Champions League Betting

The UEFA Champions League

Winning the Champions League is one of the biggest achievements any European club can reach.

The fact that no team between 1992 and 2016 managed to defend their title is a testament to the challenge that is the European competition.

The UEFA Champions League is a truly unpredictable soccer competition. Which makes it an interesting tournament for soccer bettors looking for profits.

The 2019/2020 season of the competition was overhauled because of the worldwide pandemic, changing the knockout stage matches’ format and schedule alike.

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Champions League Betting Tips

Betting the Champions League isn’t any different when it comes to betting rules compared to any other soccer game. Betting limits will be higher, and markets are usually more plentiful, but other than that, not much changes.

çThe same betting concepts of line shopping, taking advantage of bonuses, and looking to pay as little as juice as possible all apply here. One way to do that with soccer is with Asian handicaps, rather than traditional 1×2 betting.

Domestic Form Doesn’t Matter…

To use a term from the world of competitive video gaming, it is much easier to “anti-strat” a team you regularly play against and have a lot of data about as they play in the same league as you do week in, week out.

No doubt this is one of the many aspect of soccer which keeps changing as technology and resources develop over time, but it still remains a fact that teams can look very different playing on the international stage than how they performed over the course of the last few week  in their domestic competitions.

Managers can spring surprises more efficiently, and with 180 minutes to play with, they also have the time to change what doesn’t work.

…But The Domestic Position Can Tell You A Lot

Sometimes, nothing can be scarier than facing a sixth-placed team of their league deep into the Champions League.

Why, you ask?

The answer is simple – they likely have nothing else to play for, their domestic season down the drain, and written off early, with a deep international cup run serving as their primary focus for the calendar’s remainder.

Especially if you’re looking at a top team with a disappointing once-in-a-decade season, not just an underdog on their way to a memorable showing, their collective experience and desire to prove the doubters wrong could very well push them on to the latter stages of the Champions League.

Experience is critical in high-stakes knockout competitions – but by the same token, a team flying high in their domestic league may be forced to thread the needle and try to rotate in order to remain as competitive as possible across each competition where they are involved.

What Is The History Between The Teams?

Bogey teams exist in soccer as well, and teams from different leagues essentially only have a chance to meet in the Champions League (because let’s be frank, when will the same two Europa League sides run into each other in the CL at a later date?).

Since the different sides from the same nation are kept apart by the rules until the last eight of the competition, certain matchups will inevitably crop up over and over again due to the pure luck of the draw.

Teams and managers may change, but deep-held tendencies are nevertheless established throughout these slow-motion rivalries. If a team has a considerable advantage over their opponents in the lifetime results, you don’t want to count them out even if their present quality doesn’t live up to the glorious past.

Consider Past Champions League Results And Experience

In the broader context, the more time you’ve spent in the Champions League, the more likely you’ve got a handle on the high-stakes knockout games the competition.

Beyond the mental aspects, there’s also a “the rich get richer” element to this: the Champions League is a golden goose and continuous participation will inevitably net you more, and more money, creating an ever-growing gap between the successful teams and the ones that couldn’t squeeze into the top sixteen.

The 2019/2020 season was the first one where no teams made it into the knockout round from elsewhere than the five big European Leagues (you know the drill: the English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A, the Bundesliga and France’s Ligue 1), and there’s reason to suggest that the deeper you are in the Champions League, the more credence you should give to the “bigger” team.

Home Advantage Still Matters – And So Do Away Goals

As the COVID-induced lockdowns and the odd crowd less half-season showed us, home advantage is still very much in soccer even when they aren’t around.

Just because it’s hard to quantify doesn’t make it any less real: the familiarity of the surroundings – the size of the pitch, the locker room, the noises, and the sights – seem to add up to something by itself, and it’s a statistically proven fact that referees tend to favor the home side in marginal decisions instinctively.

