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Champions League Preview - Part II...

Tuesday 20th October 2020

In Across the Leagues today:

  • Champions League 2020/21…
  • Outright Winner analysis…
  • Each Way picks at 12/1 & 14/1…

Champions League Preview – Part II…

The Champions League kicks off this evening…

We’re building our European ante post book this week. In Part I of our Champions League Preview, we got on two Each Way contenders in the Top Goalscorer market, at 20/1 and 33/1.

Today I’m concentrating on the 2020/21 Outright Winner betting. See below for my analysis and price selections.

In the match-day notebook…

It’s a busy week. As well as match-day one in both the Champions League and Europa League, there’s a full midweek programme in the English Football League (EFL), too.

  • The latest stats and Head-2-Head comparison’s for tonight’s Championship, League One & League Two games are available on our website

Seven unbeaten teams…

In terms of the midweek EFL action, it’s worth noting that there are seven teams that still have unbeaten records in the league this season…

Championship:
Bristol City
Reading
Bournemouth

League One:
Ipswich
Sunderland

League Two:
Forest Green
Walsall

Will those unbeaten runs continue? Across the Double Chance (Win or Draw) markets for tonight & tomorrow, the combo on those seven sides to remain undefeated comes out at 7/1 and 6/1. Personally, I’d find that hard to trust in these divisions.

Champions League – scorer notes for tonight…

In the early kick-off in the Champions League (5.55pm), what price Dejan Kulusevski to score first for Juventus at Dynamo Kiev? Bet365 say 15/2 (8.5). Juve are without Cristiano Ronaldo. Striker Alvaro Morata and playmaker Paulo Dybala are the favourites to find the net for the Italian side. Kulusevski was a pick for us in Serie A last weekend. We’ll be following the 20-year-old’s progress this season.

Elsewhere, another 20-year-old, Erling Braut Haaland is odds-on at around 10/11 (1.91) to score Anytime for Borussia Dortmund at Lazio. Our Serie A top scorer friend from last season, Ciro Immobile, is around 11/8 (2.38) for the home team.

Man Utd go to PSG with a stack of players missing. Midfield motivator Bruno Fernandes could have had a hat-trick at Newcastle on Sunday – a screamer disallowed for offside by VAR, a rare missed penalty, and then a very nice second-half finish. The Portuguese man is around 11/4 (3.75) to find the net again tonight. Man Utd might need something special from him…

PSG boss the betting, with the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar the leading names, both odds-on in general to score Anytime, at 5/6 (1.83) and 10/11 (1.91) respectively.

  • If you want more pointers on this evening’s Champions League matches… check out our new Champions League Historical Stats Report. Packed with data for the regular contenders, going back several seasons in areas such as Corners, Cards and Total Goals: View the report here

Outright Winner analysis…

I’m sticking to the season-long markets for today’s picks. And talking of historical stats, I’m using the last decade of Champions League finals as a springboard for our 2020/21 Outright Winner analysis…

Champions League – Last 10 Seasons:

Season           Winner (Nationality)                      Runner-up (Nationality)

2019/20        Bayern Munich (Germany)             PSG (France)
2018/19        Liverpool (England)                      Tottenham (England)
2017/18        Real Madrid (Spain)                      Liverpool (England)
2016/17        Real Madrid (Spain)                      Juventus (Italy)
2015/16        Real Madrid (Spain)                      Atletico Madrid (Spain)
2014/15        Barcelona (Spain)                        Juventus (Italy)
2013/14        Real Madrid (Spain)                      Atletico Madrid (Spain)
2012/13        Bayern Munich (Germany)             Borussia Dortmund (Germany)
2011/12        Chelsea (England)                        Bayern Munich (Germany)
2010/11        Barcelona (Spain)                        Man Utd (England)

Key stats from that 10-year history:

  • Spanish clubs have won 6 of the last 10. With Real Madrid accounting for the 4 most recent, and Barcelona the other 2
  • English clubs have featured in 4 of the last 10 finals, with 2 wins (Liverpool and Chelsea)
  • The 20 finalists in the last 10 years all came from 5 nations – Spain (8), England (5), Germany (4), Italy (2), and France (1)
  • 12 different clubs have featured in the last 10 finals. With 5 different winners
  • Teams have made back-to-back finals on just 3 occasions over the last 10 years (Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Liverpool)

It may be called the ‘Champions’ League, but…

Digging a little deeper, the 10-year form shows that a club doesn’t necessarily need to be the reigning champion of their domestic league to then go on and win the Champions League the following season.

In fact, more often than not in the last 10 seasons, the Champions League winner was not the current champion of their home league...

  • Just 7 of the last 20 Champions League finalists had won their domestic league in the previous season
  • Just 3 of the last 10 Champions League winners were reigning champions of their domestic leagues
  • And just 4 of the last 10 runners-up were reigning champions of their domestic leagues

To put it another way, 65% of the Champions League finalists over the last decade had failed to win their domestic league in the season prior.

