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Champions League: Favorable Draw Sees Man City Grab Top Odds

With the group draw for the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League now complete, the world’s best club competition can commence and bettors can begin handicapping the odds to win the European Cup which have Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City pegged as +450 favorites.

I’ll take a quick look at each group, break down my favorite futures bets and identify clubs that should potentially be avoided.

Group A

An eclectic mix, Group A is headlined by Atletico Madrid, the reigning Europa League champions and 2014, 2016 UCL runners-up. Atleti’s +1200 odds to finally win the competition are by far the shortest in the group with Borussia Dortmund (+6600), Monaco (+20000) and Club Brugge (+50000) queuing up respectively.

Of the four clubs, three have been to the UCL final at least once in the last 15 years but the only side with a real shot at lifting the trophy is the Diego Simeone-led Atletico Madrid at 12/1.

Both Dortmund and Monaco have been stricken by the scourge of business in recent years, losing talented players (and managers) and failing to find adequate replacements.

Look for the German side to squeak through to the knockout stage where they’ll most likely be dealt das boot back to the domestic league.

  • Atletico Madrid -200
  • Borussia Dortmund +325
  • Monaco +500
  • Club Brugge +3300

Group B

If we’re going to have a “Group of Death” conversation, Group B has to be in it. Barcelona (+600), Tottenham (+2000), Inter Milan (+5000) and PSV Eindhoven (+25000) are all heavyweights in their respective domestic leagues and the first three are built to make it deep in a tournament such as this.

A summer of shrewd business moves has moved Inter Milan into position to recapture the club’s former glory and at 50/1, I’m considering a play. Group B will always be a battle for second place and given Tottenham’s ability to absolutely bottle it, I’ll give Inter the edge at that price.

  • Barcelona -225
  • Tottenham +300
  • Inter Milan +600
  • PSV Eindhoven +5000

Group C

Continuing our “Group of Death” chat, it’s Paris Saint-Germain (+700), Liverpool (+1200), Napoli (+5000) and Red Star Belgrade (no odds) compiling a stacked Group C that I personally cannot wait to watch play out.

PSG, Liverpool and Napoli play some of the most exciting football in Europe and watching them go head-to-head will be a treat that I’m not sure we’re worthy of. That said, PSG and Liverpool might be a bit overpriced at their current values considering the toughness of their draw and I’m a bit concerned about the Reds’ depth.

This kind of feels like a wait-and-see play for me.

  • PSG -110
  • Liverpool +135
  • Napoli +600
  • Red Star Belgrade +15000

Group D

Group D, or the Group of (Meh)th, as I’ve been calling it, could be fired into the sun and you wouldn’t hear many complaining. Schalke and Porto lead the way gallantly at +10000 apiece with Galatasaray and Lokomotiv Moscow filing in sheepishly behind at +25000 each.

No need to spend any more time on this group as there’s next to no chance that any of these clubs see a quarterfinal – barring a cupcake matchup, that is.

  • FC Porto +125
  • Schalke 04 +200
  • Galatasaray +500
  • Lokomotiv Moscow +550

Group E

On the receiving end of what has to be considered one of the best draws in the tournament, Bayern Munich should make easy work of Ajax, AEK Athens and Benfica en route to another deep Champions League run.

The 2013 European champions have made it to the semifinals or further in six of the last seven UCL campaigns and they narrowly missed out on another final in the spring when they lost 4-3 to the eventual champs.

  • Bayern Munich -700
  • Benfica +750
  • Ajax +1000
  • AEK Athens +8000

Group F

Speaking of lopsided groups, Group F definitely fits the bill with tournament favorites Manchester City the only club represented in the top half of the odds table at +450.

My advice here would be to wait if you plan on taking City. A line of 9/2 is far too short for a club that’s yet to prove itself on the European stage. If anything, this line will only move in the opposite direction if Pep’s boys slip up in the group stage or if they pull a tough draw in the first round of knockout games.

  • Manchester City -550
  • Lyon +800
  • Shakhtar Donetsk +1200
  • Hoffenheim +1600

Group G

Leading the way in Group G it’s the incumbent champs Real Madrid at +800 with Roma (+5000), CSKA Moscow (+25000) and Viktoria Plzen (+50000) filing in behind.