This also means that the away goals rule, often considered an archaic device to ensure more attacking play from the teams playing abroad, is still very relevant. If you failed to keep a clean sheet as the home side, even a massive advantage could potentially be overturned – just ask PSG about the famous ‘remontada’ in 2017.

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How Does The UEFEA Champions League Works

Normally, the Champions League draw for the first round takes places in June of each year. Teams are put into two pots based on their league coefficient, and then highest-ranked sides are seeded. There is then another draw for second-round qualifying matches in July. The draws begin the road to the Champions League Final each year.

Over there next few months, there are three qualifying rounds with two legs each. The playoff round draw takes place in early August. There are then two legs of playoffs before we move onto the group stage.

At the end of August, the groups are drawn. Group stage play takes place four times a month on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and continues until the end of November.

First Knockout Round

After that, sixteen clubs move onto the first knockout round, with each group winner facing a second-placed side from a different group. The draw for the Round of 16 is held in early December, and then it is played in February and March.

The quarter-final draw is in mid-March, with the quarterfinals played in early April. After that, it’s the semi-final and final draws. The first leg of the semi-finals is played in early April with the second leg coming in early May.

The Champions League Final is usually played on the last Saturday of the month in May. However, the global pandemic has forced the organizers to make significant changes to the way the competition plays out in the 2019/2020 season.

Champions League Schedule 2021

Date Start Date End Description
Jun 18-19, 2019 First and second qualifying round draws
Jun 9, 2019 Jun 10, 2019 First qualifying round, first leg
Jul 16, 2019 Jul 17, 2019 First qualifying round, second leg
Jul 22, 2019 Third qualifying round draw
Jul 23, 2019 Jul 24, 2019 Second qualifying round, first leg
Jul 30, 2019 Jul 31, 2019 Second qualifying round, second leg
Aug 6, 2019 Aug 7, 2019 Third qualifying round, first leg
Aug 13, 2019 Aug 13, 2019 Third qualifying round, second leg
Aug 5, 2019 Play-off draw
Aug 20, 2019 Aug 21, 2019 Play-off round, first leg
Aug 28, 2019 Aug 28, 2019 Play-off round, second leg
Aug 29, 2019 Group stage draw
Sep 17, 2019 Sep 17, 2019 Group stage, matchday one
Oct 1, 2019 Oct 2, 2019 Group stage, matchday two
Oct 22, 2019 Oct 23, 2019 Group stage, matchday three
Nov 5, 2019 Nov 6, 2019 Group stage, matchday four
Nov 26, 2019 Nov 27, 2019 Group stage, matchday five
Dec 10, 2019 Dec 11, 2019 Group stage, matchday six
Dec 16, 2017 Round of 16 draw
Feb 18, 2020 Feb 19, 2020 Round of 16, first leg
Feb 25, 2020 Feb 26, 2020 Round of 16, first leg
Mar 10, 2020 Mar 11, 2020 Round of 16, second leg
Aug 7, 2020 Mar 8, 2020 Round of 16, second leg*
Jul 10, 2020 Quarter-final and semi-final draw
Aug 12, 2020 Aug 15, 2020 Quarter-finals
Aug 18, 2020 Aug 19, 2020 Semi-finals
Aug 23, 2020 Final (Estádio da Luz, Lisbon
Show More ↓ Show Less ↑

COVID Update

Due to the pandemic, the 2019/2020 season of the Champions League was essentially stopped on March 13, postponing the remainder of the second leg matches in Round of 16.

On June 17, UEFA announced that these games would be played on the 7th and 8th of August respectively, which then took place at their originally planned venues.

However, the remainder of the tournament (from the quarter-finals and onward) would be moved to neutral venues in Portugal with a single-leg format, and five substitutions allowed instead of the usual three, with a sixth in extra time in order to lessen the impact of fixture congestion and the months-long downtime in the competitive soccer calendar.

The 2020 Champions League Final will be played at the Estádio da Luz in Lisbon.

