Welcome everyone. The Champions League quarter finals return next week, and at this stage of the competition, we are often given a new set of odds as we now know the route that each team will have to the final. You may or may not have seen my recent piece detailing the last 8 teams in the competition and their chances of going all the way last 8 teams in the competition and their chances of going all the way, but this will focus on other Champions League specials you can make with most bookmakers. Now it is a perfect time to predict the semi-finalists, the finalists, and even the top scorer of the tournament. Here, are a few Champions League Specials to keep you ever more engrossed in the best club competition in the world. My expert betting tips, as always, are based on deep analysis, statistics, and most importantly, my football intuition.

Name the Semi-Finalists

Each of the four semi-finals have a clear favourite, so many would opt to back Liverpool to beat Porto, Juventus to win against Ajax, Manchester City to overcome Tottenham, and Barcelona to qualify against Manchester United. That is the most likely scenario, so a semi-final four of Liverpool, Juventus, Manchester City and Barcelona is at 15/8. For the opposite to happen, and for those four teams to be eliminated, that is priced at an incredible 200/1. Often in football, there is usually a few surprises, which we had already witnessed in the earlier rounds, with Ajax shocking Real Madrid, and PSG being stunned by Manchester United. Therefore, I’d back just one of those favourites to slip-up in the quarter final stage, and out of all of them, I have a sneaky suspicion that Tottenham may surprise favourites Manchester City in their new stadium. Backing Porto or Ajax will probably cost you your bet, so I’d stay clear of choosing them.

Examples;
Liverpool, Manchester City, Juventus, Barcelona – 15/8
Liverpool, Manchester City, Juventus, Manchester United – 5/1
Ajax, Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester City – 8/1
Ajax, Barcelona, Liverpool, Tottenham – 25/1
Porto, Ajax, Manchester United, Tottenham – 200/1

My Tip; Liverpool, Tottenham, Juventus, Barcelona – 15/2

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Name the Finalists

The most likely final sees Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City take on his former club Barcelona, which is priced at 7/2. It would be a dream final for most, but I don’t see it happening, and I’d tip Juventus to take the place of Manchester City instead. Juventus meeting Barcelona, a repeat of the 2015 final, is at 9/2. For the tipsters out there, you can be bold by predicting an underdog, such as Manchester United, Tottenham or Ajax to reach the final, which will see your odds lengthen considerably. Out of those three teams, you’d have to back Manchester United, due the Ole Gunnar Solksjaer factor, who scored the winner in the final 20 years ago. For them to get to the final, and meet former player Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus, it’s priced at 14/1, or what about a all-Manchester final in Madrid? That is priced at 12/1.

Examples;
Barcelona & Manchester City to meet in the final – 7/2
Manchester City & Liverpool to meet in the final – 4/1
Manchester City & Manchester Utd to meet in the final – 12/1
Barcelona & Tottenham to meet in the final – 22/1
Ajax Amsterdam & Porto to meet in the final – 250/1

My Tip;
Barcelona & Juventus to meet in the final – 9/2

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Nationality of Winner

There are four English teams, and even the worst mathematician can work out that is 50% of the teams remaining. Therefore, it’s no surprise that a club from England is most likely to win the competition at 8/13. A club from Italy (Juventus), are slight 2nd favourites at 10/3, with a club from Spain (Barcelona) at 7/2. A Dutch club (Ajax) to win it is priced at 33/1, and the longest odds see a team from Portugal (Porto) winning it at 66/1. Considering you have four goes with an English club, the odds of 8/11 are relatively generous. However, I’d back Juventus to win it, so I foresee an Italian club winning it for the first time since 2010.

My Tip; Club from Italy (7/2)

Champions League Double Chance

A double chance does exactly what it says on the tin, as instead of picking one team to win it, you can bet on one of either team to be triumphant. The most likely combinations see Manchester City/Barcelona or Manchester City/Juventus at 5/6, with the least likely combination of Ajax/Porto priced at 25/1. It may be wise to back one team from either side of the draw, so it’s likely at least one of your selections goes to the final, or in a dream scenario, both of your teams reach the final, and you’ve won your bet before a ball has been kicked.

Therefore, picking one from Manchester City, Juventus, Tottenham and Ajax, and then picking one from Porto, Liverpool, Barcelona and Manchester United would be a clever idea. Backing Juventus and Barcelona would be my gut recommendation at 11/10, but to boost your odds somewhat, backing Juventus and Manchester United at 9/4 seems quite reasonable, and plausible.

Examples;
Either Barcelona or Manchester City to win outright – 5/6
Either Juventus or Manchester City to win outright – 5/6
Either Liverpool or Manchester United to win outright – 5/2
Either Manchester United or Tottenham Hotspur to win outright – 7/1
Either Ajax or Porto to win outright – 25/1

My Tip;
Either Juventus or Manchester United to win outright – 9/4

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Champions League Top Scorer

Finally, our last special today sees us betting on the top scorer of the Champions League. At this moment in time, Lionel Messi is at 1/2 to win the award for the 6th time in his career, which would be him just one behind Cristiano Ronaldo. Messi has scored 8 goals already, alongside Robert Lewandowski, who has been eliminated from the competition. With a potential of five games to go, the likely contenders to catch him are Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo (8/1), on 4 goals, Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero (8/1), on 5 goals, and Ajax’s main attacker Dusan Tadic (10/1), on 6 goals.

A few other considerations should be Juventus striker Paulo Dybala, who is at 33/1, and he is only 3 goals behind Lionel Messi, as is Tottenham’s Harry Kane, who is backed at 16/1. If Porto are to somehow edge past Liverpool, then you’d fancy Moussa Marega to get a few goals, as he is currently on 6 goals, and at 16/1 to become the top scorer. I’d have to back Messi, but if anyone was to topple him, could you really discredit Cristiano Ronaldo? Since 2007, it has been either won by Messi or Ronaldo, with the odd exception of Neymar in 2015.

Examples;
Sergio Aguero – 8/1
Dusan Tadic – 10/1
Moussa Marega – 16/1
Paulo Dybala – 33/1
Mohammed Salah – 40/1
Marcus Rashford – 250/1

My Tips;
Lionel Messi – 2/1
Cristiano Ronaldo – 8/1

Thank you for reading, and all the best with your bets on the Champions League Specials. It promises to be a fascinating end to this season’s competition, and we are none the wiser to see who will re-write the history books.

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