With the Super Bowl XLIX over, sports bettors are invited to take part in the European soccer leagues & tournaments action which are loaded with money-making opportunities.
With Super Bowl XLIX now in the books and the 2014/2015 NFL season over, many sports bettors will now assume that there are few markets in which to try to make some money in sports gambling, but nothing could be farther from the truth with the NBA, NHL and College Basketball all now in full swing and MLB’s Opening Day here before you know it. And then there are those often underappreciated European soccer markets. And there are a plethora of them. And for the NFL and/or College Football bettor wanting to explore something new and use the Winter and Spring months trying to scrape out a little bit of extra money—be it recreationally or seriously—honing in on some of these European leagues and their big tournaments can often be fun and profitable. But like all sports gambling, gambling on European soccer takes equal parts of discipline, patience, knowledge, research, luck and timing. Let’s take a look at some of the major tournaments and leagues now playing on the continent, some possible approaches, the strongest clubs and how they can be used and offer up a couple Futures Soccer Picks.
UEFA Champions League
This tournament of all soccer tournaments features the top qualifying clubs from all of the European leagues and is currently set to begin its two-leg Knockout Phase with the final 16 clubs and resumes play this month on February 17/18. The 16 clubs still playing with their Knockout Phase opponents are: Paris Saint-Germain (+2800 to win UEFA Champions League, Paddy Power) and Chelsea (+750, Sky Bet), who meet in Leg 1 on Tuesday, February 23 in Paris (PSG +160, Chelsea +170, Draw +225, bet365); Shakhtar Donetsk (+50,000, BetVictor) and 2013 champions Bayern Munich (+275, Bwin), who will play their Leg 1 on Tuesday, February 23 in Donetsk (Shakhtar Donetsk +850, Draw +400, Bayern Munich -250, bet365); FC Basel (+25,000, Unibet) and Porto (+5,000, bet365), whose Leg 1 will take place on Wednesday, February 18 in Basel (Basel +225, Porto +125, Draw +225, bet365); and, FC Schalke 04 (+50,000, Bwin) and defending champions Real Madrid (+275, bet365), who will play their Leg 1 in Gelsenkirchen, also on Wednesday, February 18.
Also playing in the Knockout Phase are Juventus (+3,300, Sky Bet) and Borussia Dortmund (+3,300 BetVictor), whose Leg 1 is scheduled for Tuesday, February 24 in Turin (Juventus +105, Draw +240, Borussia Dortmund +260, bet365); Manchester City (+1,600, Paddy Power) and Barcelona (+600, Stan James), whose Leg 1 is on Tuesday, February 24 in Manchester (Barcelona +110, Draw +250, Manchester City +250, bet365); Arsenal (+2,200, Sky Bet) and AS Monaco (+20,000, Ladbrokes), who will play their Leg 1 on Wednesday, February 25 in London (Arsenal -175, Draw +280, Monaco +500, bet365); and, Bayer Leverkusen (+8,000, bet365) and Atlético Madrid (+1,800, Sky Bet), who will play their Leg 1 on Wednesday, February 25 in Leverkusen (Bayer Leverkusen +170, Atletico Madrid +160, Draw +225, bet365).
This year’s UEFA Champions League final will be played at Olympiastadion in Berlin, Germany on Saturday June 6.
UEFA Europa League
The little sister of the Champions League, the Europa League can prove to be a really good place to make money for favorites bettors in the early rounds. But, unlike the Champions League, the Europa League is only in the Round of 32, so some value can still be found with some suspect teams still participating. Italian Serie A’s AS Roma (8/1 to win Europa League, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) and Napoli (10/1), Liverpool (10/1), Inter Milan (12/1), Everton (12/1), Tottenham Hotspur (14/1), Sevilla (14/1), Zenit St. Petersburg (16/1), Villarreal (16/1), Fiorentina (20/1), VfL Wolfsburg (20/1), Borussia Moenchengladbach (25/1), Athletic Bilbao (25/1), Olympiakos (25/1), Sporting Lisbon (25/1), FC Red Bull Salzburg (25/1), Besiktas (25/1), Ajax (25/1), Dynamo Moscow (30/1) and Field (20/1) are the top choices in odds order and this particular Futures market surely has more value than most that can be found. The problem, as always, comes in finding one or two clubs to bet on to make a run at that silverware.
Because Spain’s La Liga has been the top league in Europe of late and because this tournament’s defending champions (Sevilla) are so well-priced (18/1, Bwin), and can realistically win this tournament once again, backing them and La Liga leaguemates Villarreal (20/1, BetVictor) seems pretty wise from this distance.
The Europa League final will be held on Wednesday, May 27 at National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland.
Major European Soccer Leagues
All of the major European soccer leagues have now started up their second halves including the four most popular: The English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, Germany’s Fußball-Bundesliga and Italy’s Serie A. Most of the value in any Futures Bets in these four leagues has long vanished, but with four more months of play (February-March-April-May), there are more than enough regular season games left—usually played on weekends—on which to try to make some money gambling. Chelsea and Manchester City should fight for the EPL title with Sunday’s loss by third-place Southampton hurting the Saints chances of shocking the soccer world. In La Liga, it looks to again be a three-team race between heavyweights Atlético Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid, while in Fußball-Bundesliga, Bayern Munich (45 points) looks to be breezing to another league championship although the Bavarians loss at second-place VfL Wolfsburg (37 points) on Friday—their first of the season—gives some hope to other clubs in Germany’s top flight of football. And in Italy, defending champions Juventus (50 points) have a 7-point lead over second-place AS Roma (43 points), but catching a team with a midfielder like Paul Pogba, a goalkeeper like Gianluigi Buffon and which has allowed just 9 goals to date will prove to be tough and betting on individual matches would be much more prudent than any Futures wagers.
All other major European leagues like France’s Ligue 1 and Holland’s Eredivisie are also playing now and each country has its own internal national tournaments in their waning stages (England’s FA Cup and Capital One Cup, Spain’s Copa del Rey, Germany’s DFB Pokal and Italy’s Coppa Italia); AFCON is its semifinals stage (Democratic Republic of Congo-Ivory Coast and Ghana-Equatorial Guinea); and, the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be taking place this summer (June 6-July 5) from various locations around Canada. In short, there is plenty of soccer to keep one’s mind sharp and to try to make some money betting on given the right time and situation. Many teams are in the Relegation Zones of their respective leagues and are often good teams to pick on, especially on the road in the second half of this season. Betting against QPR on the road will probably not be an option next Premier League season after the Hoops have probably been relegated.
And in soccer, one can find many niche Proposition markets (Both Teams To Score, Draw No Bet, Anytime Goalscorer), concentrate on Totals, create some decent parlays (accumulators) and/or bet in-game. Like American Football, there are more than enough options, and, like anything in life, it just takes the Desire and the Time to learn and then hopefully profit off it if that’s your end goal. And with a betting season that stretches from August to June and matches played on every day of the week, Soccer/World Football is now almost a year-round sport on which a serious gambler can focus their sports picks on.
Soccer Futures Picks: Atlético Madrid to win UEFA Champions League +1800 (Sky Bet), Sevilla to win UEFA Europa League +1800 (Bwin), Villarreal to win UEFA Europa League +2000 (BetVictor)