Champions League History

The European Cup’s prestigious lineage can be traced back all the way to 1955 when it was called the European Cup, an all-knockout affair with sixteen teams and four rounds of matches.

The first European Cup was won by an organization you may have heard of called Real Madrid with a 4-3 victory over Reims. Five years later, UEFA expanded the tournament to 32 teams and added an extra knockout round. The format remained unchanged until 1992 when the competition was renamed to the Champions League.

Real Madrid is by far the most successful Champions League team of all time with 13 titles and three runner-up finishes in the competition’s history.

They were also the first (and so far only) team to successfully defend their title in the Champions League era, going back-to-back-to-back between 2016 and 2018. With that, they made it four out of five off the back of their 2014 victory (La Decima, their tenth win in the competition): that came off the back of twelve long years of wait going back to 2002.

Other Successful Champions League Teams

Milan the second with seven wins and four runner-up finishes, though only two of the titles are from the 21st century: with no wins since 2003 and 2007 (plus that fateful collapse against Liverpool after leading 3-0 at half-time in the 2005 final), the Italians are one of the great sleeping giants of European football. The aforementioned English side is in third place, with Liverpool finally returning to the pinnacle in 2019 after a heartbreaking loss to Real Madrid in 2018 final.

Bayern Munich is fourth on the all-time list with five wins and five runner-up finishes, followed by Barcelona (five and three, respectively).

Ajax, Inter Milan, and Manchester United are next on the list, followed by Juventus and Benfica. These two teams each have two titles to their name from an incredible number of final appearances: the Italians finished as runners-up seven different times between 1973 and 2017 while the Portuguese did so five times (1963, 1965, 1968, 1988, 1990). Reims, Valencia and Atlético Madrid make up the sad triumvirate of teams that made it to the final more than once but never managed to win.

In terms of nations, Spain tops the charts thanks to their golden decade of club football, having 18 winners and 11 runners-up to their name. England is second with 13 and 9, followed by Italy’s 12 and 16. Germany and the Netherlands close out the list of top five Champions League countries.

Champions League storylines for the 2020/21 season

Will The Big Leagues Continue To Dominate?

The 2019/20 season was the first in Champions League history where only the five top leagues’ representatives made it to the knockout rounds. To many, it was a sign of things to come, a long-overdue confirmation of financial domination and the one-sided nature of international football.

Well, how about three newcomers in the semi-finals in the same season then?

It goes to show that the Champions League remains an exciting and unpredictable competition year in, year out, and though it seems unlikely right now that the “big five” will give up their stranglehold on these coveted spots, there are always plucky underdogs and committed newcomers (not to mention the teams which previously managed to make it to the round of sixteen) ready to take advantage of the smallest of slip-ups.

Will The Usual Superclubs Make A Comeback?

That being said, the final four of the 2019/20 Champions League season was made up of anything but the usual suspects, with the long-running monster money project at PSG finally making its breakthrough to the final and the Red Bull-pushed Leipzig side reaching the semifinals as well.

Add Lyon’s upset win over Manchester City to the list and you’ll find that the final four of last season’s competition featured only one previous winner in the form of Bayern Munich and that the none of the familiar faces from La Liga or the Premier League made it to the tail end of the Champions League.

In fact, this was the first season since 2007 that no Spanish team reached this stage of the competition!

Even if you chalk this up to the quirks of the format and the schedule in this pandemic-affected season, it’s quite clear that some of the traditional superclubs are in dire need of rebuilding, at least where their squad is concerned, trying to squeeze out just a little bit more magic from their previously world-beating but now inarguably old core of legendary players. T

he next season will tell us a lot about how seriously they will take this project as they target the ultimate prize in international club soccer.

How Will The Five-sub Rule Change The Group Stage Matches?

There were many changes made in the world of football to cope with the impact of the worldwide pandemic, trying to squeeze in the usual massive number of games into a smaller period of time after the lockdown, with no crowds and a multitude of safety measures to keep things COVID-free.

