The Champions League Last 16 is set to kick off in February with eight intriguing ties. The most eye-catching thing about the Group Stages was clearly the resurgence of English clubs after several years in relative wilderness. Five Premier League sides – Spurs, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City – have made it to the knockout rounds for the first time in history.
Indeed, bookmakers reckon that an English side is likely to win the Champions League having installed Man City as favourites. They are currently best-priced with 888 Sport at 13/4, but they are as low as 11/4 with many others. Having Man City in such form however, skews the odds for other teams winning, offering a chance for punters to get some value out of backing other sides. If you are backing anyone in the Champions League, claim the latest free bet offers from Freebets.uk before making your selection.
Barcelona and Real Madrid Still Outstanding Candidates
The two Spanish Giants have not suddenly become bad teams overnight, so it seems a little strange that the majority of bookmakers have priced Barcelona at 7/1 and Real Madrid at 8/1 to win the Champions League. Yes, they both have difficult Last 16 opponents – Barcelona have Chelsea and Madrid have Paris Saint Germain – but their record in the competition speaks for itself.
While Madrid have been patchy this season, it was only a few months ago when they were being hailed as the most ‘complete’ side in football. Barcelona may not resemble the all-conquering tiki-taka side of a few years ago, but they are just as effective. Crucially for either of these sides, players have done it all before. Messi, Ronaldo, Iniesta, Ramos have drawers full of Champions League medals. That experience in the big games could count for a lot when coming up against teams like Man City in later rounds.
Tottenham Hotspur Could Surprise Everyone
There were groans from Tottenham fans when they drew Juventus in the Last 16. A tough tie after they topped a group containing Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund. Spurs can be found at a huge 25/1 to win the Champions League with William Hill and others. That’s pretty good value for a team that outclassed Real Madrid a few months ago.
Interestingly, they are priced at 6/5 with Bet 365 to get past Juventus and make it into the quarter finals. The ‘Old Lady’ is not herself this season however, and punters should stay away from the 4/6 odds that they go past Spurs in this tie. Should Spurs triumph, and many think they will, bookies will have a completely different view of their chances. Could be a chance to get on this big price early.
But, City Understandably Favourites
A lot can happen in a short time in football. Injuries, loss of form and other factors can derail what was once a promising season. Man City are, of course, worthy favourites for the Champions League title. They have been nothing short of excellent since August, bringing their superb Premier League form into matches in Europe. However, there are so many variables between now and the Champions League Final in May, which makes an outright price of 13/4 just look a little too short. They may win it in the end, but don’t be surprised if another name is etched on the famous big trophy on May 26th.