Los Blancos are obviously not the same club without Cristiano Ronaldo but this is their tournament. They’ve lifted the trophy four of the last five Champions League campaigns and made it to at least the semifinals eight straight years. While I am little hesitant to bet them at 8/1, it seems foolish to bet against this club.

It would take a minor miracle for either CSKA or Plzen to leapfrog Roma or Real to get through so you can go ahead and pencil the La Liga and Serie A sides into the tournament's knockout phase.

  • Real Madrid -600
  • Roma +450
  • CSKA Moscow +3300
  • FC Viktoria Plzen +4000

Group H

We’ll round out our discussion today with a very interesting Group H that will see Cristiano Ronaldo return to Old Trafford to play Manchester United  – the club that made him what he is.

Second-favorites to win the whole thing, Juventus is probably overvalued. CR7 moves the needle and that’s definitely the case here. While it’s likely they make a deep run with one of the strongest XI’s in the field, the Zebras are not better than teams like Barcelona, PSG and Bayern.

The way to play Juve could be to take them to win the group and then bet them match to match when the tournament kicks off.

  • Juventus -200
  • Manchester United +275
  • Valencia +550
  • Young Boys +10000

Here is the complete list of opening odds for the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League campaign:

2018-19 UEFA Champions League Odds
Manchester City+450
Paris Saint-Germain+700
Real Madrid+800
Bayern Munich+900
Atletico Madrid+1200
Tottenham Hotspur+2000
Manchester United+2500
AS Roma+5000
Inter Milan+5000
Borussia Dortmund+6600
Schalke 04+10000
FC Porto+10000
FC Porto+10000
FC Shakhtar Donetsk+20000
CSKA Moscow+25000
Lokomotiv Moscow+25000
PSV Eindhoven +25000
Club Brugge+50000
FC Viktoria Plzen+50000
AEK Athens+50000
Young Boys FC+100000

Odds as of August 31 at Bovada

Bet on UEFA Champions League here!

Archived Articles

It may have taken some pre-karius goaltending, but Real Madrid lifted its third consecutive Champions League Trophy on Saturday, becoming the first club to accomplish that feat since Bayern in the mid-1970s and the very first to do so in the UCL era. Despite that, Real opened with +600 odds to win a fourth straight Champions League title next season with La Liga rivals Barcelona and Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City pegged slightly higher on the UCL oddsboard.

This doesn’t come as a massive shock with Real facing an uneasy transfer window but after three years of European dominance, betting against Los Blancos is becoming hard on the wallet.

That said, their aging cast struggled to keep up with Barcelona in La Liga this season, finishing 17 points back of the Lionel Messi-led Catalonians, and if they begin the rebuild this summer, next year’s prospects of hardware could be grim.

Further down the opening oddsboard from Bovada, you’ll find the Champions League runners-up and at +1000, you’re not getting a good deal or anything but this is a club that’s just stuffed the coffers, aligning their silver-medal UCL run with a successful Premier League campaign that saw them finish fourth on the table. Already reeling in Fabinho on a 39-million pound fee, the Reds have been linked with countless outgoing stars and it looks like they’re set to become an absolute powerhouse.

Look for updates throughout the summer as transfers are completed and clubs are decimated but in the meantime, enjoy the opening odds and take them with a spoonful of salt.

Here is the complete list of opening odds for the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League campaign:

2018-19 UEFA Champions League Odds
FC Barcelona+450
Manchester City+550
Real Madrid+600
Bayern Munich+700
Paris SG+900
Atletico Madrid+1400
Manchester United+1400
Borussia Dortmund+2500
Tottenham Hotspur+2500
AS Roma+4000
Inter Milan+4000
Schalke 04+6600
FC Porto+10000
FC Shakhtar Donetsk+15000
CSKA Moscow+20000
Lokomotiv Moscow+20000
PSV Eindhoven +20000
Dynamo Kiev+25000
Club Brugge+35000
Spartak Moscow+35000
AEK Athens+50000
FC Salzburg+50000
FC Viktoria Plzen+50000
Young Boys FC+50000
Standard Liege+100000

Odds as of May 29 at Bovada

Bet on UEFA Champions League here!