UEFA Champions League 2018/19: Outright Preview

After being handed a relatively lenient group stage draw, Man City have firmed up at the head of the Champions League outright market, particularly with Barca being handed a tougher group alongside Spurs and Inter while PSG have both Napoli and Liverpool. It won’t be easy for Juve either as they have Man Utd and Valencia to contend with, whilst triple champions Real and Bayern have been handed much simpler groups.

For all his vast success as a manager, Pep Guardiola has won the Champions League on only two occasions, the latest being back in 2010/11. He has seven league titles in his career and there is perhaps a feeling that his style of play is more suited to league football than the Champions League, where more pragmatic sides like Real Madrid have fared better.

As a result, we’re keen to avoid City at the prices and given Barca’s style hasn’t changed a great deal since he left, we’re looking past the Catalans too as they’ve won the Champions League only once in the last seven years, despite having a peak Messi at their disposal.

Juve have secured the services of Cristiano Ronaldo in the hope of winning this competition but their defence doesn’t look as sturdy as it once was. Szczesny is a major downgrade from Buffon in goal whilst Chiellini and Bonucci are both the wrong side of 30. Whilst the old warriors at the back can cope with the slower pace of Serie A, they may well come unstuck against Europe’s elite.

PSG will have to work harder than usual to get out of their group but their price more than accounts for that. They’ve added European experience with Buffon in goal and with the likes of Dani Alves and Neymar, they have guys in the squad who know what it takes to lift the trophy. Neymar is joined by Cavani and Mbappe in probably the deadliest attack in the competition. The latter took the World Cup by storm and should have a massive say on the European stage this year, so we’re keen to have the Parisians in our book.

Next in we have a pair of European giants in Real Madrid and Bayern Munich but both have failed to strengthen over the summer and are arguably weaker than they were last term. Real have lost Zidane and Ronaldo, whilst Bayern have lost influential midfielder Vidal and are still very reliant on Robben and Ribery.

Liverpool, on the other hand, made it all the way to the final last term and are certainly stronger this time around having brought in Alisson, Fabinho, Keita and Shaqiri. They look ones to be with too and we have no concerns about them getting out of their group with PSG, Napoli and Red Star as we expect Italians to be some way off the level they reached last term.

Atletico will have their supporters having been a similar price and come close in recent years, but they always seem to find a side just a touch too good for them. Were they to meet either of PSG or Liverpool later in the competition then we’d be much more comfortable being with their opponents given their ‘backs to the wall style’ that requires a certain amount of luck to go all the way.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – PSG to Win at $9.20

 BACK – Liverpool to Win at $13

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