Will an English Team Win UEFA Champions League?

by Taylor Smith
on April 9, 2019
8

Minute Read

For the last several years, the running joke has been that Premier League teams don’t have what it takes to compete on the big European stage. The top flight of English football is considered by many to be the most competitive league in the world, but when it comes to European success, English sides haven’t enjoyed much in recent years.

A Premier League team has won European’s top competition just 3 times since 2000. Liverpool accomplished the feat in 2005, Manchester United did it in 2008 and Chelsea were the last to do it in 2012. Each of the last 5 winners of Champions League have come from Spain, though there is a decent chance La Liga’s reign comes to a close this season.

Things are different in 2019. Of the 8 teams left in the field, 4 are from England. According to BetOnline, the odds-on favorite to win the tournament is Manchester City at +225. City have enjoyed loads of domestic success over the last handful of years, but European triumphs have eluded the club. Liverpool, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur are also still very much alive in the hunt for Champions League glory.

BetOnline has a number of Champions League prop bets posted. Let’s dive right in and try to dig up a little Champions League betting value.

Who Will be the Competition’s Top Goal Scorer?

  • Lionel Messi (Barcelona) -205
  • Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) +600
  • Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) +800
  • Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) +1400
  • Dusan Tadic (Ajax) +1600
  • Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) +1600
  • Moussa Marega (Porto) +1600
  • Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City) +3300
  • Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) +3300
  • Paulo Dybala (Juventus) +4000
  • Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) +8000
  • Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United) +8000

Surprise, surprise: Lionel Messi is the best bet to lead Champions League in goals this season. The influential Argentine has found the back of the net 8 times through 6 matches in the competition to this point, and, most importantly, his Barcelona side are still alive in the tournament.

Messi is currently tied with Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski for the lead. However, Lewandowski and Bayern were ousted by Liverpool in the round of 16. There is a slim chance that he can remain tied for the lead in goals by tournament’s end, but it’s a pretty risky bet. So, while he’s up there right now, I’d surely pass on betting on Lewandowski here. The fact that he’ll have no additional opportunities to add to his goal total means he’s an easy pass at +1400.

Tadic at +1600 is interesting, but the safer bet here would be to take a player on a team that has a legitimate shot at getting to the Final. Ajax are a compelling story after jettisoning 3-time defending champions Real Madrid earlier in the competition, but I’m skeptical of the Dutch side’s chances of going all the way. Tadic at +1600 is viable if you’re a risk tolerant type of bettor, but I believe Ajax’s run will come to an end in the quarterfinals against a heavily-favored Juventus side.

Speaking of Juve, Cristiano Ronaldo has the second-best odds to lead Champions League in goals at +600. Ronaldo has scored 4 times through 7 games, which means he’s going to have to mount quite a charge if he wants to overtake his longtime rival, Lionel Messi. Ronaldo’s goal scoring record hasn’t been as pristine thus far with Juve as it was during his prime years in Madrid, though he did bag a hat trick in the most recent match against Atletico Madrid.

UEFA Champions League

I just think Ronaldo’s odds are that high because of his name. He’s fully capable of scoring goals in bunches, but he’s already so far behind that I can’t get on board with Ronaldo at +600.

Moussa Marega is in the same boat as Dusan Tadic. Marega has scored 6 times through 7 matches, but I don’t think Porto will be in the competition much longer. The Portuguese side is set to face Liverpool in the quarterfinals. Yes, the same Liverpool team that crushed them 5-0 on aggregate in this competition last year. Porto could get their revenge here, but it’s pretty unlikely given Liverpool’s flying form.

One bet I would have liked is Sergio Aguero at +800. Aguero has scored 5 times through 5 Champions League matches to this point. Really, it’s just a matter of whether he keeps starting moving forward. At this point, that looks to be in doubt, as his status for the upcoming clash with Tottenham is in question due to injury. Messi’s fellow Argentine is a goalscoring machine when he’s on the pitch, though, and it doesn’t hurt that he plays for a CIty side that are favored to win the whole thing.

I much prefer Aguero at +800 to Harry Kane at +1600. Paulo Dybala of Juventus isn’t the craziest bet at +4000 considering the profit potential. Dybala has scored 5 goals of his own, and Juve are capable of winning the tournament.

It’s just hard to imagine Messi faltering here. Barcelona are in prime position with Real Madrid having been knocked out, and he already has a 2-goal lead over every other active player left in the competition. Messi at -205 is the boring option, but it’s also the safe option.

Which Teams Will Reach the Champions League Final?

