The close of the first leg of the quarterfinal round sent Champions League Outrights spiralling in some cases. Find out why and where the biggest impact is felt ahead of next week’s second legs.
Champions League Outrights In the Knockouts
Ahead of the Champions League R16, marking the first of the knockout rounds, we previewed the Outrights trading in the market according to bet365 (see Table 1). No surprise to which clubs were the top favorites; Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
From R16 to the Quarters
As the first table on the left (denoting outrights ahead of the R16) indicates, the favored tandem were matched only a smidgen apart with Barcelona at +250 and Bayern Munich at +275. However, one knockout round down and the Catalan giants clearly pulled ahead of Bayern Munich on the Champions League odds board – Barcelona dropped from +250 to +160 soccer odds while Bayern Munich barely inched forward from +275 to +260 soccer odds, making their move a moot point really.
The manner in which the pair advanced into the quarterfinals had everything to do with this significant separation. Barcelona crushed Arsenal 5-1 on aggregate (winning 2-0 at the Emirates before finishing the Gunners off with a 3-1 trouncing at Camp Nou). Bayern Munich advanced with a 6-4 win on aggregate over Juventus, but the score belies their performance. Indeed, it was the nerviest of all the ties in the R16. Bayern got off to a convincing 2-0 win in Turin but then the Old Lady stormed back to level the first leg, setting up a thrilling showdown at the Allianz Arena with the tie finely poised on a 2-2 draw. To their credit, last term’s runners-up didn’t disappoint as they stunned Bayern Munich by taking the 2-0 lead in Munich (4-2 on aggregate), and just when it looked as if they’d pulled off the unthinkable, Bayern Munich stormed back with two late goals to level the second leg 2-2 and 4-4 on aggregate, thereby sending the tie into extra time, in which they eventually won 4-2.
It’s also interesting to note that Barcelona’s odds to win the title improved despite drawing a tough Atletico Madrid in the quarterfinals – a side they lost to at the very same stage two terms ago. On the flipside, Bayern Munich drew competition minnows Benfica yet their odds to win the title improved so very little.
Other movers and shakers were PSG (as noted in Table 1 above), shortening from +1400 to +700, all while draw Man City, previously favored ahead of French side at +1000 soccer odds or thereabouts depending on your sportsbook of choice. Finally, Real remained unmoved going into the quarterfinals in spite of their comprehensive win over Serie A side Roma in the R16 (they won 4-0 on aggregate) and drawing first-time quarterfinalists Wolfsburg in the last eight.
So that was how the field stacked up ahead of the quarterfinals. How did they fare at the first hurdle of the highly anticipated quarterfinals, you may be wondering? Well, let’s just say it was mighty interesting, not to mention moving in the Champions League markets.
First Leg of the Quarterfinals Is In The Books.
Now, that the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals is in the books in its entirety, we take stock of some of the movers and shakers (See Table 2).
Barcelona and Bayern Move Incrementally
Barcelona took the first leg at home 2-1 over Atletico Madrid but the game was far from straightforward. Diego Simeone’s lads took the lead initially 1-0 through a strike by Fernando Torres and were well on their way towards masterminding the upset, but, in typical fashion, they didn’t keep their heads cool at the Camp Nou and were made to pay for it when they had a man sent off. One really wonders what might have happened had Fernando Torres not been so brash in his tackling. In any event, Atleti do have the away goal and the return leg at the Calderon next weekend. They are down but not out, which resulted in a nominal move for Barcelona on the Champions League odds board and none whatsoever in their case (they remain the +1600 soccer pick to win it all, which only underscores the magnitude of the task before them).
Bayern Munich were expected to steamroll Benfica at the Allianz Arena. Although they didn’t do that in a 1-0 win over the Portuguese side, they did manage to deny to opportunistic Benfica an away goa. The upshot of which Pep Guardiola’s side shortens from +260 to +225 while Benfica remain unmoved at a whopping +10000 to win it all.
PSG and Man City Have All To Play For
PSG and Man City served up one of the most thrilling, evenly matched encounters of the quarterfinal round as they went on to settle for a 2-2 draw at the Stade de Paris. Although PSG played exceptionally well credit must be given to the Citizens for raising their level and giving the French leaders something to think about. As it is, the tie is finely poised with all to play for at the Etihad, prompting a significant closing of the gap in outrights between this pair. PSG rocket up to +1000 and Man City to +1200 in futures betting markets.
Real Madrid Upset Alert
Finally, the shocker of all shockers that few (if anybody could have predicted) on the sports betting floor occurred in this matchup. It was supposed to be the easiest draw, the draw every other club secretly envied Real: taking on first-time quarterfinalists Wolfsburg and competition longshots by a country mile. Well, so much for easy draws. If the 2-0 win by Wolfsburg doesn’t prove nothing is straightforward or a given, then what will. As a consequence of the upset that sent seismic shockwaves through soccer betting markets Wolfsburg experiences the most significant move on the Champions League odds board, crawling out of their +10000 obscurity into the light of +2500 soccer odds to win it all. At the same time, Real’s outrights slip from +500 to +800.
On balance, Real’s move is nominal considering their down two-goals. However, with a return leg at the Bernabeu next week and their undeniable talent and quality it’s too soon to write them off just yet. Put it this way, it would take a monumental effort by the Bundesliga upstarts to replicate their performance in the Spanish capital, not to mentiona a brave soul to bet on them to do it again with their second leg soccer picks.