- Newcomers Atalanta widely-behind as tip for second-place
- Guardiola’s team beat Shaktar Donetsk home-and-away last season
- Outsiders Dinamo Zagreb advanced through qualifying rounds
Manchester City want to win the Champions League to confirm their status as an elite club, and this season’s group stage draw will certainly help them on their way.
They have been installed by Bovada as huge -600 favorites to win Group C. Any other outcome is massively unlikely.
2019-20 Champions League Group C Odds
|Team||Odds at Bovada|
*Odds taken at 08/30/19
After what was widely seen as one of the most inviting outcomes available for Pep Guardiola’s team, the Italians of Atalanta are priced way behind City as second favorites at +650 – which offers some value.
Shaktar Donetsk of Ukraine – beaten 6-0 by City last season – are listed at +800 with Dinamo Zagreb of Croatia the outsiders at +10,000.
Two Recent Group Stage Wins
City have won their group in each of the past two seasons. In Guardiola’s first campaign in charge three seasons ago in 2016-17, they finished second to fellow giants Barcelona.
They are favorites in the Champions League odds to win this season’s competition at average +410.
However, they have yet to advance beyond the last eight under Guardiola’s command. There is also the threat that they could be expelled later this season from the UCL by the governing body UEFA.
Officials at UEFA are staging an on-going investigation into allegations that the club broke financial fair play rules. City fiercely deny the claims.
Atalanta are playing in the UCL for the first time this season after finishing third in Serie A.
Compared to City’s extravagantly-assembled squad, the Italian club’s major signing this summer was to land the experienced striker Luis Muriel from Sevilla for $22 million.
Shaktar has been beaten by City three times in the past two seasons at the group stage.
Last season they won 3-0 away and 6-0 at home.
In the previous season, City lost 2-1 in Ukraine, but this was in the last of the six group matches when City had already secured first place.
Dinamo Zagreb is the last team in the group, having advanced through two qualifying rounds and a playoff to reach the group stage.
In the playoff, Dinamo defeated Rosenborg of Norway 2-0 at home and then drew 1-1 away.
They have never advanced beyond the group stage in the UCL.
After winning the EPL title for the previous two seasons, the UCL is seen by many observers as City’s prime target this season.
The belief is that the competition is the one much-coveted by City’s owners in Abu Dhabi, who have poured billions into the club since they took it over in 2008.
Guardiola insists it is not imperative to win the Champions League.
But after winning an unprecedented treble of the EPL title, FA Cup and EFL Cup in May, it is a reasonable belief to suggest that City now need to validate their elevated status by winning the game’s premier club competition.
City’s only prior success in Europe was to win the now-defunct European Cup Winners Cup in 1970.
Pick: Manchester City -600
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