For some people, September means the start of school and the end of holidays. For football fans, the first month of autumn is associated with the start of European league games. If you are thinking about betting on the Champions League, you need to familiarise yourself with the schedule and the special features of the tournament. Here is a glimpse into Europe's premier club competition.
What bookmakers are offering
All bookmakers offer a wide line on European football, due to the great popularity among users.
Such markets on bookmakers' websites have a separate section: betting on the outcome of the Champions League. In the autumn, bookmakers offer betting on the group exits. Before the first rounds, the odds are predictable and calculated on the basis of the opponents' class and club rankings. The odds for a play-off appearance against Bayern or Barcelona are negligible. With each round, the odds change; if the favourites win their first games, bets on them advancing out of the group may be closed altogether.
Bookmakers are also offering bets on winning the Champions League even before the start of the group stage. Manchester City and PSG, who have a squad worth around a billion euros, are regarded as the main favourites to win the tournament. Odds of 4.3-4.8 would be placed on them, while Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United and Juventus are also among the contenders, according to bookmakers. Some bookmakers are offering bets on the Champions League final.
About the features of the tournament
Let's take a look at the statistical features of the major European competition. The information will come in handy for those planning to bet on the Champions League.
High level football
Thanks to the change in the qualification format (increased number of rounds), there are no weak clubs in the group stage as there were 10-15 years ago. At that time, most of the teams in the fourth basket were the point suppliers. The level of football in Europe has risen and there is no huge difference in class. The underdogs are resisting the favourites, albeit not always successfully (if they decide to play open football). In the last draw, there was not a single club with zero points scored. In the season 10 years ago (2011/2012) there were three teams with zero points in the group stage.
Clubs are extremely motivated
This applies both to the top-four sides and to the lower-ranking clubs. For the former, the Champions League is a way of confirming the status quo; for the latter, it is a major source of income. UEFA pays out 20-30 million euros even for participation in the group stage. For a typical Sheriff or Malmö it is colossal money. Even the English and Spanish giants sometimes resort to rotation in the national championships in order to field an optimal squad in European competitions.
Goal difference matters
In the national championships, a team with a 1-2 goal advantage is unlikely to force events, even if it has a superior class. It is extremely rare that secondary indicators (goal difference, number of goals) are taken into account in the allocation of places in the distance of 30-38 rounds. The group stage only consists of 6 matches; therefore it is more probable that the opponents will have the same number of points. The first criterion is the head-to-head encounters. If they are tied, the goal difference is taken into account, followed by the total number of goals scored.
In the 2020/2021 season, Leipzig lost first place to PSG in Group H. The teams exchanged home victories (2-1 and 1-0 respectively), but the French club seemed to be in first place thanks to a better goal difference (+7 and -1) on equal points.
Because of these regulations, teams are not lazy to score, even when all questions about the winner have been settled. In the last round, the third round was particularly rich in defeats. Half of the matches ended with a score of three or more goals.