Before betting on the winners of Group A of the UEFA Champions League, you may be aware there are two teams which appear to be the best picks.
Like most UEFA Champions League groups in this year’s prestigious tournament, Group A is an obvious two-team race between defending Spanish La Liga champions Atlético Madrid and defending Italian Serie A champions Juventus with defending Swedish Allsvenskan champions Malmö FF and defending Grecian Superleague champions Olympiakos simply serving as whipping boys in a typically lopsided CL group.
Although Atlético lost a number of key players over the summer transfer season including goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois — who was returned back to his parent club Chelsea — star striker Diego Costa and defender Filipe Luís, who also went to Stamford Bridge, Los Rojiblancos reloaded just as quickly and with dynamic manager Diego Simeone and some of the best fans in all of sports, Atleti will again be a force to be reckoned with in the Champions League this time around.
Atlético Madrid Looking to Get Back to CL Final
The Little Engine That Could that is Atlético Madrid finally beat the Big Boys Barcelona and Real Madrid in Spain’s top flight last season and almost pulled off the major double by winning Champions League. It will be that loss in the final to their city and league rivals Madrid last season that sticks in the mind of Los Rojiblancos and which should work as a driving force to motivate this club throughout the tournament.
One of the things that makes Atlético (-11o To Win Group) so great is its defense and with a phenomenal back four of central defenders Diego Godin and Miranda, right back Juanfran and Guilherme Siqueira—who replaces Luís at left back—this team is always a tough one to score on and the boys from the other side of Madrid's Manzanares River is always a candidate for a clean sheet. Former Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandžukic takes over for Costa, but Atlético (20/1 To Win Champions League, LVH SuperBook) can get scoring from anyone on this talented roster which also includes midfielders Koke and Arda Turan.
The Old Lady is Also a Huge Threat
Juventus (+110) is a very-evenly matched team with Group favorites Atlético as the soccer odds reveal. The Serie A champs have a great goalie in Buffon, a legendary leader and playmaker in Pirlo, some real talent in midfielders Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal and some decent strikers including Carlos Tevez and Álvaro Morata. Le Zebre and manager Massimiliano Allegri are amassing a team to compete and make a run in Champions League, but this year’s version of Juventus (25/1 to win Champions League, LVH SuperBook) may still be short of a final four finish in the tournament (semifinals), as clubs from La Liga and Bundesliga and possibly the English Premier League should be in that ultimate mix in May.
The Little Guys From Sweden and Greece
Malmö (+8000), nicknamed Di blåe, and Olympiakos (+1100), nicknamed ?hrylos, which translates to “legend” have little if any chance of advancing from this Group so I’ll save us both a lot of time here. Both Malmö and Olympiakos are part of the “Field” bet (25/1) here in Las Vegas at the LVH SuperBook and when a team from the “Field” wins the Champions League we will all be looking to the skies to see when the next big meteor makes its appearance on planet Earth. Both have been made huge underdogs by oddsmakers to win Group A.
Olympiakos can get some hope with a Draw and a point against Atlético in the opener on Sept. 16, but if that doesn’t happen, and it likely won’t, this Group will go to form with the two big games being the Atlético-Juventus game in Madrid on Oct. 1 and the real big one coming on matchday 6 when Los Rojiblancos are at Juventus Stadium on Dec. 9. Very little drama to be had in Group A, as seemingly with most groups in this tourney at this stage after this predictable draw.
Common Man’s Betting Approaches Very Limited
The only real way to try to make money betting on these Group Stages, with so many heavy chalks in the 1-2 spots likely to move on to the Knockout Stage, is to find some kind of creative angle and here that means using the extremely likely 1-2 favorites Atlético and Juventus in two combination-order odds props. The Straight Forecast Odds, which require both teams wagered on to finish in that exact 1-2 order—Atlético Madrid/Juventus (+110) or Juventus/Atlético Madrid (+162) here—is my favorite way to approach this Group with the Atlético/Juventus (+110) 1-2 finish seeming to be the best bet. In the Dual Forecast Odds, both teams selected need to advance in either order and the Atlético/Juventus (+400) combination here is strongly recommended for those who want something safe and don’t mind laying a little lumber.
As previously mentioned, the whole 1-2 finish in the Group will likely come down to the last matchday of the stage when Atleti pays a visit to Turin to dance with the Old Lady on Dec. 9. and if Los Rojiblancos won and snatched all three points in that first meeting in Spain—as is expected—Juve may be well content just to advance from second place and may settle for a Draw or may have already clinched a berth in the Knockout Stage and be less than motivated in that match, even though it will be on its own home soil.
Premier League Prediction
Atlético Madrid finishes first in Group, Juventus second
Free Soccer Pick: I recommend you play Atlético Madrid/Juventus Straight Forecast at +110 as your soccer pick for group A.