Although punters after some bang for their buck were rooting for Monaco and Athletico Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals, purists have got the final they wanted on 3 June 2017: Real Madrid versus Juventus. A punting conundrum is what happens when an irresistible force (the Madrid attack) meets an impenetrable resistance (an undefeated Juventus side).
Should punters be looking to bet on football markets based around a cagy 0-0 or 1-1 with extra time and penalties? Is there enough flair and intent on both sides to veer the smart bettor towards a higher scoring game? What markets are offering the most value for the Finals? This online betting preview takes a closer look...
Real Madrid and Juventus will meet for the 19th time in the Champions League (or European Cup) when they clash in Cardiff. With eight wins each, the stats couldn't be much closer. Of course, it's hardly a scientific approach to punting to bring past results into calculations.
But at least we know that neither side is carrying the weight of a superstitious hoodoo or facing a psychological barrier. Ladbrokes has the game tightly priced-up for normal time; Read Madrid are currently available at 8/5, with Juventus at 19/10 and and a draw sitting at 11/5.
Twenty-two different clubs have won the Champions League, but Madrid are undeniably a dominant force. They won its first ever running, as well as ten later victories. As for Juventus, they have a mixed pedigree; they've won it twice, but also have held the title of runner-up in the final a record number of six times.
Madrid are burdened by the challenge of becoming the first side to win back-to-back Champions League finals once again, after they won the gong five times in a row between 1956 and 1960. Ladbrokes are calling it 4/5 for Real Madrid lifting the trophy this Saturday, with Juventus at odds of 19/20 to do the same.
Both sides have excelled domestically this season, but does this give us much scope when it comes to value football punting? Real Madrid won La Liga in good style, while Juventus claimed Seria A for the sixth time in succession.
Of course, this doesn't really give us any big betting clues, with the Spanish title in essence a perennial three-horse race and Juventus' Italian domination saying as much about the lack of depth than their own innate brilliance.
Away in La Liga, Real Madrid recorded top-ranking stats:
|Games Played||Games Won||Games Drawn||Games Lost|
Juventus could only manage rank three in Seria A:
|Games Played||Games Won||Games Drawn||Games Lost|
There's an argument that Juventus haven't travelled very well domestically, but their unbeaten Champions League campaign also makes this a moot point – particularly when it includes a shut out in the Nou Camp and performing the near miracle of not conceding against Barcelona over two legs. In the big games, this side can play a bit and are frequently a good bet for football backers.
What's more, Juventus have an ultra-tight defence – unarguably the best in this season's competition according to the statistics. They've only conceded three goals; a shut-out in the final would see them equal Ajax' 1995/96 record for the fewest goals conceded in a campaign. If they kept Barca to no goals over two legs, there's a strong chance they'll play on the break and look to nick a 1-0 win, available at 14/1 with bet365.
However, that said, if you follow trends, then there's a case to be made against Juve and their solid defence. Ajax lost on penalties in 95/96, while Arsenal also lost in 2005/06 despite being like Fort Knox when it comes to secure defences. This might make 0-0 after 90 minutes and Madrid to win on penalties – an astute punt with bet365, at 12/1.
Nevertheless, Juventus are a genuine high-class outfit, marshalled by Gianluigi Buffon – a legend of the game who has never won a Champions League medal (a fact that's sure to swing a few punters in the direction of Juve). With the flair of Dybala and the clinical finishing of €90 million former Madrid man, Gonzalo Higuain, Juventus can hardly be called underdogs in this ultra-tight fixture.
Of course, there's also the mighty attack of Madrid to bring into the picture, with them smashing in 32 goals on the way to the final, a fact that makes them 19/10 to win the tie with bet365. Additionally, a number of post-millennium Champions League finals have produced some high scoring games – including 3-0, 3-3, 3-1 (twice) and 4-1. Ronaldo remains the man for the big occasion.
Ronaldo's record in a Madrid shirt when facing Juventus is played five, scored five. Nine finals since 2000 have finished over 2.5 goals with seven under; bet365 go 11/10 under 2.5 and 4/6 over. The combined goals total of the semi-finals (over two legs) was 11 – an average of 2.75 goals per game. Of the four games, only Juventus' first leg 0-2 victory in Monaco finished under 2.5 goals. If used as a guide to the final, there could be goals!
For all the punditry surrounding this season's Champions League Final, the fact is it's extremely hard to call – Juventus are odds on at 15/8 and Madrid at 31/20 with Coral – says it all. That's why a lot of punters are taking the draw at 21/10 with Coral. Backing a half-time/full-time draw also appeals, potentially in an accumulator with an extra-time winner or one side to win on penalties.
This season's Champions League Final may well end with a romantic finale to the enigmatic Gianluigi Buffon's career, or the heralding of another epic back-to-back win from the ultimate Champions League champions. For all the latest Champions League Final odds and markets, head over to bet365 Sports and enjoy a generous bonus offer exclusively offered through Gambling.com!