Champions League Futures

by Amedeus Mastrangelo

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2022
The Champions League group stage is upon us and it is time to dive in and take a closer look at which teams are true contenders here to go deep in the tournament possibly even winning it all, and to see who are just frauds who may look like they have a chance on the surface but really just don’t cut it. There were a lot of big moves made this summer, some teams getting much stronger than they were last year and others left in a much weaker position overall. Let’s take a look at the top favorites to win the tournament and see who really does have a good chance.

To Win Outright

Manchester City +250: Man City is coming off of another great campaign in the Premier League, winning another title last season and they also had a lot of success in Champions League as well. They made it all the way to the semi-finals before losing to Real Madrid who went on to win the whole thing, but Man City has been a very dominant team in Europe over the past few years. They did lose some talent in the transfer window with the exits of Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus, but as always they did their best to fill the hole and ended up signing Erling Haaland who has already made his impact on the team with 10 goal scored in his first 6 league matches with the team. They have had a few slip ups to start the season but they are still unbeaten in their 6 matches so far and they have looked very good in their 4 wins. It is clear that this team has not taken a step back from last year and considering how much depth they have on their bench at every position, they are by far one of the strongest teams in the competition and will be looking to repeat their deep run last year but this time complete it going all the way to the title. They also have one of the weaker groups to play in and should have no issues getting through the group stage. This is a team that really can beat anyone in Europe on a day they bring their best effort.

Paris Saint-Germain +500: PSG is coming off of another successful campaign last year as they won their French Ligue 1 title and did go deep into Champions League as well, but they were eliminated by the eventual champions, Real Madrid, in the round of 16. PSG is another team that just continues to get stronger every year, they did lose some midfield talent in the transfer window but they are so deep at that position that it should not be an issue to fill in the holes that were left. They also have one of the strongest attacking trios of all the teams between Messi, Mbappe, and Neymar, and they have already been in midseason form to start the season with the amount of goals this team has been scoring. The decision Mbappe made to stay with PSG had a very big impact on the team and really boosted their chances of going deep in this tournament as they have one of the best squads on paper. That has also turned into reality with the way they have been playing in their first few matches, and there is no doubt that they are also a team that can beat anyone in Europe when bringing their best effort. They do play in a very tough group as they have some good quality teams in Juventus and Benfica to get through, but those teams will be good tests for them and they should still have no trouble making it out of the group as they are by far the superior team in there. They should have a much deeper run than they did last season.

Liverpool +550: Liverpool is coming off of a good year in both Champions League and the Premier League, but this is a team that suffered the cruel fate last season of always being a bridesmaid and never a bride. They finished their Premier League season in 2nd place, just 1 point behind the title champions Man City, and they lost to Real Madrid in the Champions League finals 1-0 as well. They have been a dominant team in Europe over the past few years but those seasons are long gone now and this is not the same Liverpool team that we have seen the last few years. Liverpool made some big changes in the transfer window, including their biggest loss in Sadio Mane leaving for Bayern Munich and so far, the impact of that move has been very apparent. They tried to replace Mane by acquiring Darwin Nunez from Benfica but that signing has just brought more problems to this team. Mane left a big hole in the starting XI as a big part of the Liverpool attack is feeding Mo Salah the ball and with a competent forward like Mane who really controls the pace of the game, their attack has been left in shambles. It has only gotten worse with the insertion of Nunez into the lineup as the team has 2 very good and high maintenance strikers now who both need touches on the ball, and they still do not have a solid midfielder or forward to take over that role and compensate for them, making their attack more fluid into the box. They have been in awful form to start the Premier League season already, but they are not going to get any better with the current state of things and this is definitely a team that has been left off in a much worse position than they were last season. They will not be making another deep run in Champions League this season and they will start to be in a downturn moving forward.

