- The UEFA Champions League round-of-16 draw has been made
- Man City are odds-on to make the semifinals
- Real Madrid a juicy +800 to make the final
The UEFA Champions League draw for the round-of-16 has been made, so now’s a good time to take a look at the odds to reach the semis and finals. Man City’s outright Champions League odds are an average of +358, Liverpool +417 and Barcelona +517 and all three are also the top three favorites to reach the semis and finals.
But are any of them a good bet? Are there any good value bets beyond the big three? We’ll take a look.
UEFA Champions League Odds
|Team||Odds to Reach Semifinals||Odds to Reach Final|
Odds taken on Dec. 16.
Man City Odds-On to Make the UCL Semis
Man City have headed the 2020 Champions League odds since the end of last season and nothing’s happened in the meantime to change this, including them getting a tricky round-of-16 draw in the form of the mighty Real Madrid.
As things stand, City are odds-on for a place in the semifinal (-110) and just +175 for a place in the final; astonishing odds for a team that has never been close to winning this competition and is currently sitting third in their own domestic league.
Pep Guardiola has just endured his most difficult spell at the City helm and arguably the stickiest spell in his managerial career – the Citizens are 14 points adrift of table-topping Liverpool – but perversely this lack of opportunity to make it three titles in a row may help in their quest for Champions League glory.
City’s owner, Sheikh Mansour, has made no secret of the fact he’d like a Champions League crown to show for his mammoth investment, so this does feel like a pivotal moment for Guardiola, who must now concentrate his resources of the biggest prize. Against Real, who themselves are relative outsiders at +800 for a place in the final, City have the advantage of having the second leg at home, but make no mistake, this will be a huge hurdle for Guardiola’s men.
Real, despite their unusually generous odds, remain giants of European soccer and are currently joint-top of La Liga with Barcelona. The value here is unquestionably with the Spanish giants.
Reds With Eyes on the EPL Prize
Liverpool’s position is, in many ways, the opposite of City’s, in that they have the most recent Champions League tucked away in the trophy cabinet but haven’t won the English Premier League title since 1990 – a long wait for a club of their size and stature. Jurgen Klopp will still be looking to retain the UCL but there is a huge expectation on Merseyside that they must end their domestic drought. He may find himself prioritizing the EPL over the UCL.
The Reds also have a tough-looking round-of-16 tie to negotiate against Atletico Madrid but with the added advantage of playing at Anfield in the second leg. I’m not convinced, however, given the above, they have the desire to make it two finals in a row and there is no value in even-money for them to make the semifinals.
Barca Looking to Give Messi Another Gong
Barca are still bruised from last year’s dramatic semifinal exit at the hands of Liverpool, when they blew a 3-0 lead from the first leg at the Camp Nou, and will be desperate to give the genius Lionel Messi one final UCL title to add to his glittering array of silverware. They have to overcome a round-of-16 tie against Napoli in order to progress, with the second leg in Barcelona, and will certainly fancy their chances, given the travails of the Naples club so far this season.
Of the big three, for me, the value is with Barca’s +250 to make the final.
City’s lack of opportunity to make it three titles in a row may ultimately help in their quest for Champions League glory
Best of the Rest
Outside of City, Liverpool and Barca, there is a case to be made for each of PSG, Bayern Munich and Juventus getting to the semifinals and beyond. PSG, in particular, have had Man City levels of investment pumped into the club with a view to claiming European soccer’s biggest prize, and look better-equipped than ever to get to at least the semifinals this season.
With Mbappé and Neymar both among the goals, PSG will be more than a match for any of the big names in this competition and are genuine contenders. A round-of-16 clash with Borussia Dortmund, with the second-leg in Paris, offers them a winnable route to the last eight.
PSG have, if the planets align, enough to go all the way this season
My pick: Real Madrid to qualify for the final (+800)