It was another pulsating night of Champions League action on Tuesday, with plenty of shocks, some high quality play and more English misery.
It is always interesting to see how the bookmakers’ odds fluctuate after a set of matches, and with just two rounds of fixtures played from six there is still plenty of time for the landscape to change.
So let’s see how Tuesday’s results have affected the market prices, and see if we can dig out some lovely betting value to enjoy:
Barcelona are arguably quite short at 1/8 to be Group E winner, and as Tuesday’s comeback win over Bayer Leverkusen proves they are just so hard to beat that only the hardiest of punter would bet against them.
BATE Borisov’s 3-2 win over Roma, meanwhile, really put the cat amongst the pigeons, but even so you’d have to fancy the Group E runner up slot to be contested by the Italians and Leverkusen.
It’s the Germans who have a two-point lead heading into their head-to-head at the BayArena on October 20, and their home form has been good so far this season; with four wins from five in all competitions. Roma, meanwhile, have won just once in their last five games, and that makes Leverkusen the favourites heading into this crucial encounter. At odds of 8/11 to qualify, they really do represent smart value.
Arsenal’s 2-3 home loss to Olympiakos sent shockwaves through the Champions League ranks, and whilst the Gunners hardly have a glittering European record in recent years they were still highly fancied to overcome the Greeks – to the tune of 1/3 with most bookies.
Arsene Wenger’s men have shown a remarkable inability to defend on the big stage, and whilst they are only three points behind Olympiakos and Dinamo Zagreb, their next game is against the mighty Bayern Munich. They will need to pick up something, anything, from that to have any chance of qualification. The French gaffer is still in confident mood however.
It’s hard to see anyone other than Bayern topping Group E, and the battle for second could come down to the last match of the group phase: Zagreb will entertain the German champions, whilst Olympiakos host Arsenal. For value fans (and optimists), the Gunners can be backed from 3/1 to finish second in the group.
The bookmakers seem convinced that Chelsea’s recent run of form is a blip, rather than anything more sinister, and still fancy them to top Group G (5/6) or at the very least qualify (1/6).
But Tuesday’s loss at FC Porto – alongside their ongoing woes on domestic soil – mean that, for now at least, Mourinho’s men should be avoided. A trip to Dynamo Kiev is up next on October 20, and that will prove a tough assignment too.
Instead it’s Porto who offer the very best value at 2/9 to qualify from Group G. They’ve already picked up a handy point in Kiev and turned over the Blues at home, and so a victory at home against Maccabi Tel Aviv in their next outing will take them to seven points – and that should be enough to see them progress. The Portuguese giants have yet to lose a game this season, and are formidable on their own turf.
Zenit St Petersburg have set an impressive pace in Group H – a fantastic 3-2 win at the Mestalla against Valencia backed up with a rudimentary 2-1 triumph over Gent. They host Lyon in their next encounter, and even a point against the French side should be enough to see them through.
Elsewhere, Valencia look great value at 2/5 to qualify. They may have lost in Russia, but a nail biting 1-0 win in Lyon moved them onto three points and left the Frenchmen on a solitary point.
The Spaniards host bottom-dwellers Gent in their next Champions League clash, and assuming they win that – and Lyon only manage a point against Zenit – Valencia will open up a four-point gap with just three games to play.
And so we’ve got the makings of a nice four-leg acca here:
- Barcelona Group E Winner – 1/8
- Bayer Leverkusen to Qualify from Group E – 8/11
- Porto to Qualify from Group G – 2/9
- Valencia to Qualify from Group H – 2/5
- Acca Odds: 3.3/1