UCL Future Betting: Breaking Down Champions League Odds & Contenders

Nikki Adams

Thursday, December 24, 2015 5:38 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015 5:38 PM UTC

The R16 is all set and Champions League Odds are trading furiously on the soccer odds of every single sportsbook. Find out which teams are favoured to win Europe’s coveted top club competition.

R16 Matchups are Set
Following the R16 draw release, odds makers reopen Champions League Futures betting markets with, arguably, the two best teams in the world – Barcelona and Bayern Munich – at the top of the pile. How does the rest of the field stack up? Check out Table 1 for a comprehensive review of the Champions League futures ahead of the first leg of the R16 and our analysis below. 

The Top Three
Defending champions Barcelona are the top favorites to beat this season for good reason. They capped off a convincing group campaign and are enjoying another stellar season in domestic action as well as other competitions. As such, odds makers have the Spanish giants trading as the +250 favorites, despite – and this is somewhat significant – drawing a tough opponent in the R16. Barcelona are set to face Arsenal, who came-from-behind to squeak into the knockout rounds. Arsene Wenger and his Gunners haven’t fared well in the competition’s knockouts in recent seasons, but there’s no reason to write them off entirely. Or is there? There’s the Barcelona curse to consider. The Catalan giants are a bane in Arsene Wenger’s side for sure.

Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich are the second favorites behind Barcelona, but only by a smidge at +275 soccer odds. That’s not surprising given their quality, depth and talent. Guardiola’s mission with the German giants has long been to win the coveted European prize and with his contract winding down there’s nothing he’d like better than to cap his tenure on a high note. Not unlike Barcelona, Bayern Munich have drawn a tough opponent in the R16, last year’s runners-up Juventus. Granted the Old Lady isn’t up to her lofty standards in domestic action, but they’re still dangerous floaters to spot on your soccer picks. They could very well mastermind the upset with almost two whole months to plan and strategize for their highly anticipated encounter.

Real Madrid round out the Top Three short odds-on favorites for the Champions League title, but at almost double the soccer odds of Barcelona they are a bit of a ways behind the top two tandem. Most sportsbooks are trading Los Madrilenos at +500 soccer odds. That probably has a lot to do with their slight dip in form in domestic action more than anything else. Truth is, from the Top Three, Real Madrid appear to have the more straightforward clash with Roma when considering their group qualification campaign. Juventus finished with 11 points (set to take on Bayern), Arsenal finished with 9 points (facing off against Barcelona) while Roma finished with a measly six points. Something to consider when making your early soccer picks in Champions League futures betting.


The Contenders
Man City, Atletico Madrid, PSG and Chelsea are considered contenders in the R16 field, all trading under +2000 soccer odds or thereabouts to win it all. Man City haven’t accomplished a whole lot in the knockouts of the competition, yet they lead the contender’s field as the +1000 soccer pick. That has a lot to with having drawn competition minnows Dynamo Kyiv in R16. The soccer odds are therefore more a reflection of the low chances the Ukrainians have in the competition proper. Of course, the Ukrainians have been underestimated before though so Man City aren’t necessarily a lock to advance into the last eight. As far as PSG and Chelsea are concerned, something is going to have to give as the pair are slated to collide in the R16. Given all the turmoil going on with the Blues, one has to consider the French champions are the better bet. Of the four main contenders, former runners up Atletico Madrid strike the most convincing pose as the +1200 soccer pick with a . They have a winnable matchup against PSV.


The Rest Of The Field of R16
According to the odds makers, the rest of the field make up the pretenders and longshots. Of the pretenders Arsenal and Juventus can’t be overlooked for their big name credentials. The pair are installed as the +3300 long shots, largely down to their R16 matchups than any drawback in quality, skill and depth. Of the longshots either make a reasonable choice on your soccer picks at early doors, but it requires masterminding one of the biggest upsets of the competition.

Wolfsburg benefit from a rather straightforward R16 encounter with Gent but where they  go from there and how deep they go into the competition remains to be seen. Hence, they are the +5000 soccer pick to win it all.

Finally, Benfica and Zenit St. Petersburg are hugely disadvantaged in the broad spectrum of the competition at +10000 soccer odds, despite capping off solid group campaigns. Well, more so, where Zenit are concerned after a 5-0-1 finish and 15 points. Benfica and Zenit collide in the R16 so something is going to have to give, undoubtedly.

So there you have it, the Champions League outlook ahead of the first leg of the R16. A lot can change between now and February, particularly if major injuries are recorded. As it is, the soccer odds are clearly a reflection of preconceived notions about who the heavyweights and lightweights are in the competition as well as sharing in the realism of the R16 matchups, some of which appear more difficult than others on paper.

Barcelona and Bayern Munich are deserved favorites to win it all, but don’t overlook their opponents – both of which are credible threats and will be looking to mastermind shocking upsets. As it is, one has to like Real Madrid’s prospects with Roma. Then again, nothing can be taken for granted in Europe’s top club competition. Where are you banking your soccer picks in early Champions League betting markets?

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