One of those is the chance to use five substitutes instead of the usual three in order to combat fatigue, and it’s a change that it going to stick around for the 2020/21 season (unlike the mandatory drinks breaks, for instance).

With games coming thick and fast both in domestic and international competitions, leaving players less time to recuperate, this does feel like a necessary change for now – however, there’s also discussion about whether this adjustment to the rules helps the big Champions League squads more than others.

With larger squads and comparatively better players on the bench, it can feel like the top dogs can take advantage of this better than others, but it remains to be seen whether that is actually the case over a long stretch of games across multiple competitions for club and country alike.

With the rescheduled Euro 2020 and Copa America coming up alongside everything else, soccer players’ abilities and stamina will be stretched to the limit.

Are We Looking At New Champions League Regulars?

It’s not just the former overperformers who are looking to make a splash either: there are quite a few names with no real past Champions League pedigree who seem to have taken the bull by the horns recently and made the most of their recent opportunities.

RB Leipzig’s energy drink-fueled rise is just one of those storylines, alongside Atalanta, who are rapidly turning into everyone’s favorite second team with open-ended matches and a quite frankly ludicrous number of goals.

With certain leagues completely abandoned due to the pandemic, there are a few unusual faces already present in the group stages thanks to direct qualification they might not have achieved otherwise: keep an eye out for Rennes and Club Brugge, teams you’d normally expect to see in the Europa League instead of the CL.

It’s not just about the clubs, either: with none of the four coaches in the semifinals ever having made it so far, it’s just as possible that some of the well-known faces and names in the dugout are also due for a replacement, with fresh replacements coming in with brand new tactical ideas and innovations.

Is It The End of La Liga As We Know It?

Interestingly, it was the German and the French who took advantage of the superclub slip-ups, and one has to wonder what’s going on in Iberia where some of the most tenured Champions League teams lie.

Neither Barcelona nor Real Madrid distinguished themselves in the competition the last time around, and for the Blaugranas, this is starting to become a slide rather than a slip with three incredibly embarrassing eliminations in a row, each more devastating than the one before.

First it was a 4-1 home win over Roma they failed to convert, then a 3-0 home win over eventual winners Liverpool. This time? I’d 8-2 be the one to bring up what Bayern Munich inflicted upon them.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid went out in the round of sixteen against Manchester City, courtesy of a surprisingly limp and error-ridden showing after an undefeated streak back in La Liga. It marks the first time Zinedine Zidane failed to win the Champions League in four attempts, a quite frankly ludicrous record an

d not a fair yardstick to judge anyone by. Still, it can’t be denied that the core of this fantastic Real Madrid roster is getting on, and they will need to bring in a blend of fresh talent and youthful reinforcements if they are looking to bounce back. 

It’s also worth mentioning that Atlético Madrid also failed to make it past the quarterfinals, though the club’s resources are dwarfed by many of their Champions League counterparts, making this perhaps more of a reversion to the mean rather than a real downfall. It’s a testament to how long they’ve punched above their weight that an exit before the semis over a team that isn’t considered a European juggernaut is now looked at as an upset and a failure.

All in all though, with the top teams getting a huge portion of broadcast revenues, it feels unlikely that the second string of teams can take advantage of these simultaneous wobbles, and it’s especially unlikely to expect a Sevilla or a Valencia to make a deep run in the Champions League. If La Liga’s international street cred is to be saved, it will be up to the usual suspect. Whether they can patch up the now-gaping holes in time remains to be seen.

English Clubs: What’s The Deal, Really?

Despite their popularity and resources, the Premier League clubs struggled to make deep runs in the Champions League over the course of the last few years (with one notable exception), a far cry from their domination in international competition in the mid-2000s.

