Champions League 2018 Betting Guide: Where’s the Smart Money Going?

Football Stadium During Champions League Match
Credit: Guillaume Baviere (Cropped), flickr

The Champions League returns on Tuesday evening in what is said to be one of the most exciting for some time.

The big news at the start of this season is that Cristiano Ronaldo, who won the tournament last year with Real Madrid, now lines up for Juventus in one of the deals of the summer. Juventus have been knocking on the door for some time now, so could the inclusion of Ronaldo finally be the catalyst to get “The Old Lady” over the line?

As part of our pre-tournament build up now the dust has settled and matchday one is upon us, we look through each group to see where the best bets are coming and which teams or players are serving up some tasty value.

Group A

Team Guide Price to Win Group Guide Price to Qualify
Atletico Madrid 1/2 1/10
Borussia Dortmund 3/1 1/3
Monaco 6/1 7/4
Club Brugge 33/1 8/1

We kick off with this years “Group of Death”, which includes Monaco, Dortmund, Atletico Madrid and Club Brugge.

There’s little doubt that Atletico are going to be going off as strong favourites to win the group, and rightly so with 2 final appearances and last year’s Europa League winners, even after finishing behind Chelsea and Roma in their Champions League group.

But, priced at 1.5 to win the group and almost no price to qualify from the group, they offer up little value. Dortmund are without doubt their strongest rivals in Group A and have had a strong start to their domestic campaign in the Bundesliga.

We’re keen to take on the straight forecast of Atletico/Dortmund, which can be taken around the 11/8 mark with most bookies.

Group B

Team Guide Price to Win Group Guide Price to Qualify
Barcelona 1/2 1/10
Tottenham Hotspur 3/1 1/2
Inter Milan 6/1 11/8
PSV Eindhoven 40/1 8/1

“Group of Death” part 2? Maybe. But, what we do know is that Group B is another that is going to be highly competitive.

Whilst Barcelona are the highlights of the group, the start to the season that Inter have encountered really does crack the door wide open to that of Spurs and PSV to stake a claim and make the knockout stages. The Serie A side have lost twice in four games, first a shock defeat away to Sassuolo, but also, and even more damaging, a home loss to that of Parma.

Spurs actually have a pretty poor at Wembley in the Champions League though and this is where they are likely going to be playing at least the opening couple of home fixtures before moving into their new home, with their relatively poor start to the season somewhat of a concern for the manager.

Whilst not much of a price, Barcelona to win Group B at odds of 1/2 is probably about as best value as we could find from the market.

Group C

Team Guide Price to Win Group Guide Price to Qualify
Paris Saint-Germain 10/11 1/5
Liverpool 11/8 1/4
Napoli 6/1 5/4
Crvena Zvezda 100/1 20/1

Group C includes the second English side in the coemption in the form of Liverpool. Their blistering start to the season and the fact they were last years runners up means that it would be a big shock for them to not make it out of the group.

Having said that, both Napoli and PSG have made strong domestic starts to the season. PSG have won 5 from 5 games, scoring 17 goals in the process and Napoli have lost just once away to Sampdoria, leaving them second in the league. <//p>

It could come down to goal difference which means that results against FK Crevena could be crucial. For this, we have to take on the two big guns and again, we move into the straight forecast market, taking on Liverpool to win the group and PSG to finish second, priced at around 9/4.

Group D

Team Guide Price to Win Group Guide Price to Qualify
FC Porto 5/4 4/9
Schalke 04 7/4 4/7
Galatasary 5/1 13/8
Lokomotiv Moscow 11/2 5/4

Flip a coin for your Group D selections! A dream group for all of these teams as it’s not inconceivable that any of them could quite easily make the knockout stages, which would be a huge achievement for all clubs involved.

The two standout teams have to go that of Porto and Schalke, who domestically both play in tougher leagues than the other two teams and will have a little more quality on show throughout. Having said that, Galatasaray away are games that few opposition players relish!

Porto and Schalke look the obvious choices, and this is where we are going with this bet. The dual forecast (both teams to qualify in any order) is priced at around 2/1 for this and seems to offer the best value from a tough group.

Group E

Team Guide Price to Win Group Guide Price to Qualify
Bayern Munich 1/7 1/25
Benfica 7/1 10/11
Ajax 10/1 6/5
AEK Athens 50/1 5/1

Bayern Munich are strong favoruties to comfortabley make it through Group E. Whislt it may not look the most exciting on paper, often you will find that any of the three picks after them could be argued for and against.

The standout is that of Benfica for us and they just get the nod over Ajax, even though both teams are unbeaten domestically. Even though the portugese team fair terribly last seaosn, they are aa year older and wiser for it, with Ajax still offering up a very young, if not exciting team.

Our bet would be for Benfica to qualify at odds of around 10/11.

Group F

Team Guide Price to Win Group Guide Price to Qualify
Manchester City 1/5 1/33
Lyon 9/1 11/10
Hoffenheim 14/1 6/4
Shakhtar Donetsk 14/1 15/8

One of the biggest questions that will arise this year, as it seems to every year, is if Man City can finally make a good run in the Champions League and convert their domestic dominance across Europe.

Guardiola will no doubt be desperate to make a successful campaign and they find themselves in a group that they should have little issues with. The others do lack a bit when it comes to consistency, which makes it tough to call as to who will join them in the knockout stages.

Shaktar Donesk have the most recent experience of the three teams and it’s for this reason why we would have to side with them. Dual forecast of Man City and Shaktar pays around 3/1 and is our pick for Group F.

Group G

Team Guide Price to Win Group Guide Price to Qualify
Real Madrid 2/9 1/33
Roma 7/2 1/4
CSKA Moscow 20/1 3/1
Viktoria Plzen 40/1 8/1

Life after Ronaldo and Zidane begins with a pretty favourable draw for Real Madrid. Group G should see them cruise through to the knockout stages with only Roma being able to put up much of a fight, even with long flights to Russia and Czech Republic on the cards.

Roma have got off to a strong start domestically and even after loosing both Allison and Nainggolan, should be enough to move forward.

Not much to bet on in Group G, but best of a bad bunch is the straight forecast of Real Madrid to win and Roma second priced around 8/11.

Group H

Team Guide Price to Win Group Guide Price to Qualify
Juventus 4/7 1/12
Manchester United 5/2 4/11
Valencia 6/1 11/8
BSC Young Boys 50/1 14/1

Jose Mourinho will be pleased to make a return to the Champions League after frustratingly being knocked out by Sevilla in the Round of 16 in last year’s competition. The Portuguese manager still divides United fans, but there is little doubt that his pedigree in the Champions League can be rivalled by few.

Adding an extra layer of spice to the group see’s Cristiano makes his opening European appearance with new side Juventus. The signing has caused a huge influx of bets on Juve to win the competition outright this year and finally get over the line.

But, they will both have tough games against Valencia and Young Boys, who are both gaining valuable experience within the top tier of European club football.

We’re going with a bit of an upset here and fancy Man United to pip Juve to group winners, priced around 5/2 offering great value.