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Ajax Now -175 Favorites to Win Champions League Group H After Matchday​ 2

Gary Gowers

by Gary Gowers in Soccer News

Updated Apr 14, 2020 · 8:58 AM UTC

Valencia's Camp de Mestalla
Valencia's Camp de Mestalla will need to be at its intimidating best for the visits of Lille and Chelsea as the Spaniards look to get in the top two of Group H and qualify for the UCL knockout phase. Photo By Valencia CF (Wiki Commons) [CC License]
  • Ajax is 2-0-0 in the Champions League and sits atop Group H
  • Chelsea’s away win in Lille keeps them in contention to win the group
  • Valencia’s opening-day win in London put them in the mix

After Matchday 2 of the UEFA Champions League, Ajax are now odds-on at -175 favs to win Group H. Their outright odds have shortened from +5000 to +3900 and they look certain to go deep in the tournament. The question is, are they really the best bet, and if not who is? We’ll take a look, along with some to advance/not advance bets.

UEFA Champions League Group H – Odds

Team Odds to Advance Odds to Not Advance Odds to Win Group
Ajax -714 +450 -175
Chelsea -175 +130 +250
Valencia -105 -111 +450
Lille +1600 -5000 +8000

*All odds as of 10/03/19.

Ajax’s fine run to the semifinal of last season’s UEFA Champions League was borne of a youthful squad, most of whom were schooled in the famous Ajax Academy. They played with the technical excellence we have come to expect, but also with a verve and vigor that only comes with a team filled with young, hungry players.

Only some semifinal heroics from Tottenham’s Lucas Moura denied Ajax a place in last season’s UCL final. That heartbreak was followed by agony of a different sort in the offseason. The sales of its two star players, Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt, to Barcelona and Juventus respectively, left Ajax looking markedly different heading into 2019-20.

Ajax Production Line

But, the production line continues to churn out quality players and there has been no let-up in Amsterdam with Ajax picking up where they left off last season in both the Eredivisie and the Champions League.

Six wins and two draws in their domestic league sees them currently sharing top spot with PSV. But it’s the Champions League we’re interested in, and two consecutive 3-0 wins have already given them control of Group H.

Even if they have a blip, it’s hard to see them not advancing to the knockout phase, although odds of -714 offer no value whatsoever.

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The battle for the second qualifying spot is much harder to call with both Chelsea and Valencia having had one good result and one disappointing one.

Valencia & Chelsea Locked In Battle For Second

The Spaniards’ 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge on opening day was a surprise to many but was one that propelled them into the spotlight, with talk of them being Ajax’s main rivals in the group. They were, however, unable to follow this up with a home win this week, with the Dutch champions running out comfortable 3-0 winners in the Camp de Mestalla.

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Chelsea took the opposite route. After the disappointment of said 1-0 defeat, they bounced back in style on Tuesday night with an impressive 2-1 win in Lille, with goals from Tammy Abraham and Willian.

Momentum With Chelsea?

This, in theory, leaves the momentum with the Blues, but worth noting is that next up for Chelsea is a home tie with Ajax, while Valencia are in  Lille. This could see the balance tilt back towards the Spaniards.

So, even though it looks as if Ajax are going to win the group, there still looks to be some value with the 9/2 on offer for Valencia to win it, even if it does necessitate a defeat for the Dutch somewhere along the line.  Stranger things …

But it’s the -111 odds for Valencia to qualify that really appeals. I see them as a better all-round team than Frank Lampard’s talented-but-inconsistent squad of youngsters.

My pick: Valencia to advance (-111)

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