We’ve had two rounds of the Champions League now and with a few weeks before the next set of fixtures it’s time to take stock. We already have some pointers with regard to who’s hot and who’s not and although there’s a long way to go in the competition that info can guide us to either opposing at short odds or backing at long odds.
When we look at the outright market the usual suspects are right at the top – Liverpool of course as Champions, Barcelona because they’re Barcelona, Man City, PSG, Bayern Munich and so on. Real Madrid’s stock has fallen somewhat already and that’s understandable but 20/1 is either a blessing or an insult right now depending on your allegiance. At the other end of the market there are a dozen or so teams at odds of 500/1 to more, and while we’d like to find something at those prices we’d need a serious blow to the head to get on board with any of them.
Going back to the favourites though it’s pretty easy to find fault with quite a few. Man City are outright favourites across the board but can a team beaten by Norwich City prevail over Europe’s elite? Defensively they’re in trouble and that may get worse, at least domestically, with Bernardo Silva’s social media habits. If they need to sign someone in January a player of any note will surely be ineligible in Europe so that causes another problem. Time and again Man City, and Pep since leaving Barcelona, have struggled in this competition. City are unbackable at current prices.
Liverpool also are a concern. A fortunate win v Sheffield United was followed by a hard fought win last night. This season they are conceding in almost every game and although it’s early on better teams could do what Napoli did and punish Klopp’s side. But for Mo Salah’s winner Liverpool could be on 1 point after two matches and having to fight for the remaining group games. Aside from that the league is surely the priority this season and if push comes to shove that will probably be considered more important.
For the foreign sides Bayern Munich obviously put Tottenham to the sword but do not represent any value. Barcelona could have lost to Inter last night and look an old team with defensive worries. Their odds right now simply cannot be justified. The Madrid duo of Real and Atletico are available at the same price and we’d have to favour the proven side if we were going that way. The Club Brugge result for Real came after the Madrid derby at the weekend so a slip is kind of forgiveable. They may not be what they were but are still good enough to travel a fair way. Juventus and PSG are also up there but also not overly backable. Juventus peaked a few years back while PSG are yet to cast off their tag of bottlers.
Overall the team that currently represents the worst value is probably Barcelona. 2 defeats already in La Liga followed by a draw and a near miss in the Champions League last night make them very opposable from our point of view. To back a side you could do worse than any team that has won three of the last four competitions, is managed by Zidane and contains Eden Hazard. We wouldn’t argue with having a look Real Madrid at 20/1 but there seems to be an even sweeter spot somewhere in the middle of the market that really takes our fancy. And so we get to Ajax.
The 90th minute away goal that saw Tottenham take their final place last season was cruel but quickly forgotten as Ajax saw out their league campaign beating PSV to the title by 3 points. De Ligts departure was a loss but the club has not been ravaged by raids from ‘bigger’ clubs and additions like the returning Quincy Promes have hit their stride immediately. They are cruising both at home and abroad and when the time comes they will benefit once more from the Dutch FA’s help in reorganising domestic fixtures. Ajax have maintained their high standards while others higher in the betting have not and there is no side in the competition that we’d put our house on to beat them. We’re happy to take our share of the 40/1.
Event: Champions League
Betting Market: Outright
Bookie: Sport Nation
Stake: 0.5pt Each-way
Published on: Oct 3, 2019 @ 05:36