Europe’s top flight competition is back on the books and soccer odds makers have released a whole slew of odds, from odds to win the competition outright to odds to win the group stage and much, much more. Chelsea are counted amongst the top six favourites to win the competition and, strictly speaking, things do look positive towards that end. Jose Mourinho’s Blues find themselves in a relatively comfortable Group E, which they are expected to win convincingly if the odds were any indication.
Top 6 favourites in the competition: Bayern Munich +350, Barcelona +400, Real Madrid +500, Chelsea +900, Man U +1200 and Man City +1400.
Top 3 Dark horses in the competition: PSG +1400, Juventus +1600 and Borussia Dortmund +1800
Group E Preview:
Chelsea: +900 to win outright, Chelsea -400 to win group
Chelsea qualified into Champions League on the back of a third-place finish in Premier League action. Their crowning achievement last season was winning UEFA Europa League, marking a second straight title in European competition after winning Champions League in 2011-2012. The only reason however why Chelsea ended up competing in Europe’s second flight competition was a subpar performance in Champions League, failing to advance into the knockout stages following a third place finish.
Chelsea goes into this year’s competition once again with a new coach – Jose Mourinho, who won this competition while at the helm of Inter Milan. Mourinho has to like the draw this year and should be confident about his team’s chances of winning the group. And so they should really at a whopping -400 price tag.
Beyond the group stage though it’s too early to predict what fortune (or misfortune) may befall them. Chelsea is off to a solid start on the domestic season but a scoreless draw to Man U and a disappointing defeat to Bayern Munich in UEFA Super Cup action have some experts wondering whether Chelsea can rise to the occasion in the big moments – a fact that takes some of the shine off their favourable +900 odds to win the competition as a whole. It’s early days yet, of course, but Chelsea look like the only team worth backing with your soccer picks in this group.
Schalke 04: +10000 to win outright, +400 to win group
Schalke 04 finished fourth in Bundesliga action last year, which earned them a spot in UEFA Champions League playoffs where they beat PAOK 4-3 on aggregate to secure their place in the main draw.
Last year, Schalke 04 surprised many by winning Group B, including Arsenal who finished in second place. In the R16 however Schalke fell to Galatasaray 4-3 on aggregate. All told, Schalke 04, who have made it as far as the semifinals of this competition, have an outside shot as the second favourites to win the group at +400. As far as winning the competition though they are the quintessential long shot sports betting option.
The dark horses: FC Basel +1400 to win group and Steaua Bucharest + 3300 to win outright (both +50000 to win outright)
Both FC Basel and Steaua Bucharest have seen into Champions League action in the past and that will go some way towards putting forward a respectable account. The latter has had some good results here and there in group action and, as such, is deemed the third favourite to win the group. Whilst all online sportsbooks have the odds stacked against Steaua Bucharest to advance out of the group stage; it’s been several years since Steaua has reached this competition and as well a Romanian team hasn’t advanced into the knockout stages since the rebranding of Champions League. There’s always a first time for everything of course.
Champions League betting Verdict: Chelsea is clearly the favourite here and they really shouldn’t be challenged to win this group. Where the battle will take place is for second-place, which is theoretically up for grabs by either of the remaining teams. Schalke 04 is the obvious choice to clinch second place but if you are looking for an outside pick, FC Basel is a tempting dark horse that could give Schalke 04 a run for its money.
Predictions and Picks: Chelsea -400 to win group