There is no competition in club football that can claim to come close to the UEFA Champions League. The tournament sees the best club sides from around Europe go head to head in the battle for supremacy. It has created some of the sports most iconic moments down the years and is a lucrative betting option for punters.
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The competition itself begins in late June with the playoffs, with the group stage starting in late September and ending in December. Four teams are drawn into groups, with the majority of the heavyweights being kept separate due to the seedings. The two teams that progress from each group, then move onto the double round-robin competition.
The group winners will face sides who finished second, with the runners-up forced to play the second leg away from home. The competition keeps progressing in these knockout games until only two remain. The final takes place in either late May or June depending on the scheduling. The winners are then awarded a place in the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.
Europe’s premier club competition was first introduced in 1955 as the European Champion Clubs’ Cup. During these early years, it was mainly a straight knockout competition and involved just club sides that had achieved domestic success. However, it changed in 1992 to the format that we are more familiar with today except for one exception; it has expanded in the number of sides involved.
Most leagues around Europe only have one space available for their club sides, while the biggest domestic leagues such as England, Spain, Germany and France have multiple spots available. The Champions League has been won by 22 different clubs, with 12 of the teams having won it more than once.
Real Madrid have the honour of winning the competition the most, as they have won it on 13 occasions. Meanwhile, Liverpool are the reigning champions. Spanish sides have recorded the most victories in the competition (18), while England have the most teams that have won the Champions League (Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest).
Betting on the UEFA Champions League
Like all of the major footballing competitions, there is more than one way to bet on the Champions League. There are both ante-post and individual match betting options available, with both presenting lucrative betting options for punters.
The most popular way to bet on the Champions League in the ante-post market is by putting a stake on the team that you believe will win. This can be a lucrative avenue for betting as there are numerous sides that will have a good chance of winning. The odds for this market will change throughout the season depending on form and the draws that they have been given.
You can also take advantage of the each-way value in this market, as you can get returns if your chosen team finishes as runners up. For instance, if you bet on Bayern Munich to win the Champions League with an each-way option, you will get returns if they get to the final. However, the returns will be slashed should they lose in the showpiece event.
|2015-16||Real Madrid||Atletico Madrid|
In the ante-post market you can also bet on the team’s that will win each of the respective groups. There are eight groups in total during the group stages and they are ordered from Group A to Group H. Punters can lay their stake on the team that they believe will win the group when the draw is made, and should that team progress as group winners then they will win the returns.
The quality of players competing in the Champions League is unparalleled. The very best players in the world leave their mark on this competition, and the best way to do that is by finishing as the Golden Boot winner. Punters can bet on the player that will score the most goals in the competition. If their pick wins, then they are rewarded with the returns. There is value in this market since there are so many high-quality forwards involved.
|Season||Golden Boot Winner|
|2018-19||Lionel Messi (12)|
|2017-18||Cristiano Ronaldo (15)|
|2016-17||Cristiano Ronaldo (12)|
|2015-16||Cristiano Ronaldo (16)|
|2014-15||Lionel Messi/ Cristiano Ronaldo/ Neymar (All 10)|
Individual Match Betting
The most common way to bet on any Champions League fixture is by placing a stake on the result. Punters will put their money on either one of the sides, or the draw. It is important to understand for matches that go to extra time in the knockout rounds that this market revolves around the winning team after 90 minutes. The bet is won should the punter have staked their money on the winning team.
When it gets to the knockout stages, then this market is a popular pick for punters. Instead of betting on the team that will win the individual matches, punters will instead wager on who will progress. It removes the draw from the equation and as long as the team that the punter has betted on goes through then the bet is won.
Both Teams To Score
Punters don’t need to just correctly predict the winning team to win money. Instead, they can opt to lay their stake on either yes or no revolving around the question of whether both teams will score. For example, if a punter puts a bet on yes for a match between Real Madrid and Manchester City, then both teams will have to find the net at least once for the bet to be a winner.
The over/under markets are also extremely popular for Champions League matches. Here, punters can put their money on whether there will be more or fewer cards, corners or goals in a game than the benchmark set by the bookmaker. For instance, a bookmaker may set a benchmark on 3.5 goes for a fixture between Barcelona and Juventus. If the punter thinks there will be more than four goals, then they would put their stake on over.
One of the hardest markets to predict is the correct score. Here, punters will need to be exactly correct on their bet to win the potential returns. This market can also be joined with the first goalscorer market to be even more lucrative. However, the punter will have to be exactly right with the player to score the first goal and the end scoreline in order to win.
This market could be lucrative in the group stages of the competition but is less used in the knockout rounds. It is the best way to get additional value on the teams that are favourites as they would start with a disadvantage. For example, in a fixture between PSG and Galatasaray, the French side may start with a handicap of -2.5. If a punter bets on them to win with that handicap, then they will need to win by at least three goals for the bet to be a winner.
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