The countdown is on to the biggest soccer match of the year as Real Madrid takes on Juventus in the Champions League final on June 3. It will attract a huge amount of wagers due to the magnitude and popularity of the game, and there will be a massive amount of prop betting options, which can be a little daunting. This guide is designed to help you form a strategy for betting the Champions League final
The most common betting type in soccer is the three-way line, in this case a Real Madrid win, a Juventus win or a draw. Because soccer games are often decided by just a single goal, handicap betting is not as popular, but it exists. You can choose European or Asian handicaps, which are explained in more detail below. The most common prop bets are: correct score, will both teams score, total goals (over/under), the half-time/full-time result, first goal scorer, any time goal scorer, double chance and draw no bet. But there are all sorts of combinations and prop bets to choose from. Another extremely popular bet for a cup final is “to lift the trophy”. This allows for a tie in 90 minutes, and for your selection to win after extra-time and if necessary a penalty shoot-out. The odds are not as attractive, but it covers you for a draw in 90 minutes. Real Madrid won the trophy last season, beating Atletico Madrid in the final. However it was a draw after 90 minutes and they had to rely on penalties, so that bet would have covered you.
What about after kick-off?
In-play betting has long since overtaken pre-match betting in terms of popularity. Before the match oddsmakers have all the time in the world to analyse the intricacies of the game and stack the odds in their favour. After kick-off, they are rushing to keep up with the action, and it can be easier to steal a march on them. In-play betting was previously confined to a few books, but now most offer it. Three of the best are Bet365, Ladbrokes and Betfred, because they each offer streaming, cash out, quick bets, live scores and live stats, arming you with everything you need to know before placing a wager.
Where should I bet?
One of your main concerns should be which sportsbooks are offering the most attractive odds. However, you should also stick to trusted, reputable books that are verified by SBR as having a long history of paying out in full and on time and have the liquidity to cover your potential winnings. Some of the less heralded sites might tempt you with extremely competitive odds, but they may be too good to be true. Instead, stick to the established sites and find the best prices. If you think Juventus will win it, Pinnacle has +200, which is the best available at the time of writing. Paddy Power has the best odds for a draw at +210 and Bet365 for the Real Madrid win at +170. Some bookmakers come into their own on prop bets. Bet Victor and Paddy Power are extremely attractive here, as is 5Dimes.
Who will win it?
A tough one. These are two very different teams. Real Madrid is the favorite and won it last year. It has the deadliest striker in the world at the moment in Cristiano Ronaldo and plays fantastic attacking football. Juventus is the underdog, but will not fear Real Madrid after surging past Barcelona in the quarter-final and knocking out Monaco in the semi-final. It has all been based on a superb defense that has conceded just one goal in six games in the Champions League knockout stage. Real Madrid meanwhile frequently concede goals but are also a high-scoring team. Do you go with the best defense or the best offense? In actual fact, this game could be won in midfield. Luka Modric, Casemiro, and Toni Kroos have been dominant for Real and could get the better of Sami Khedira and Miralem Pjanic of Juventus. That would mean they would create more chances for Ronaldo and co than Barcelona’s forwards got in the quarter-finals. Real also have frightening pace from Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, which could unsettle Juventus’ defense, so it is understandable that Real is the favorite. But thanks to its superb defense and Real’s poor defense, many believe Juventus will get the job done.
When should I back them?
If you think Real Madrid will win it, now might be the time to back them. Real is the more famous team and the casual betting public, the armchair fans, are likely to back the team they know in the immediate buildup to the match so they have an interest in the game. That should push the odds on Real down, so sooner rather than later is advisable. The opposite is true for Juventus, whose odds could well get more attractive closer to kick-off.
What prop bets are worth considering?
The most common prop bets revolve around how many goals will be scored and whether both teams will score. In this case, it is a difficult market because of the differing styles of the two sides. If it were Real Madrid v Monaco, you would back over 2.5 goals or even over 3.5 goals all day long. If it were Juventus v Atletico Madrid, two defensive teams, under 2.5 goals would be the way to go. Juventus will probably score as Real Madrid concede so frequently. But there is a sense of destiny about Ronaldo at the moment after he scored hat-tricks against Atletico and Bayern Munich in the previous rounds, and because of that Real will probably breach the fabled Juventus defense. So both teams to score at -105 with William Hill looks good. Ronaldo to score at any time is hard to argue with and he is +125 with Bet Victor. Juventus will get chances and they have a lethal finisher in Gonzalo Higuain, who will be playing against his former club and keen to make a mark, so he looks a great option at +155 with Bet Victor.
Where can I find out more?
Return next week to this site for a historical analysis on the Champions League final and a detailed look at the form of both teams, examining the bets that have paid off in the past season on Real Madrid and Juventus, and in previous Champions League finals.
Join The Conversation With Other Soccer Bettors In SBR's Forum