Champions League Futures (Round of 16)

by Amedeus Mastrangelo

The Champions League will be starting up again in February but now that we are past the group stage and all of the fake contenders are out of the competition, it is time to see who has the best chance to make a deep run in the tournament as we enter the Round of 16 soon. There are a lot of quality clubs left in the competition still but there are also some frauds still left that really have no chance of winning the title so let’s see which of these clubs is a real contender and which are just lucky to still be in the competition at the Knockout Stages.

To Win Outright

Manchester City +175: Man City is coming in as the biggest favorite to win the Champions League this year and that is because of the talent they have as well as the squad depth which enables them to make deep runs in competitions like this and still keep some focus on their league matches as well. Man City has been a dominant team in Europe for years now but they are still without a Champions League title and there is no doubt that they will be fully focused on winning this competition. They do have a lot of talent in their starting lineup but they also have a lot of squad depth as their backups could easily be starters somewhere else and this offers them a lot of flexibility when they get deep in these tournaments. They have not been at their best in the Premier League though and they could end up seeing themselves in a situation where they make a deep run in this competition but also have to focus on Premier League matches with a shot at the title and they will have to decide which competition to put more of their efforts towards. Man City has the team and the depth to make a deep run here and there is some value at this price with it being +175, but they have not been meeting expectations with their play this year and if they keep it up they will find a way to fizzle out of this competition as there are plenty of other good teams with a lot more value in them.

Bayern Munich +650: Bayern Munich is coming in as the 2nd biggest favorite to win this competition but there is a very large gap between them and the current favorites. The gap is understandable as no team has the kind of depth that Man City has, but that does not mean they are good enough to win it all. Bayern Munich does look like they have some value here at +650 but the value is not as good as it looks. Bayern has to get through a very tough matchup in the 1st round as they are taking on PSG so already if Bayern wants to get to the finals and win it all, they have to take out one of the best teams in the competition right away and it is only going to get tougher in each matchup if they continue to advance. Bayern also has not played very well this year, they are still leading their league right now but they have not been playing well since coming back from the World Cup and they are also at a disadvantage here since their league play came back a month after everyone else. Bayern has not had the luxury of playing as many matches as these other teams in different leagues so they are still a little rusty from the time off and it has shown in their league matches. Bayern is going to have a very tough time getting past PSG in this next round alone so there really is not a lot of value here for a team with big defensive issues that has been out of form recently and could be out in the very next round.

PSG +800: PSG is coming in as the next biggest favorite to win this tournament and there is definitely some value in them at this price. PSG is dominating Ligue 1 this year like they have been for years but they also just have a very good team with a lot of talent on it. They always seem to find themselves making a deep run in Champions League but get stopped somewhere in the knockout stages. Messi is coming off of a World Cup win in December though and he will be looking to add a Champions League to his trophy case this year as well so he will have this team fired up to make a deep run. PSG does have a lot of starting talent on their team but they lack in squad depth and they are going to need it now that Mbappe may miss this 1st round of matches. They also have a very tough matchup in this round as they are taking on Bayern Munich, one of the favorites to win this tournament as well, so already PSG has a very difficult road ahead of them. The road is only going to get harder the deeper they go as well and they have been dealing with a lot of squad issues this year which has played a part in some of their matches. There is value in PSG here as they have the better team with less defensive issues and should get by Bayern Munich in this round, but they will still have a very tough road ahead and may not have the squad depth once they get into deeper rounds. PSG does have a very good team though that is much better than a lot of the other teams still left in the competition so as long as PSG is still in it, they definitely have some value at this price to win it all. 

Liverpool +1000: Liverpool is coming in as the next contender on the list to win the entire competition but even this line does not have enough value in it for the way Liverpool has been playing this year. Liverpool has been having an awful season as they find themselves in the middle of the table in the Premier League and even though they managed to get through to this round with a weaker group, they do not belong here and will get kicked out very soon. Liverpool is struggling to even win matches in the Premier League this year and if they continue at the rate they have been going, then they will not even finish in a high enough spot for European competition next season. The reality of Liverpool is that dealing Sadio Mane in the summer destroyed their flow of attack and this has been an issue all year as they struggle to create scoring chances. Their defense has also gone downhill a lot this year and they simply do not have the talent on their team to make a deep run this year. They also have a very tough matchup in their 1st round as they take on the defending Champions in Real Madrid who also have a lot more talent than Liverpool and have been playing much better overall. Liverpool will be lucky to get past Real Madrid in this next round and even if they manage to do that, they still have bigger things to worry about in the Premier League with the season they are having and they will end up getting knocked out somewhere down the line. There is no value in Liverpool at this price as they really have no chance of winning this competition this year.

Real Madrid +1000: Real Madrid is coming in as the next contender on the list to win this competition and they are also the defending Champions League Champions from last season. Real Madrid went on a big run last year to win the Champions League title as they also won their La Liga title in Spain and had to take out quite a few top quality clubs on their way to the Champions League title as well. They did not lose a lot of talent in the summer either as this is pretty much the same core team that won it last year so they know exactly what they need to do to go deep in a competition like this and win it all. They also have a lot of squad depth on their team with some very good backups that can pick up the slack when needed. They are taking on Liverpool in this 1st round as well so they are already getting one of the weaker clubs that has been in awful form and with some of these other 1st round matchups as well, there will be a few quality clubs knocked out in this 1st round making the road easier near the end. Real Madrid is going to have the drive here to defend their title as most of the talent is still there from last year and considering how they are trailing Barcelona for the La Liga title this year, they will definitely be focused on this competition to try and win a trophy if they cannot catch Barcelona for the league title. Real Madrid is one of the best teams left in the tournament and they are being flat out disrespected at a price like this with the squad they have compared to some other teams still left. There is a lot of value in Real Madrid here.

Napoli +1000: Napoli is coming in as the next favorite to win this competition and they are pretty much the last team on the board with a real chance of making a deep run and winning it all. Napoli has been having a great year out of nowhere as they were not expected to be as good as they have been yet they are just running away with the Serie A title in Italy. It is very likely that they go on to win it with the double digit lead in points they have over 2nd place and that will leave them an opportunity to focus on these Champions League matches and make a deep run in the tournament. Napoli has a lot of good talent on their team that has been breaking out this year as a collective group so it is very likely that they will end up selling some of this talent in the summer which gives them a very small window to go and win any trophy they can get their hands on. It would be the perfect scenario for them if they sold their players after winning the Serie A title and the Champions League title so they will be extremely focused on this competition as this is their best chance to win it all and might be for another long while. They have been very good defensively which will be very important as they get deeper in this competition as they do not allow many goals in their matches, but they have also had a very potent attack all year that scores a ton and they have the potential to be a very dangerous team in this competition. Napoli has a real chance to make one big push this year and win as many trophies as they can and they have easily been in the best form this year out of all the teams in Champions League still. There is a lot of value in Napoli to win this competition. 


There are plenty of options to go with when picking a winner here that may look very attractive but in reality there are only a few teams that have the squad along with the right situation this year to make a deep run and win this entire tournament. Man City and PSG do have some value considering their squads but they are also more risky options compared to some of these other teams. The 2 best teams to choose here to win the entire competition would be Real Madrid and Napoli as they both have a ton of value at +1000 and both teams are also playing very well this year with the right situations around them to succeed deep in this tournament. 

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

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