That statistic doesn’t bode well for Premier League winners Liverpool, who are the third favourite for the big UEFA prize this campaign, at 7/1…

The Reds have made the final in two of the past three seasons, but have history against them when it comes to setting up another final at the Ataturk Stadium in Turkey next spring (scene of their 2005 triumph over AC Milan).

Surprise winners hard to come by…

In terms of upsets in the Outright Winner betting, you have to go right back to 2003/04 for a ‘surprise’ pair of finalists, with Jose Mourinho’s Porto beating Monaco.

Since then, Atletico Madrid (22/1) and Tottenham (33/1) are as big as it gets in terms of the pre-season prices – and neither actually managed to lift the trophy.

Huge prices can sometimes be achieved during the season. For example, if a team finds themselves up against it in the Group stages, needing to win their last couple of games and turn around the goal difference. Or in the Knockout rounds, after suffering a heavy 1st leg defeat (such as Chelsea’s dream comeback run under Roberto Di Matteo in 2011/12).

Two big boys priced bigger than usual…

History tells us not to venture too far from the big names in this competition. If ever there was a case to prove the cream-rises-to-the-top theory, the Champions League is it.

With that in mind, two of the all-time proven powerhouses stand out at – crucially – bigger odds than we’re accustomed to seeing them at…

Champions League 2020/21 – Outright Winner odds:

Bayern Munich 4/1
Man City 4/1
Liverpool 7/1
PSG 10/1
Real Madrid 12/1
Juventus 14/1
Barcelona 14/1
Atletico Madrid 22/1
Chelsea 22/1
25/1+ bar

  • Each Way terms: 1/2 odds 1-2 places

Between them, Real Madrid and Barcelona have accounted for 11 of the last 23 Champions League titles.

In that time – since 1997/98 – the longest period without one of the Spanish giants getting to the final was three seasons…

The current two-year gap is the longest Champions League dry spell that Spain has endured for 15 years.

In the prime Ronaldo & Messi era, it was common to see Real Madrid and Barcelona priced up at odds as short as 4/1, 5/1, 6/1 & 7/1 for this trophy. Things have changed in recent years, of course, with the 35-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo now at Juventus, and 33-year-old Lionel Messi still at Barcelona (despite a big summer exit attempt).

But these European footballing giants shouldn’t be expected to stay out of the Champions League limelight for too long…

In the dugout, Zinedine Zidane has already lifted this trophy with Madrid. And the latest big name at the helm at Barca, former player Ronald Koeman, could have the impact that the club are looking for…

With both clubs losing in the league at the weekend (Cadiz were 12/1 winners at Real, and Getafe beat Barca at 4/1), I’d say a reaction and improved results from here on in are more likely than a catastrophic slump.

Stick with the Spanish sides…

It would be foolish to write off Messi inspiring another Champions League success. And both clubs have got young blood coming through, too…

With the two young scorers we mentioned recently in our La Liga coverage, Spanish teenager Ansu Fati at Barcelona (turns 18 at the end of this month), and 20-year-old Brazilian, Vinicius Junior at Real Madrid.

In Group B, Real Madid are short odds-on favourites at 1/5 (1.2) To Qualify, with the top two going through out of Real, Inter Milan, Borussia Monchengladbach and Shakhtar Donetsk. In the Champions League match-day one prices this week, Madrid are 1/4 (1.25) to start with a home win v Shakhtar.

In Group G, Barcelona are just 1/14 (1.07) to go through, with Juventus also a very short favourite, and Dynamo Kiev and Ferencvaros the rank outsiders. Barca start at home v Ferencvaros of Hungary this evening, with the home win at just 1/12 (1.08).

Odds of 12/1 for Real Madrid and 14/1 for Barcelona stand out for a Spanish ‘Dutch’ this season. At those prices, we can back both Each Way and still look to come out on top with a deep run in the Knockout rounds…

Add in the fact that 4/1 Bayern may find it hard to roll straight on from their summer success and win again in 2020/21… 4/1 Man City are yet to reach a Champions League final… 7/1 Liverpool are also up against it, as already discussed… and the weight of history is also against 10/1 PSG backing up last season’s run to the final.

The two Spanish sides are my picks.

Today’s picks

Champions League 2020/21

Outright Winner:

  • Real Madrid @ 12/1 Each Way with Bet365, Skybet, William Hill, BetVictor, Betfred, Betway, Boylesports, NetBet, 10Bet
  • Barcelona @ 14/1 Each Way with Betway, Skybet, William Hill, BetVictor, Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook, Ladbrokes, Coral, Betfred, Boylesports

Each Way terms: 1/2 odds 1-2 places.

I’ll be back tomorrow with, when we’ll be running the rule over the Wednesday night games & prices.

Enjoy the football…

Best wishes,

Oliver Upstone

Oliver Upstone

Across the Leagues