The 2014-15 UEFA Champions League is down to the final 4 teams. For those that are unfamiliar, the Champions League is comprised of the 32 top European squads, with each country qualifying through success in their own domestic league. Last year’s final saw Spanish giants Real Madrid come back to beat fellow Spanish side Atletico Madrid 4-1 after sending the game into extra time in the last minutes of regulation.
The table below shows the odds throughout the competition for each of the contenders (via Sportsbook):
|Club (Country)||May 14||May 4||Apr 23||Mar 23||Feb 6||Dec 15||Dec 12||Oct 31||Aug 28||Jun 28|
|Bayern Munich (GER)||N/A||+290||+200||+175||+250||+250||+300||+333||+400||+325|
|Atletico Madrid (SPA)||N/A||N/A||N/A||+1600||+1600||+1800||+2350||+1800||+2200||+1200|
|FC Porto (POR)||N/A||N/A||N/A||+6600||+5000||+5000||+9000||+5000||+6600||+10000|
|AS Monaco (FRA)||N/A||N/A||N/A||+6600||+10000||+12500||+22000||+15000||+5000||+2200|
|Man City (ENG)||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||+1400||+1400||+1300||+2500||+1000||+1100|
|AS Roma (ITA)||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||+5000||+5000||+6600|
|Bayer Leverkusen (GER)||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||+8000||+10000||+24000||+6600||+9000||+15000|
|FC Basel (SUI)||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||+20000||+20000||+34000||+50000||+50000||N/A|
|Schalke 04 (GER)||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||+40000||+30000||+22000||+15000||+10000||+10000|
|Shaktar Donetsk (UKR)||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||+50000||+25000||+22000||+10000||+15000||+15000|
|Real Madrid (SPA)||N/A||+235||+340||+350||+250||+250||+330||+333||+350||+350|
|CSKA Moscow (RUS)||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||+150000||+20000||+20000|
|NK Maribor (SVN)||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||+200000||+200000||N/A|
|BATE Borisov (BLS)||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||+200000||+100000||N/A|
|Athletic Bilbao (SPA)||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||+20000||+5000||+6600|
|Zenit St. Petersburg (RUS)||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||+8000||+12500||+10000|
|Malmo FF (SWE)||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||+200000||+200000||N/A|
We’ve now arrived at the semifinals and all four of our quarterfinal picks (albeit all favorites) have made it to the semifinals– Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, and Bayern Munich. The semifinal matchups will pit Barcelona against Bayern Munich, and Real Madrid against Juventus. Below shows the odds to advance to the final (via Sportsbook):
Barcelona -165 | Bayern Munich +125 (Opened Barcelona -135 | Bayern Munich-105)
Real Madrid -285 | Juventus +200 (Opened Real Madrid -260 | Juventus +180)
We liked Barcelona to progress to the finals during the quarterfinals and won’t be backing down from that pick now. Bayern Munich pulled off a great comeback to get into the semifinals but are facing injury concerns while Barcelona seems to be gelling at the right time. In the other match, Juventus will be a great test for Real Madrid but just won’t be enough– in the end I think we’ll be looking at an all-Spanish final once again with Barcelona our pick over Real Madrid.
(Below was written prior to each round)
The Quarterfinal Round begins on April 14th and there are a couple of unexpected teams that have advanced to this stage. AS Monaco were +240 to qualify over Arsenal but went through on the Away Goals rule. PSG, an upset pick of ours, also advanced past Chelsea at odds of +170. Below shows the odds to advance prior to each quarterfinal matchup (via Sportsbook):
Bayern Munich -900 | Porto +500
Juventus -375 | Monaco +250
Barcelona -360 | PSG +240
Real Madrid -220 | Atletico Madrid +160
Lots of chalk in the quarterfinals: Despite the competition down to the final 8 teams, each matchup consists of a heavy favorite and underdog. The battle of Madrids will be another epic clash but Atletico looked susceptible last round against Leverkusen. We’ll take all the chalk and expect a semifinal of Bayern Munich, Juventus, Barcelona, and Real Madrid.
The Round of 16 begins in early February where teams also play a home-and-home series to decide who progresses into the Quarterfinals. Below shows the odds to advance prior to each Round of 16 matchup (via TopBet):
Bayern Munich -1200 | Shakhtar Donetsk +800
Real Madrid -1000 | Schalke +650
Arsenal -300 | Monaco +240
Atletico Madrid -300 | Bayer Leverkusen +240
Barcelona -270 | Manchester City +210
Porto -220 | Basel +180
Chelsea -200 | PSG +170
Dortmund -115 | Juventus -105
What can we make from these odds to advance? For starters, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are almost shoe-ins for the Quarterfinals, and would take a mini miracle from Shaktar or Schalke to pull the upset over the course of two legs. Arsenal and Atletico are both getting better as the season moves along and it’s hard to envision either of those teams not getting though.
The most intriguing matchups are also the closest in odds, which makes a whole lot of sense. Barcelona has the talent while Manchester City historically struggle in these European competitions. To the naked eye there seems to be value on Manchester City, but Barcelona at -270 will get it done.
Porto and Basel are both dominating their domestic leagues in Portugal and Switzerland respectively, and we could see an upset here on Basel +180. The same can be said for Chelsea and PSG, both dominating their domestic leagues, and PSG at +170 is worthy of a bet.
The last pairing of Dortmund/Juventus is anyone’s guess. Dortmund may be relegated from the top division of Germany but remain the slight favorites over Italian rulers Juventus. At -105 to advance, Juventus looks like a strong play.
Now how exactly did each team get to this stage of the tournament? In the Round of 32, four teams each were drawn into Groups A through H, and each team played each other twice for a total of six games apiece (round robin style). The top two teams in each group then moved on to the Round of 16 where we’re currently at. Below were how the groups unfolded, including some high caliber matches like Bayern-Manchester City, Juventus-Atletico, Real Madrid-Liverpool, and Dortmund-Arsenal.
— Bookie Insiders (@Bookieinsiders) August 28, 2014
Even to those familiar with each Champions League team, it’s tough to forecast what will happen without looking at the odds to win each group. While some were expecting to win with relative ease (Barcelona -250, Real Madrid -400), others did’t have an underdog higher than +300 (Group C). Below were the odds to win each group at CRIS (Group Winners are bolded):
Group A: Atletico +100, Juventus +110, Olympiakos +1200, Malmo +7900
Group B: Real Madrid -400, Liverpool +350, Basel +2400, Ludogrets +9900
Group C: Leverkusen +250, Benfica +275, Monaco +275, Zenit +300
Group D: Arsenal -105, Dortmund +120, Galatasaray +1200, Anderlecht +3903
Group E: Bayern -143, Manchester City +185, Roma +800, CSKA Moscow +4900
Group F: Barcelona -250, PSG +230, Ajax +2402, APOEL +8400
Group G: Chelsea -400, Schalke +450, Sporting +1200, Maribor +6400
Group H: Porto +130, Athletic Bilbao +170, Shakhtar Donetsk +325, BATE Borisov +3400
Bayern Munich and Real Madrid remain the top favorites to take this year’s title but check back in as odds will undoubtedly fluctuate as the Round of 16 progresses.
Will a Spanish or German side once again win the UCL title, or will a English side like Manchester City or Chelsea take home the hardware?
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