Group B UEFA Champions League Favor Real Madrid

Kevin Stott

Friday, September 12, 2014 8:53 PM GMT

Making soccer picks on the winner of the UEFA Champions League Group B is a bit like panning for gold in that it requires a lot of work and patience to find the smallest nugget of (perceived) value heading into this round of play which begins next Tuesday.

Along with Cristiano Ronaldo (+300, BetVictor to be Top Goalscorer in the entire tournament—the favorite out of all players) and Los Blancos, English Premier League second-place finishers Liverpool (+350 To Win Group, bet365), Swiss Super League champions FC Basel (+1600) and Bulgarian A Group champions Ludogorets (+6600) are also in (Odds To Win) Group B, a group oddsmakers have Real Madrid rightfully tabbed as very heavy favorites to win (-400, Sky Bet).

 

Defending Champs Loaded as Usual, Massive Favorites Over Basel in Opener
Los Blancos are massive, pretty much unapproachable 10/1 favorites in their Group B opener on Tuesday (Sept. 16) on the Winner/(Three-Way Moneyline) and Real Madrid -900 (Draw +475, FC Basel +2000, Ladbroke’s) can probably only be used in that manner and at that lofty price as a parlay/accumulator element/leg. The only sports book (on Sunday night) on Oddschecker.com to have Madrid priced under -1000 was Ladbroke’s, while the Whites were as high as -1600 in some places (Sky Bet and William Hill) to win their opening match at Santiago Bernabéu against the RotBlau. And with all of the elite players Real Madrid has to work with, beating Basel at home in its opener on Tuesday (ESPN Deportes/Fox Soccer 2Go, 2:45 p.m. ET/11:45 a.m. PT) and possibly winning all six games in its group is certainly in the realm of possibility for this club which probably sees anything less then being the first club  to win the UEFA Champions League in back-to-back years as less than a failure.

While Real Madrid will be hosting FC Basel in Spain on Matchday 1, Liverpool (-450, William Hill; game odds link) will probably be beating Ludogorets Razgrad (+1200, Draw +500) at Anfield in its opener, so, Real Madrid and 55-year-old manager Carlo Ancelotti will definitely be motivated by that scheduling reality. The Total Goals in this Real Madrid-FC Basel game is set pretty high (3½ Over -105, Ladbroke’s), but taking the Under in a Madrid game when it’s at home and healthy and in the Champions League is only for the daring as the Madridistas can always pop a 4- or 5- or 6-spot on the board when in an offensive groove.

 

Any Madrid Players Have a Chance at Topping CR7 for RM Scoring Title?
No. Probably not.

The way Madrid’s attack is almost designed around Ronaldo and his brilliance, it’s almost impossible to make a case for any of his other teammates to outscore him—and everyone else—and win the Top Real Madrid Goalscorer prop/futures bet for the tourney. And when handicapping this particular category, it’s always important to remember who will likely be taking all the potential penalty kicks and a good portion of the free kicks for Los Blancos before wagering in this niche marketplace. Yep.

Behind Ronaldo and his healthy -400 odds (888sport) to be Madrid’s top scorer in the UEFA Champions League, Karim Benzema (+500), Gareth Bale (+500), Jesé Rodriguez (+1600), Isco (+4000), Sami Khedira (+5000), Sergio Ramos (+5000), former Bayern Munich star

Toni Kroos (+5000) and Luka Modric (+6600) follow, but maybe the only guy who could possibly knock off CR7 in this category from Real Madrid is no longer with Madrid and is will now be testing his midfield mettle over in the EPL with Manchester United (Ángel Di María).

But with the heavy (-400) soccer odds, this bet is probably best left for the Ronaldo fans and the sports gambler who can wait to win if that indeed ends up being the case. Anyone who follows soccer/football closely wouldn’t surprised in the least is Benzema or Bale or maybe even young sensations Isco or  Jesé ended up as Madrid’s top scorer, but factoring in playing time and PKs and ego and history and Ancelotti, it would be hard to go against No. 7 here.

 

What Are the Best Approaches Using Real Madrid at This Point in Time?
Unless you’re going to bet $400 to try to win $100 on Los Blancos to Win Group B at -400, there are few real easy and nominally priced wagers one can make to try to generate a little cash from this group. Ludogorets is making its first appearance in the Group Stage and is genuinely lucky to be here the way it advanced with defender Cosmin Moti in goal against Steaua Bucharest in a dramatic penalty kick shootout. And Basel may be able to give the Reds a run for second place in Group B if it can beat Liverpool in Switzerland on October 1st and then either pull off the major upset or earn a draw and a possibly very valuable point in Merseyside on that final Matchday 6 (Dec. 9).

Historically, Liverpool (25/1 To Win Champions League (open), Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) has never lost, nor ever been scored upon by Real Madrid (3-0-0, 6-0 goals), but that will probably come to an end at Anfield on October 22. As written about here at Sportsbook Review in my UEFA Champions League Group B Preview, maybe the only way to approach this group from a Futures standpoint is through the Straight Forecast bet and taking Real Madrid/Liverpool (-162, William Hill) to finish 1-2.

For any prospective gambler ready to throw down on Madrid in the opener, he or she will have to lay a goal or two to get some fairly decent odds, but if you’re contemplating taking Real Madrid To Score 4+ Goals (+125, Sky Bet) or maybe even Real Madrid To Score 5+ Goals (+300), remember that the Total (3½ Over -105, Ladbroke’s) will go Over if either of those props hit and a 3-1 Real Madrid scoreline would be that 4+ or 5+ prop bettors worst nightmare. With Ronaldo and Bale and Modric and Benzema and Kroos and Isco and on and on and on, Madrid should be able to score 4 goals (or more) in its opener at home against a game but heavily outgunned Basel side.

Free Soccer Group Prediction: Real Madrid wins group easily, Liverpool second

Free Soccer Pick: Real Madrid-FC Basel Over 3½ (-105, Ladbroke’s)

Free Soccer Futures Pick: Real Madrid/Liverpool Straight Forecast (-162, William Hill)