It’s all go in this 2016/17 season: not content with four action-packed gameweeks in the Premier League and an international break, we now have the Champions League to look forward to in midweek.
Prior to the big kick-off we took a look at the runners and riders for this year’s competition, and picked out some rather handsomely priced Champions League betting tips just for you:
Group Stage Betting
There’s no better place to start than Group A, where Arsenal will quietly fancy their chances of topping the pile after witnessing PSG’s rather flaccid start to the campaign. A defeat at Monaco has been followed by a draw with St Etienne from the French champions, and with Arsenal getting their away trip to Paris out of the way as early as Tuesday they will surely go quite close by the end of the first phase of the competition.
We’re certainly happy to advise the Gunners leading home Group A anyway at 7/4, with PSG trailing in second also available at the 7/4 mark.
Group B looks a rather closer affair with all four sides – Napoli, Dynamo Kiev, Benfica and Besiktas – having a shout of progression, although it’s the Naples outfit who appeal as group winner at 6/5. So far, they have coped admirably with the loss of Gonzalo Higuain.
Group C will be dominated by Manchester City Pep Guardiola’s return to Barcelona, and in truth those two sides should qualify for the knockout phase quite comfortably ahead of Borussia M’gladbach and Celtic. City were paired with the German outfit in last season’s competition you may recall, winning both the home and away ties. Betting wise, there isn’t much to write home about.
The same can be said for Group D, where Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid should be streets ahead of PSV and FC Rostov, although Group D looks rather more interesting. Here Spurs will be looking to outfox Monaco, Bayer Leverkusen and CSKA Moscow; a real Group of Death if ever there was one.
As ever, the concern for Spurs will be in keeping Harry Kane fit and firing, and while CSKA are beatable – Manchester United took four points off them last season under Louis van Gaal, Monaco and Leverkusen will prove much tougher nuts to crack. The Germans in particular are a quality outfit, and look great value at 8/13 to qualify in first or second.
Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund should ascend with ease from Group E although Portuguese champions Sporting Lisbon won’t go down without a fight, and in Group G, well, Leicester couldn’t have wished for a more agreeable bracket on their Champions League debut. We’ll mark Porto down as favourites, but there is no reason why the Foxes can’t best Club Brugge and Copenhagen regardless of their inconsistent start to the campaign. Take Claudio’s men to reach the last 16 at 9/4 by finishing second.
Lyon have conceded seven goals in their last two Ligue 1 encounters, and that defensive frailty will probably ensure that Juventus and Sevilla qualify from Group H without a hitch. The Spaniards look as strong as ever at home, and while Juve will no doubt take top honours an obvious punt of 4/7 on Sevilla to qualify will add value to your Champions League accumulator.
Champions League Outright Betting
Of the six teams to contend the last three Champions League finals five have been Spanish, so clearly this appears to be the most obvious place to start.
Real Madrid are going into the tournament as defending champions and with largely the same squad as they had last season. In contrast, Barcelona have brought in Paco Alcacer, while last season’s key signing Arda Turan is finally looking like the player we know he can be. Their addition will enable one or more of Messi, Neymar or Suarez to be rested ahead of key Champions League ties, and such strength in depth means they are a worthy bookmakers favourite for this tournament at 7/4.
Carlo Ancelotti is a two-time winner of the Champions League as a manager, and his Bayern Munich side are outstanding at home. They are worthy of interest at 4/1, although that price is a little short to derive much each way value from.
Of the English contingent it is Manchester City (12/1) that make for the most interesting proposition. Pep Guardiola has a fine record in this tournament of course, and they look a far stronger outfit with the Spaniard at the helm. If he can get Vincent Kompany back fit, strong and healthy, that price look exceptional each way value.