you’re lucky in taking the big bonus and playing though on games like roulette etc, where your chances are close to even money – you should be able to transfer a decent chunk of free cash to the bookmaking account.
And when it comes to the Champions League, Atletico Madrid at 18-1 or perhaps Man City at 16/1, may give you some value-based excitement.
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