As the 2016/17 season draws closer we’re looking at ante-post betting in all of the major football events of the next 12 months. In our football tips section you’ll find previews of the major competitions and our tips for the winner of each. Of course, the ultimate prize in club football is the Champions League and the odds for next year’s competition make interesting reading.
Real Madrid claimed their second European title in three years as they beat city rivals Atletico once again in the final. Ronaldo scored the winning penalty in a shootout after the match had ended 1-1, the first trophy of a very successful summer for the Portuguese star. It was heartbreak yet again for Atletico, who had suffered defeat just two years earlier at the hands of their Madrid neighbours, but they might just hold the key to a value bet in next year’s competition.
The Usual Suspects
Barcelona head the market at general odds of +350 which is no huge surprise considering they’ve won three of the last eight renewals. They beat Manchester United in the finals of 2009 and 2011, and Juventus in 2015, but it was Atletico who got the better of them in last year’s tournament at the quarter final stage. The trio of Messi, Neymar and Suarez look set to stay put though, and the former’s retirement from international football may be a boost to his domestic form.
Bayern Munich come next at +500 but despite their pedigree and the quality of players they attract, they’ve still only won Europe’s top competition twice since the 1970’s. They won the memorable all-German final of 2013 against Borussia Dortmund, with the previous trophy coming via a penalty shootout against Valencia after a 1-1 draw in 2001. With Pep Guardiola leaving to take up his post at Manchester City, those odds look decidedly short on the perennial German Champions lifting the Champions League.
Real Madrid would surely represent a better bet at the same price of +500 as they bid for their third Champions League title in four seasons. The likes of Ronaldo and Bale will be keen to defend their trophy, but the powers that be at Real might also be looking to win the Spanish title having failed to do so in each of the last four years. It’s also worth remembering that no club has successfully defended the European Cup/Champions League since AC Milan won it in 1989 and 1990.
Looking For Value
None of the big three appeal from a betting perspective at this stage for those punters looking for a bigger price, and of course, a bet on one of the other sides can easily be laid off later in the tournament should they progress to the knockout stages.
Manchester City are next in the betting markets at +1200 and after reaching the semi final stage last year, where they lost out by a single goal to Real Madrid, there are reasons to think they could go even further this time around. They’ve brought in Pep Guardiola to replace Manuel Pellegrini and he will have one of the biggest budgets in European football to play with over the summer. They already possess the qualities of the likes of Silva, De Bruyne and Aguero, and the experience of the last two campaigns will stand them in good stead. On the negative side there is the fragile defence that English football viewers saw for much of last season, and surely Guardiola’s hardest task will be to rebuild his back four.
PSG are regular knockout contenders in the Champions League, and the bookmakers make them +1600 to lift the trophy this season. They fell at the last eight stage last year at the hands of Manchester City though, and after the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic there are question marks over whether they will be stronger or weaker this time around. They should walk the French League again, but one doubts that they have the required quality and experience to live with Europe’s finest – as they have found out over the last couple of years.
Atletico Madrid stand out in the markets at the same price of +1600 with BetVictor, Bet365 and BoyleSports, and they are a solid selection after reaching the final in two of the last three years. They’ve been beaten in each of the three campaigns by their bitter rivals and that will offer huge motivation this season. A quarter final defeat at the hands of Real in the 2014/15 season is sandwiched in-between the two final defeats, but in none of the three games have Atletico been outplayed or outclassed. The news that Griezmann and Simeone are staying at the club was welcome relief earlier in the summer, and with a few additions there’s no reason why this club can’t compete at the top of Spanish and European football once again.
Atletico Madrid to Win the Champions League