UEFA Champions League 2017-2018 Top Four Favourites

This season’s UEFA Champions League group stage is almost done and dusted, most of the big teams have already secured their passage to the first knockout round. This would be a good moment to think about placing a bet on the outright winner market as we have already seen the teams in action in five Champions League matches, along with their domestic league games. Let’s have a look at the top five favourites to win this season’s competition, according to the bookmakers.

Paris Saint-Germain

The French giants have been quite impressive so far this season after their record-breaking transfers campaign last summer. They were expected to do some damage after having spent 222 million euros on Barcelona striker Neymar, they also brought in French wonderboy Kylian Mbappe, and so far they delivered. PSG have won all their five Champions League group stage matches so far, scoring no less than 24 goals and conceding just one. They are still unbeaten after nineteen matches in all competitions this season and have missed out on victory on just two occasions.

Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani has been their most prolific player so far, with 15 goals scored in 12 appearances in Ligue 1, but we might expect superstar Neymar to deliver a lot more in the second part of the season. So far the Brazilian striker provided 7 goals and 5 assists in 9 appearances while Kylian Mbappe had 4 goals and 4 assists in 8 appearances. PSG have a solid squad overall, with enough depth to compete on all fronts, and most bookmakers regard them as the main favourites to win this season’s UEFA Champions League. Right now the odds on PSG to win the Champions League are around 7/2 at most bookmakers.

Manchester City

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are also unbeaten in all competitions this season and they have already secured their qualification from Champions League Group F after having won all five matches so far. They have scored thirteen goals in those five games and conceded three and their overall record this season shows eighteen victories out of nineteen matches in all competitions. They are dominating the Premier League at the moment and it seems this season is their turn to win the title.

What is even more impressive than their results is the fact that they achieved those results despite rotating the squad quite often. Twenty players have been involved in Manchester City’s Premier League matches so far this season, almost the entire first-team squad. Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero have scored eight goals apiece so far, Raheem Sterling bagged seven goals and Leroy Sane added six. That is another strength of Pep Guardiola’s team; goals are coming from a variety of players, they are not relying on just one or two strikers to find the back of the net. The Citizens are 9/2 at most bookmakers to win this season’s Champions League.

Real Madrid

Even though they are not having the best of season starts, the Blancos will always be regarded as favourites in the Champions League thanks to their impressive pedigree in European competitions. They have already secured their qualification from Group F, but they will finish second in the group table behind Tottenham, which can mean that they will have to face another giant in the first knockout round. They got held to a 1-1 draw at home by the Spurs before losing 3-1 at Wembley stadium, not a good sign for their ambitions to win the competition. They have been in all sorts of trouble in LaLiga as well, they have lost two of their first twelve matches and have been held to draws on another three occasions.

Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has done his job in the Champions League so far; he scored eight goals in the five matches so far while Karim Benzema bagged two in three appearances. They do have a problem with scoring in LaLiga, though, Ronaldo and Benzema have scored just one goal apiece so far and that is way below the standards they had set in previous seasons. However, Real Madrid has enough world-class players in their squad to win all matches from now until the end of the season, regardless of their somewhat poor form so far. The Blancos are 11/2 at most bookmakers to triumph at the end of this season’s Champions League campaign.

Barcelona

The Catalan giants are a force to be reckoned with, despite having lost superstar Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain last summer. They have already secured qualification from Champions League Group D, even though they failed to score in their previous two matches and recorded consecutive goalless draws. They are unbeaten in all competitions since the start of the season, more precisely after having lost the Spanish Super Cup to rivals Real Madrid. They have not been as impressive as in other seasons so far, but the campaign is very long and most times big teams hit peak form when it matters the most.

Lionel Messi has been instrumental for Barcelona once again, he scored 12 goals in the first 12 LaLiga matches this season and added another three in the Champions League. He surely is their most important player and the man they rely on in stressful situations. But that poses a real problem as well: what it Messi gets injured? Barcelona might not be able to compete against the other big European teams without the Argentinian star. The Blaugrana are 6/1 at most bookmakers to win this season’s Champions League.

Bonus: The Dark Horse

Betting on the dark horse can bring you a lot of satisfaction and significant gains, so it might be worth having a look at an outsider. Our pick would be Italian Serie A leaders Napoli, a strong team that seems to have found the right tempo under head coach Maurizio Sarri. It is true that they might not even qualify for the first knockout round, they need to beat Feyenoord in the last group match and hope that Manchester City defeats Shakhtar Donetsk. But if they do qualify, they might go very far in the competition because they have a well-balanced squad and great determination to grab some silverware after decades of drought. The odds on Napoli to win the Champions League are between 40/1 to 80/1, so make sure you check various bookmakers if you want to take on this long-shot bet.



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