Trends don’t always favor the big names in betting markets. Here we take a closer look at the betting dynamics of the Champions League group stage.
Sportsbooks had it that Champions League trophy will be staying in Spain this year or in the next possible scenario the holy grail of European football will fly over to Germany. At a time, either the Spaniards or the Germans seemed fit to claim the title. Earlier, it was Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Real Madrid. But today is just Barcelona.
Truth told this narrative has become more than two months old and quite monotonous. Since last August, when the groups of the competition were set with a draw, there is not much to report on the lead. Demand and supply in betting exchanges have not provided another clue or a challenger to talk about, support, or contest.
But history shows that when everything seems to be business-as-usual then out of the blue something happens and the natural occurrence of events is disrupted. Look what happened with Donald Trump's victory in the US. The election race was not supposed to be exciting or even conducive but it was.
Similarly, Barcelona has what it takes to keep the crown at home but the Germans are dying to win an international competition. Media coverage of that magnitude will empower their people and support the image of a strong Germany in the current uncertain European environment. This is not only about football. It's about politics too.
Let's investigate the Champions League Group stage and which teams the market favors for group winners:
Paris Saint-Germain beats Arsenal in the details. The two teams have almost equal chances of winning the group. The latest odds lean towards Arsenal but, frankly, the team looks like yesterday's newspaper and is missing new blood that could keep everyone excited. This is not an easy one but in the end PSG simply looks more equipped to proceed further in the competition.
Still, given Arsenal odds' downtrend, I'd be reluctant to bet on the Frenchmen to win this Group. My money is on Arsenal for coming out winners in their group.
This list is the bettor's conundrum. The group is formed by a number of antagonizing inferior teams. Napoli will most likely end the story here, as their declining favorite odds show. But it makes you wonder how the Italians could have later the nerve to face Barcelona or Bayern, for example.
While Napoli's odds are shortening, Besiktas' long odds are more rewarding, given they are now trading below their opening price (+800). Although a longshot at +600 on WilliamHill, I wouldn't rule out an upset in this Group. For risk-averse gamblers, of course, Napoli will appeal more. Finally, despite the Portuguese are doing very well on their own soil, I would avoid betting on Benfica for grabbing the group's top place, simply because their odds are still hovering above their opening values, despite having shortened recently.
Barcelona will mow down Man City, according to their fans. No comments. They are probably right. Betting odds confirm that by a massive advantage in favor of the Spanish team. An easy bet for all those who have cash laid in the bank as their opponents' odds haven't built any promising momentum till now.
Be aware of the Germans. Atletico beat Bayern Munich in last year's semifinals, a fact which is reflected in the betting odds, showing Atletico the favorite in the group by a small margin. But as already mentioned, it is about politics too.
Atletico winning their group poses as another seemingly safe bet, however, you will be betting on the bottom of the trend. If you are looking for more generous odds, look elsewhere.
Monaco has gained a slight preference against Bayer Leverkusen but the bet does not actually reflect the odds in the group but rather the uncertainty among the players. Everything could happen.
In fact, the rollercoaster Leverkusen's odds may be a better choice since they are much shorter (+120 at Bet365) than their opening price (around +900). At the same time, Monaco's odds to win the group seem to be bottoming out.
If Bayern Munich does not make it through Group D, Borussia Dortmund may very well take out the Spaniels. The team has taken an edge in sportsbooks against Real Madrid by almost two to three.
Given Real's odds are drifting to new highs, betting on Dortmund appears the wise betting picks here.
Leicester is competing for the first time in Champions League. The Britons earned a clear lead in the group, so this bet is highly recommended for the more conservative player, especially since Porto odds' recent spike to new highs.
Sevilla is a half-step ahead of Juventus in Group H but the fight is officially declared a tie. On the sportsbooks, the bet looks like a “no disturb” sign hanging out of the door, but this month's spike for Juventus odds lead me to tip Sevilla for Group winner.