We've reached the Champions League Final after Manchester City booked their ticket with a convincing 5-1 two-leg victory over Real Madrid. Inter Milan, meanwhile, defeated rivals AC Milan 3-0 across two legs.
Is this finally the year where Manchester City gets over the line to win the Champions League? Currently, they're the favorite to win at a comfortable -525.
2022-23 Champions League Title Odds
Odds as of May 18
Manchester City Champions League Odds (-525)
City has been a mainstay in this competition since 2011-12, but they've never been able to win it. But this could be their year because...*checks notes*...Yaya Touré's agent lifted the curse he placed on City all those years ago.
🎙️ Dimitri Seluk, Yaya Touré's agent has confirmed the curse has been lifted on Manchester City and they can now win the Champions League:— Football Tweet ⚽ (@Football__Tweet) May 8, 2023
"I want to apologise for this matter. I think it's time for that bitterness to stop - and I know Yaya feels the same way because he wants… pic.twitter.com/3tfNfeGaH5
Putting the voodoo aspect aside, City has excellent credentials to be the favorite.
Pep Guardiola has his side buzzing. Over their last 23 games in all competitions, City is 19-0-4. They've scored 68 goals while only allowing 13 for a seemingly impossible +55 goal differential.
In this competition, they hold a 7-0-5 record, eliminating sides like Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. Both are pretty good teams, last time I checked.
Man City is given 83% implied odds to win this elite competition for the first time in club history. There's no chance they mess this up like in the 2021 Finals when they were -260 favorites as they lined up against fellow Premier League side Chelsea.
City has rested players like Erling Haaland and Ilkay Gundogan over their final two games of the Premier League season. City's EPL campaign is over on May 28 while Inter still has one more game on the season that will be played less than a week out from the final. The Citizens will be rested and in peak shape. That's not ideal for Inter.
Champions League Odds Dark Horse: Inter Milan (+330)
Prior to Inter's Semi-Final matchup against rivals AC Milan, I said that Inter was a solid dark horse to win the competition. Making it to the Finals is a great step in winning the Champions League. Now they have to win a single game.
Unlike Man City, Inter doesn't have a singular goal threat like Erling Haaland. Milan's top four scorers combined - Dzeko, Lukaku, Barella and Martinez - have only one more goal in this competition than Manchester City's Haaland and his 12 tallies.
In match week 37, Lukaku, Barella and Martinez all scored as Inter won 3-2 over Atalanta. So these three are at the top of their game going forward.
That multi-headed aspect of Inter's attack forces their opponents to try and keep all of those aforementioned players quiet. And, well, that's not easy to do, as evidenced by the fact they're in the Finals for the first time since 2009-10, when they won the competition.
There's value in betting on Milan to cause a massive upset, but I can't imagine a different outcome than Manchester City winning. With that being said, the last two Champions League winners were dogs going into the Finals.
Last 10 Champions League Winners
The last three Champions League winners had opening odds above +1000. The only sides that are still in the tournament that had opening odds above +1000 are:
Remember what I said about Inter being a strong dark horse?!
There’s some serious value to be had in this competition if you predict the winner before the tournament begins. Heck, even the favorites are +200 as the Round of 8 approaches. There’s still value to be had.