at NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium, Kiev
The Champions League is Europe’s biggest club football tournament and is the subject of a lot of betting action throughout its season. Picking a tournament winner is never easy and neither is group stage or match by match betting, as the competition can provide surprises at every corner. All the top online bookies provide a wealth of Champions League betting options, the best of which we’ve covered below. The competition provides a tough environment to play in, even for the best of players, and this is certainly reflected in the odds at the bookies each season. The mixture of playstyles can be off putting for certain teams who may be used to playing a particular type of football.
For example, Serie A is considered a physically tough league with plenty of tackling compared to La Liga where skill and flair play a bigger part. The confluence of playstyles from different leagues provides fans with incredible football and is a core part of why Champions League betting remains incredibly popular. While some teams will be running the show at home, they can easily bow out early in Europe if they fail to mirror their domestic form. Perhaps most difficult of all with regards to Champions League betting is picking a top goal scorer, because as with most other interleague football tournaments, the goal scoring form of a player (similar to a team's overall performance) can be unpredictable compared to their domestic season. Read on for all you need to know about wagering all the top markets throughout the Champions League tournament each year!
Beginning with three knockout qualifying rounds in July before most domestic European leagues have even laced their boots, the UEFA Champions League is quickly whittled down to 32 elite teams who compete in the group stage. The winner of each group plays the runners-up of another group which ultimately decides the 8 teams that will play in the knockout phase of the tournament. Knockout games are played in a two-legged (home and away for each team) format, with the exception of the final which is normally held in the last 2 weeks of May.
Picking a tournament winner is no mean feat. Since it was founded in 1952, 22 teams have triumphed, and even since its rebranding in 1992 there have been 13 different winners. In fact, the UEFA Champions League is so competitive that no team has retained the title since AC Milan won in 1989 and 1990. Over the past two decades, 80% of winners were either winners or runners-up in their domestic league during the preceding season. Interestingly though, every Champions League winner between 2012 and 2015 had finished runners-up in the preceding domestic season; so it seems talent and hunger is a useful combination. In recent seasons Real Madrid have triumphed, with Champions League wins in the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 competitions. If you’re not quite ready to pick a tournament winner, backing a team to reach the final, or to exit at a specific stage of the tournament, can be a better way to capitalise on your knowledge.
Unlike domestic leagues like the Premier League in England, deciding on who will score the most goals in the Champions League comes down to two key factors: weak opposition in the group stages and the potential for the team to progress. Sometimes this means backing the big names, but surprises aren't uncommon. Take into account the player’s form in their domestic season to see whether they’re in firing form.
With fewer teams involved in each group, betting in the group winner market and backing teams to qualify (or not) have far fewer variables than the tournament market on the whole. As a result, odds will be slightly lower, but you have a good chance of earning small, regular returns. If you think you’ve spotted a particularly divided group, or a striker who could surprise, but perhaps not last the distance to finish as top goal scorer in the tournament, many online gambling sites also allow you to bet on group and team top goal scorers. The group stages are also better indicators of the ultimate winner than you may think. Many recent Champions League winners have won their groups on the way to the final, so don’t be afraid to make bold predictions based on success early on.
Individual match betting in the UEFA Champions League also has a distinct flavour. As well as assessing the usual mix of form, strengths, weaknesses and strategy, there are additional considerations to factor in. Talk of a ‘Champions League hangover’ dominates domestic leagues following midweek Champions League fixtures, and there can be no doubt that this factors into managers' calculations. With key matches approaching in domestic leagues, you may want to consider whether a manager will rest his best players players: particularly against weaker opposition.
This can have an effect on numerous markets, from the final result to more specific markets, including total goals scored. Once the tournament reaches the knockout phases, match tactics are also affected by the fact that matchups are contested over two legs. Reluctance to concede away goals, the advantage of playing the home leg first and the need to overcome aggregate scores should all be factored into gamblers’ betting strategies.
If you’re considering getting into Champions League betting, the chances are you’ll want to get right into the action. In-play betting when it comes to football betting is the best way to do just that. When betting on player markets, such as first, last, or next goal scorer, it’s worth tracking a player’s domestic form to see if there’s been a dip since their last Champions League outing. On the broader markets, tracking the ebb and flow of a game is vital. Watch for key changes like cards, substitutions and changing formations, which can give an indication that a team is about to switch up their game. Live statistics, shown in the in-play betting console of top gambling sites, are also vital in obtaining an objective overview and monitoring tricky stats.
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