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Champions League Props: Man United And Man City vs The Field
Before a ball has been kicked in anger, both of the Manchester clubs are in the top six favorites to win the 2017-18 UEFA Champions League. Man United are currently priced at around +1000 with the blue half of Manchester, City, slightly longer at +1100.
Some bookmakers are offering a fun bet where you can take both Manchester sides against the rest of the field, but should you be taking them up on their offer?
The current price for backing either Manchester United or Manchester City against the field is +500 with the rest of the field a short-priced -900 favorite. I have already said in a previous article on this very website that I believe Real Madrid (+400 to win the Champions League) or Paris St. Germain (+600) will be the two teams to catch, but in the same article put my neck on the line and said if neither of these two Goliaths of the game are victorious, Man United are a solid bet.
Manchester United Could Go All The Way
United manager Jose Mourinho has pedigree in this competition having won it twice previously. Mourinho guided an unfancied FC Porto team to glory in 2002-03 and then took a rather standard looking Inter Milan to the title in 2009-10. And let us not forget that the 54-year-old Portuguese guru has also won the UEFA Cup / Europa League twice, too.
The Red Devils have started their domestic season strongly and look like they could be genuine Premier League title challengers. Mourinho spent big this summer, almost £150 million, securing the services of centre back Victor Lindelof, defensive midfield general Nemanja Matic and bringing in a legitimate goal scorer in Romelu Lukaku; United have also named Zlatan Ibrahimovic in their Champions League squad.
When you look at the United squad, you see one brimming with tall, physical players and natural attacking talent. Mourinho knows how to set up a watertight defense and now he has Matic running his midfield and protecting his back four, along with the likes of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford with blistering pace and a strike force of Lukaku and Ibrahimovic, it would take a brave bettor to bet against United challenging for top honors this season.
It is also worth noting that United are in Group A, which looks to be one of the easiest groups in recent times. Man United compete against Benfica, CSKA Moscow and FC Basel in their group should top it with ease and therefore have a potentially easier game in the knockout stages.
Defensive Woes Are A Worry For Manchester City Fans
Manchester City are yet to get firing on all cylinders yet they still find themselves unbeaten this season and there is no doubting that their squad is one packed full of superstars who are more than capable of playing their way to glory.
While we must consider that Liverpool were down to 10 men for a large part of last weekend’s game against City, the Blues were immense and well deserving of the 5-0 scoreline in that game. Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne was unplayable in that fixture and looks back to his brilliant best. As did Gabriel Jesus who scored two goals and was a constant thorn in Liverpool’s side.
Pep Guaridola, like Mourinho, has won the Champions League twice, both times with Barcelona and will be looking for a third trophy this season. City have a wealth of attacking talent, but there remains question marks about their defensive capabilities despite spending a small fortune on bringing in Kyle Walker, Danilo and Benjamin Mendy.
Like United, City have a relatively easy group in Group F, which they share with Feyenoord, Napoli and Shakhtar Donetsk so should top the standings with ease. You must consider that last season, City were hit and miss in the Champions League, throwing out excellent results such as beating Barcelona 3-1 and Monaco 5-3, but then drew home and away with lowly Celtic (3-3 and 1-1) and were well beaten 3-1 away to Monaco and 4-0 at Barcelona. Can Pep Guardiola instil some defensive solidarity when he faces the biggest, stronger teams and psych his players up when they take on the minnows? If so, Man City could be a real threat.
To summerize, if you are taking this bet on either Manchester side against the field you are taking the worst of it and the odds are stacked against you.
That said, I have a sneaky feeling that something special is happening at Old Trafford and Man United could go all the way in this season’s competition so it is not a terrible bet by any stretch of the imagination. I’d get on this bet before the first group stage games are played because if either of the Manchester clubs demolish an opponent, the odds will be cut dramatically.
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