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Juventus to top Group H is the best futures bet in the UEFA Champions League that kicks off on Tuesday with 32 teams dreaming of lifting the trophy in Cardiff next year.
Juventus made transfer history when it sold Paul Pogba back to Manchester United for a world record fee in August. Lay persons may think that losing the services of the planet’s most expensive player would weaken Juventus but one believes that Juventus is even stronger because of its summer deals, which included jettisoning Roberto Pereyra, Simone Zaza and Pogba while acquiring Dani Alaves, Miralem Panjic and Italian Serie A record breaker Gonzalo Higuain. No player has scored more goals in a single Italian Serie A season than Higuain, who netted 36 times for Napoli last term.
The excruciating UEFA Champions League group stage draw that featured former Juventus striker Ian Rush produced a section in which the Old Lady were placed in the same pool as Dinamo Zagreb, Lyon and Sevilla. One would be surprised if Juventus did not breeze into the UEFA Champions League knockout stage and, at odds of 57/100 1.57 -175 0.57 -1.75 0.57 with Bet365, Juve are overpriced to get through the last 16 as the winners of their four-team group.
The importance of the UEFA Champions League group stage draw with regards to the title is overstated – if a side cannot get out of its preliminary pool then it does not deserve to go all the way – but Juventus officials must have been happy at what Rush and several other ex-international superstars served up for their team. According to UEFA’s coefficients, Dinamo Zagreb is the 28th strongest of the 32 UEFA Champions League sides, Lyon finished 31 points adrift of French Ligue 1 winner Paris Saint-Germain last season and Sevilla was seventh in last term’s Spanish Primera Division. Sevilla qualified for the UEFA Champions League by virtue of its third consecutive UEFA Europa League success but it was 36 or more points behind Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at the end of the Spanish Primera Division, it did not win a single top-flight game away from home and its squad for this season is weaker following a series of departures headlined by Kevin Gameiro to Atletico.
Juventus will kick off its UEFA Champions League campaign with a home match against Sevilla on Wednesday, followed by what is on paper its easiest road versus Dinamo Zagreb two weeks later. One expects Juventus to get off to a UEFA Champions League flier and lead Group H by three points after two rounds. Dinamo Zagreb is out of its depth, Lyon has made a distinctly average start to its French Ligue 1 program – that is being polite – and Sevilla could not live with Barcelona in either Spanish Super Cup leg last month.
Tottenham is back in the UEFA Champions League for the first time since the 2010-2011 edition and one thinks that Spurs have what it takes to justify Group E favouritism ahead of CSKA Moskva, Leverkusen and Monaco. Marathonbet is offering odds of 36/25 2.44 +144 1.44 1.44 -0.69 that Tottenham qualifies for the UEFA Champions League last 16 by taking out what is relatively weak section.
CSKA Moskva has not made it out of the UEFA Champions League group stage since the 2011-2012 competition, Leverkusen remains a fair way behind Bayern Munchen and Dortmund in terms of German Bundesliga quality and Monaco was second best against Tottenham in last term’s UEFA Europa League.
One understands that many punters like to strike a UEFA Champions League winner bet before the group stage kicks off. One does not expect Barcelona, Bayern Munchen or Real Madrid to shorten dramatically during the UEFA Champions League group stage and, if one or more of them slips up and goes into the knockout stage unseeded, their odds are more likely to expand than contract. Juventus represents the greatest UEFA Champions League winner value currently because several bookmakers, including Bet365, BetVictor and SkyBet, are quoting the Old Lady at odds of 12/1 13.00 +1200 12.00 12.00 -0.08 . Juventus appeals as, at the very worst, a back-to-lay proposition.
Juventus to win Group H
Champions League 2016/17
Odds: 57/100 1.57 -175 0.57 -1.75 0.57
Tottenham to win Group E
Champions League 2016/17
Odds: 36/25 2.44 +144 1.44 1.44 -0.69
Juventus to win the Champions League
Odds: 12/1 13.00 +1200 12.00 12.00 -0.08