It’s still a few months until the 2017 UEFA Champions League Final kicks off at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, but the herd has already been thinned down to the final 16 teams left fighting for the crown.
With some of the first legs having already taken place, players and punters alike are getting a sense of which teams are going to be left standing in the quarter-finals and which ones will be sent for an early bath. Here's your betting preview of the best cheeky bets to earn you big returns this season!
Current Champions League cup holders Real Madrid managed a comfortable 3-1 win against Napoli during the first leg at home at the Bernabeu Stadium. The Italian visitors, who have been on striking form in Serie A, caused an early upset with a quick goal from Lorenzo Insigne eight minutes after the game kicked off.
Real soon equalised, with Karim Benzema capitalising on Dani Carvajal’s meticulous cross. Napoli held their own for the remainder of the first half, only to be pummelled in the second by a goal from Toni Kroos. This was swiftly followed five minutes later by a megaton volley from Brazilian midfielder Casemiro, which sealed the Real win.
Real’s form looks set to continue to shine when they visit the Stadio San Paolo on the 7 March. If they win, this will be their seventh UEFA quarter-final appearance in a row. Much has been made of the lack of goals coming from Cristiano Ronaldo, who stattos have calculated has gone 523 minutes playing in Champions League games without a goal.
Although he missed a sitter in the first half, he was unselfish in his play, and set up Kroos’ second goal. Napoli will have the home advantage next time, but not only must they win to keep their UEFA dream alive, they must do it in spectacular fashion to erase the two-goal difference. The double team of Insigne and Marek Hamsik, who often obliterated the Real defence, could make this a real possibility.
Online betting site Ladbrokes has pegged the current champions as favourite for the second leg game, with odds of 7/5 to win and 1/10 to qualify. However, the bookmaker is not ruling Napoli out either, with slightly longer odds of 13/8 to win the game, but longer odds of 6/1 to qualify for the quarter-finals.
If you think both teams are going to score, as they did in Game One, then the odds are 4/9. If you think one team will manage to deny the other any goals, the odds are 7/4. Confident punters might also want to look at combining this with the match result.
Ladbrokes is offering 3/1 that both teams will score, but that Napoli will win. For the same bet but with Real Madrid triumphant, the odds are slightly shorter at 11/4, but still worth a wager.
Just like the game in Spain, Arsenal and Bayern were tied by the first half at the Allianz Arena in Germany. Alexis Sanchez managed to equalise for the English side right on the 30-minute mark, cancelling out the earlier goal from Dutch winger Arjen Robben.
It was a definite game of two halves, as Bayern brought Arsenal nothing but hurt and pain when they returned to the pitch. An injured Koscielny struggled to leave the pitch, and shortly after he did, Lewandowski headed home a cracker of a goal.
With the wind knocked out of their sails, Arsenal looked rudderless as Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara managed to score twice in the space of ten minutes to give the German side an insurmountable lead.
Muller’s goal in the 88th minute was the final nail in the coffin for Arsenal and a cruel indictment of what has now become the team’s unwanted tradition of crashing out the UEFA cup in spectacular style. But can they claw it back at the Emirates?
With such a disastrous first game, many would have expected the odds of an Arsenal victory in Game Two to be bigger, but online betting sites like Ladbrokes is offering 9/5, although the Germans are still favourites to win with odds of 5/4. Winning and qualifying for the quarter-finals is two different things and with a four-goal difference, Arsenal’s odds are now riding at 25/1, whereas Bayern Munich are sitting comfortably at 1/200.
Looking at the half-time/full-time bets, punters would get 5/1 on it being a draw at half time but Bayern leading by the final whistle, which is what happened in the first leg. For the same bet but with Arsenal winning by the end of play, you could get slightly longer odds of 6/1. For draws at both half time and full time, Ladbrokes is offering similar odds as 11/2.
If you think Arsenal could lead the visitors in the first half, only to lose in the second, there are tempting odds of 22/1. For the same bet but reversed, with Bayern leading, only for Arsene Wenger’s men to pull a win out of the bag, Ladbrokes is offering an enticing 25/1. If you think you could guess the score exactly, then there are some very good odds as well.
For a mellow 1-0 win to Arsenal, Ladbrokes is offering 12/1, and for Bayern to win from only one goal is 11/1. Gunner fans who think their team might keep the score 2-0 would get odds of 16/1, while 3-0 would net punters 28/1. If Arsenal manage to do the unthinkable and erase the four-goal difference with a defiant 4-0 victory, Ladbrokes is currently offering very long odds at 66/1.
However, if Bayern bring their A-game and match what happened in Germany, a 5-1 repeat hammering by the visitors would get incredible odds of 75/1. So if you think you know which of these teams will be sailing or scrapping their way into the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, why not visit Ladbrokes for all the best markets in football betting today? If you join now, the British bookmaker is offering you a £50 free bet.