Champions League Draw Leaves Manchester City as Clear Betting Favorite
Posted on: September 1, 2019, 01:00h.
Last updated on: August 31, 2019, 12:11h.
Manchester City was already favored to win this season’s UEFA Champions League, but that position was only strengthened after Thursday’s draw, which left the Premier League titleholder with a very manageable group.
DraftKings Sportsbook has Manchester City listed as a +300 pick to win the Champions League, the shortest odds of any of the 32 teams remaining in the competition.
City Handed Underwhelming Opposition
There’s good reason for that confidence. If you’re only a casual soccer fan, you may not have heard of any of the other three teams in Group C with City: Ukrainian champion Shakhtar Donetsk, Croatian league winner Dinamo Zagreb, and Atalanta, which finished third in Italy’s Serie A last season.
But until City actually wins a Champions League title, there will always be some skepticism about its chances in the competition. Since Pep Guardiola took over as manager, he has failed to take the club past the quarterfinals: a rare blemish in an otherwise impressive run with the team. It’s something Guardiola continued to play down after the draw came out on Thursday.
It’s important, I know it’s important, and if it happens it will be important,” Guardiola told reporters. “I’m going to do my best. But it’s not going to change my life. When I say thank you to everybody for my time here, it’s not going to change my opinion about this title or that title. We are happy with what we’ve done so far, we came here to play the way we want to play.”
Things won’t be so easy for the second favorite. Barcelona (+500) was drawn into Group F, which could prove to be the toughest pool of the group stage. Barca will have to contend with fellow European giants Inter Milan and Dortmund, as well as Czech champions Slavia Prague. While Barcelona is still a heavy favorite to go through to the knockout stage, Dortmund and Inter are both capable of contending with the Spanish powerhouse, and only two of those three teams can advance.
Liverpool Seeks to Defend Champions League Title
Defending Champions League winner Liverpool (+700) comes into the group stage as a strong contender in this year’s tournament as well, and while their group isn’t as soft as the one Manchester City was handed, the Reds should be able to get through without too much difficulty. Liverpool is in Group E alongside Napoli, Red Bull Salzburg, and Belgian side Genk.
“Napoli again! I don’t know how often I’ve now played against Napoli, but they’re obviously a very experienced side,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp told LiverpoolFC.com. “I will need now to have another, closer look at Genk and Salzburg, but I already know they are very young, very exciting and very fresh, so it will be interesting.”
Other Champions League favorites include Real Madrid (+1000) and Paris Saint-Germain (+1100), both of whom have been drawn into Group A, along with Bayern Munich (+1100) and Juventus (+1100).
The Champions League group stage begins on Tuesday, Sept. 17. Each group will play a double round-robin, for six games in total. The top two teams in each group move on to the knockout stages, while the third-place team will be transferred to the Europa League knockout phase.
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