  • Manchester City -160
  • Barcelona +140
  • Juventus +160
  • Liverpool +160
  • Manchester United +550
  • Tottenham Hotspur +650
  • Ajax +900
  • Porto +2800

As you can see, there is a pretty substantial gap in the odds between the top-4 and the bottom-4. Frankly, it’s hard to argue against it. Liverpool and Manchester City are currently in a heated race at the top of the Premier League, while Barcelona and Juventus are comfortably leading their own respective domestic leagues.

That isn’t to say that Manchester United, Tottenham, Ajax, and Porto don’t belong, but any fan that has been following the game this season knows there is a gap in quality between the 2 halves of the remaining field. Liverpool and Juventus have the easiest draws of the remaining 8 teams, as they will take on Porto and Ajax, respectively, in the quarterfinals. Anything can happen, but I think we can go ahead and scratch both Porto (+2800) and Ajax (+900) off the list of prospective finalists.

Barcelona will take on Manchester United, while City and Tottenham will square off in a battle of Premier League sides. Barca and City will be heavily favored despite the fact that their opponents are still of undeniable quality. Spurs are currently third in the Premier League, while the Red Devils are sixth. Manchester United got off to a dreadful start this season, but they have rebounded under new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

United pulled of a stunning come-from-behind upset against Paris St. Germain in the last round, so they will rightfully feel as though they are capable of knocking off another power in Barcelona. I don’t hate United at +550 to make the Final considering the talent in the squad, but it’s certainly a risky bet.

Spurs being familiar with City may give them an advantage, but the insane depth in Pep Guardiola’s side has me believing the Manchester outfit will emerge victorious in the tie. So, I’ll be passing on Spurs as a finalist at +650, too.

Assuming Juve beats Ajax, the Italian giants will face off with the winner of the City-Tottenham tie in the semifinal. I think Liverpool gets past Porto, which means the Reds will face the winner of the Barcelona-Manchester United leg in the other semi.

If the semifinals are Juventus-Manchester City and Liverpool-Barcelona, we will have 2 semifinal showdowns worthy of being FInal matchups. All 4 of these clubs are fully capable of winning the entire competition, so trying to pick a winner of either tie is quite a challenge.

Manchester City at -160 to make the Final is the “safe” bet, but Juventus at +160 is a far more appealing value. I slightly prefer Liverpool (+160) to Barcelona (+140). In addition to betting on each finalist individually, BetOnline also affords bettors the chance to wager on Champions League Final matchups.

Man City vs. Barcelona is the “favorite” at +300, but Liverpool vs. Juventus at +600 looks awfully appealing. Ditto for Barcelona-Juventus at +500. An all-England Final between Liverpool and Manchester City at +375 is also a pretty profitable option. I think these are the only 4 viable final matchup combinations, so getting action on these looks like a smart plan.

Will the Winning Team Come From England?

  • Yes -130
  • No +100

This is just a numbers game. 50 percent of the remaining field is comprised of Premier League sides, though at least one of them will fail to reach the semifinals because City and Tottenham are set to go head-to-head.

It is extremely likely that we see at least one Premier League side make it all the way to the Final, but it’s obviously not a guarantee. As mentioned previously, a Juve-Barca Final isn’t implausible by any means.

It may sound crazy with renowned clubs like Juve and Barcelona still in the field, but the argument can easily be made that Manchester City and Liverpool are, at this point, the 2 best teams in Europe. Both teams boast world-class managers, and, while Liverpool don’t have the crazy squad depth the Citizens might, the sheer amount of talent in the Reds’ regular starting XI is the best we’ve seen on Merseyside in years and years.

UEFA Champions League

Both teams are good enough to win the Premier League, and both are also good enough to win Champions League. That hasn’t always been the case, as evidenced by the Premier League’s recent European drought. Being the best in England isn’t always good enough.

This year is different. I think the odds have this one correct. There will be an English team in the Final, and I do believe either City or Liverpool will win the whole thing. Most bettors will side with Pep Guardiola’s side at +225 to win Champions League, but Liverpool have typically held a head-to-head edge over the last couple of years. Liverpool to win the competition this season at +350 is a very compelling bet.

Conclusion

Back in August, I rated Juventus as the best value to win Champions League at +550, while I had Liverpool second at +1000 at the time. Barcelona were third at +600, followed by City at +550. Not to pat myself on the back too much, but all 4 obviously remain very much alive. The odds may not be as favorable as they were back then, but kudos to you if you were bold enough to put money on the line in August.

This is the year England finally gets off the schneid and tastes European success once again. Liverpool came close last year before losing in the Final to Real Madrid, but with Madrid out of the competition we will have va new champion for the first time in 4 years.

My (new) favorite bets to win the 2019 Champions League are as follows:

  1. Liverpool +350
  2. Manchester City +225
  3. Juventus +275
  4. Barcelona +325

Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, but he’s willing to take one for the team on that front every now and then.

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