Bayern Munich +650: Bayern Munich is coming off of another great campaign in their league last season, winning yet another title but they have also been the dominant force in that league for over a decade now. They had a deep run in Champions League last season but fizzled out in the quarter-finals, losing to a Villarreal side that is not even one of the dominant forces in their own league let alone Europe. Bayern has looked very good to start this season but they have not had a real test yet as they are by far the best team in their league, but they have made a lot of big changes to their squad that will be key when facing some tougher opponents. They had a huge loss with the exit of Robert Lewandowski to Barcelona and they tried to replace him with Sadio Mane from Liverpool. Mane is a very good piece to add and he will help add some consistency to this team with the way they form their attack but, he is nowhere near the kind of goal scorer Lewandowski is and when push comes to shove against these tougher opponents in UCL, their attack is not going to cut it against some of these elite defenses. Bayern is also a team that has struggled with their defense over the last few seasons as they give up a lot of goals. They did spend a lot of money to fix up their defense for this season but they have not been tested against a good quality team yet and their defense still does not compare to some of the other elite teams in Europe. Bayern always has the possibility of making a deep run because of their strong attack and how many goals they can score, but they were stunted by a Villarreal side last year that is not an elite team but does have a very good defense, and Bayern will likely run into similar troubles with some of these top defenses in the competition. This is not a team that is going the distance to the finals.

Real Madrid +1000: Real Madrid is the team that is probably coming off of the most successful season as they won their La Liga title last year but also came away with the Champions League title as well. They did not make any big changes to their starting squad in the transfer window but they did win both their league title and Champions League title, and when coming off of a great season like that why fix what isn’t broken? Well they took that to heart and this core group is still very much the same and still playing at an extremely high level as they were last year. It is amazing to see the odds this high for the defending champions of the competition and they were a team that probably had the hardest road to the finals with some of the teams they had to knock out, but they still got the job done. Benzema and Vinicius have already been scoring a ton of goals in their first few matches and this team is in midseason form already, ready to repeat what they did last season. Even with the little moves they made in the transfer window, they still have one of the best teams in the competition and should be ahead of some of these other teams favored to win the tournament over them. After the year they had last season and the way they have come out this season, this is still a very dangerous team that has a chance to go all the way and win the title like they did last year.

Barcelona +1400: Barcelona is a team that has been struggling over the last few seasons ever since Messi left and really started the downfall of this team. They have still finished in the top 4 of their league without him but they have not been able to keep up with some of the best in the league. That has all changed now though as they have rebuilt this squad and spent a lot of money in doing so by bringing in a ton of quality players. It is not just the quality of players they have brought in though, they were having troubles paying everyone they signed and there were players on this team that were willing to take pay cuts just to play for the team this season because that is the kind of passion these players have for both the club and winning with the club. That shows that this team has a very strong core of quality players that all want to be there and win together, and they have signed so much talent in the transfer window that they really should be one of the favorites to win Champions League. One of their biggest signings in the summer was acquiring Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich and that has really put their attack into full gear, but they also signed a lot of supporting midfielder talent that will help this attack form much better and cut through defenses the way they have been doing in their first few matches of the season. This is definitely one of the stronger teams in Europe right now and they have a very good chance of winning this tournament and even winning their league title this year as well. They are by far the biggest darkhorse on the board and there is too much value to turn them down because this is a team that can go the distance.


There are a lot of good options here for betting on Champions League futures and it is still very early in the competition as the group stage is just starting but, there is definitely enough to go on here when picking a team and it is definitely not too early to see which teams are stay away teams. Liverpool and Bayern Munich are definitely teams to stay away from with the current state they are in; they just do not have the talent at all positions to go all the way. The best way to bet the Champions League here for futures would be to take Barcelona at +1400 as they are a team that is very undervalued and could easily end up in the semi-finals at least. The next team would be PSG at +500 as their team is just too good all around and they will still be thinking about the way they exited to Real Madrid last year. My 3rd team to take on this list is Man City at +250 as they are the favorites for obvious reasons and continue to have a very stacked team that can go all the way with their talent. And finally, Real Madrid at +1000 would be the last team I consider, this is no knock on them as they do still have a very good team and are the defending champions but, they are my least favorite as playing all of those extra matches to the finals last season likely put a bit of a toll on them and while other powerhouses were spending money in the transfer window to make their clubs better to beat Real Madrid, Real really did not make any major moves to improve their team. These are my best suggestions for finding value on outright winners in the Champions League and remember to always bet responsibly!

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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