I have been betting almost 10 years, and the majority of my winning bets have come in the Champions League. I have had lots of success from the seven-match accumulator, the obvious group winners, competitions top scorers and the eventual champions. Is that just a coincidence? Or is the Champions League one of the most predictable competitions in the world of football? In this article, I’ll explain as to why betting on the Champions League is perhaps best suited for the more calculated and knowledge fans of football, and provide examples where possible.

‘It’s always taken seriously’

Champions League is really the be-all and end-all for most clubs in Europe. In the last couple of decades, we have seen qualifying for the Champions League is far more prioritized than winning a domestic cup. Arsene Wenger once said finishing 4th is like winning a trophy, due to the qualification for this competition. Therefore, you don’t see players being rested unless on match day 6 in the group stages, and due to the magnitude of the matches, you also rarely see teams have an off-day. No opposition is considered significantly weaker, so even the favourites for the tournament perform to their best ability against ‘lower’ opposition. The point is, complacency is the biggest disaster for the betting population and that word can be rarely used when discussing the Champions League.

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Usual Suspects – players and teams

Looking at the previous seasons from 2014 to 2018, we see that has been a re-occurring theme with the group winners, top scorers and eventual winners or finalists. Out of those five seasons, the 10 places in the final taken up were only taken by five different teams (Real Madrid 4 times, Juventus twice, Atletico Madrid twice, Liverpool once and Barcelona once). If we stretch the time back a few more years, Real Madrid and Barcelona have been responsible for 7 wins in the last decade. When we look at the odds at the beginning of the year, we are given odds for about 10+ teams who have a chance (less than 50/1) to win it, but really, if we chose the usual suspects, we’d have easy money.

The likes of Manchester City, PSG, Juventus, Manchester United, Chelsea and more have been favourites or close to favourites to win the competition with similar odds. In addition to the eventual winners, the bigger certainty is the group stages. In the last 5 seasons, the teams seeded 1st have had a near perfect record of qualifying. 6 teams that were ranked 1st in their group didn’t progress, out of a possible 40, and all of those teams were either in the Portuguese league (Benfica), French league (Monaco) or the Russian league (CSKA Moscow).

As for the players being top goal scorers? Well, Cristiano Ronaldo has won it in the last five seasons with some quite ridiculous figures, with the likes of Neymar, Robert Lewandowski, and Lionel Messi not being too far behind. You’d have half of Ronaldo’s wages if you backed him for the last five years.

Never fails to deliver

Under the lights, both teams try to outperform each other which is why we are usually treated to at least 10+ matches each season with two top teams going full throttle and doing their best to win. Just as a point of reference, Bayern Munich knocked out Juventus 6-4 on aggregate a few years ago, Liverpool knocked out Roma 7-6 on aggregate last season, and Manchester City lost on away goals to Monaco which was 6-6 on aggregate just a couple of years ago, too.

The point is, don’t be afraid to bet on goals, early goals, braces from individuals, high scoring games – think outside the box and you can win big amounts on great games. The Champions League never disappoints.

Conclusion

Finally, it has to be said that the Champions League is the most exciting competition to watch, so putting money on it makes it just that bit better. There are more ‘cupsets’ in the FA Cup, in the World Cup, and even every domestic league across Europe on the weekends. Champions League is engaging albeit slightly predictable. Oh, and one final thing, you have so much more choice in betting on Champions League, with many bookmakers providing more odds, more boosts to choose from, so you can literally flick through the site all day planning out how you’ll win the money.

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