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Champions League Betting Tips
UEFA Champions League Final Predictions
By Paul Seaton
Last season saw Real Madrid achieve the improbable - an incredible 11th Champions League victory, this time on penalties against their cross-city rivals, Atletico.
Can Zidane's 'Galacticos 2.0' do what no team has done since the European Cup was converted into the much-lauded Champions League format and retain their trophy? If they do so, they will have to go about it the hard way, with a tough tie in the Last 16 against Napoli.
Let's begin with the main players. One of either Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Real Madrid have won the trophy six times in the past eight seasons, with one of those 'Holy Trinity' present in the final every season in that sequence. That is directly reflected in the odds for the outright winner, via Bovada (below):
Barcelona, at +300, are an overrated pick to win back a trophy they have won just once in five seasons in a team that includes Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, and in recent seasons, Neymar and former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.
Facing a tie against Paris St. Germain, the Catalans may be stretched thin with trying to overhaul Real Madrid domestically. However, they are Barcelona and the Spanish giants will prevail against a French team who continuously plays inferior opponents in the French league.
Bayern Munich face one of the toughest fixtures in the Round of Last 16 with a two-legged tie against Arsenal. The Germans, so used to strolling the Bundesliga by now, face a real battle for the title with RB Leipzig, just a couple of results between the sides as March approaches.
Are Real Madrid the best bets at +450? Yes they are.
Facing Napoli at the turn of the year might have been a very different prospect to now, as the Italians have lost striker Manolo Gabbiadini to Southampton. Madrid should coast into the quarters, and if the draw is favorable, Gareth Bale could come back into the side to push his side to his home country's Millenium Stadium for the final. Madrid look decent value at +450 given the initial draw.
If there are to be an outside package, then it may be a big English side who have yet to win the trophy. Pep Guardiola's Manchester City? Non, merci.
Arsene Wenger's Arsenal can beat anyone on their day, and while his star fades domestically, they might be saving their best for the Champions League this season. Wenger's men can progress past Bayern Munich at +220 in the Round of Last 16, given their history of going out to Munich. They might just buck the trend this time around.
The Gunners are a juicy +5000 to face Barcelona in what would surely be the dream final - Wenger's chance to go out on a high. In 2006, Arsenal came so close, 1-0 up and with Henry through on goal, but Barcelona took advantage of an uncharacteristic miss from the Frenchman:
If you think Arsenal are too much of a risk at +2200 to win the Champions League this season, then you might fancy backing their conquerors to make the final.
If Ancelotti can get Munich firing in their league, he may have the luxury of resting players ahead of a showpiece final. Munich are +2000 to meet Manchester City in the final, and with Guardiola's side always going to be dangerous, that is a fun outside bet on the two teams avoiding each other until the final.
Pick to win Champions League: Real Madrid (+450)
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