After an all-English Champions League and Europa League final, it seemed like the continuous investments and the carousel of high-profile managers finally reached the boiling point fans were looking for, with the promise of super-strong international performances going forward. Instead, not one of the Premier League teams made it to the semis of the Champions League, and the British contingent also missed out on a Europa League final spot too.

Bayern took care of Chelsea in brutal fashion (which may seem like a formality at this point after their thrashing of Barcelona) and RB Leipzig scored a straightforward 4-0 aggregate win over José Mourinho’s Tottenham side in the round of 16. Meanwhile, Liverpool cracked from a superior position against the wily Atlético Madrid side on home soil just before the lockdowns began, and Manchester City fell short against Lyon in what’s quickly becoming Pep Guardiola’s Achilles heel: the Champions League quarter-finals as the manager of the Sky Blues.

Was 2019 just a blip on the radar, a disruption where everything went well for the Premier League sides – or can they bounce back again after a season of overhaul and chaos? It will be fascinating to see.

UEFA Champions League FAQ

Which Teams Can Play In The Champions League?

Each UEFA association member league has a “coefficient”, a ranking score based on how their teams performed in European club competitions. The higher this coefficient, the more teams get a chance to play in the Champions League (and the Europa League), with better seeding in the qualifiers or even a direct spot in the group stage of the competition itself. 22 Champions League positions are filled by automatic qualification from the big leagues and by the winners of the previous season’s European competitions. Since 2009, there’s a separate pathway to qualify for domestic champions and the other teams that finished second, third or fourth in their leagues. Each pathway offers five spots each, rounding out the 32-team field of the Champions League.

When Can Five Teams In A League Get A Champions League Spot?

Five teams are the most that can possibly play in the Champions League from the same domestic competition. The winner of the Champions League and the Europa League are guaranteed a spot in the next season’s Champions League regardless of where they finish in their own league. However, even the leagues with four Champions League qualification spots are only allowed to have five teams at most in the competition. If a team outside the top four wins the Champions League or the Europa League, they will be the fifth to qualify from that domestic league. However, if by some miracle both the Champions League and the Europa League winner would come from the same league in a midtable position, it’d mean the team that finished fourth would be dropped down into the Europa League instead.

Can You Keep The Champions League Trophy?

Until 2009, teams that won the competition five times or three years in a row would get to keep the Champions League trophy and then start a new cycle from scratch. This rule was changed ahead of the 2008-09 season, and since then, the teams who satisfy one of the two conditions (only achieved by Real Madrid thanks to their back-to-back-to-back wins between 2016 and 2018) are only allowed to keep a replica, though teams with at least five wins in total are given a special badge to display on their kit for their incredible achievements.

What Are The Biggest Champions League Comebacks?

Barcelona’s “remontada” against PSG in the 2016-2017 season is undoubtedly the biggest one, recovering from a 4-0 loss away from by winning 6-1 at home in the second leg, scoring three times at the very end of the game (88’, 90+1’, 90+5’) to record a historic victory. Manchester United also recorded their first Champions League win in similarly dramatic fashion, trailing Bayern Munich in the 1998-99 final until the 91st minute, scoring twice in added time to snatch the title from the Germans. Barcelona were also on the other end of some impressive comebacks in recent years, dropping a 4-1 lead to Roma with a 3-0 loss in 2017-18, then a 3-0 home win against Liverpool with a 4-0 defeat at Anfield the following year. In 2004, Deportivo La Coruña lost by four goals to one against AC Milan but struck back with a memorable 4-0 win in the second leg as underdogs to upset the Italian giants.

Has Anyone Won The Champions League Unbeaten?

Nine teams have done so in the history of the competition, not dropping a single game across the two-legged knockout rounds or any of the group stages. Liverpool (1980-81, 1983-84), Milan (1988-89), Ajax (1971-72, 1994-95), Manchester United (1998-99, 2007-08 – making them the only team to achieve this feat in the Champions League era on two separate occasions), Inter Milan (1963-64), Nottingham Forest (1978-79), Red Star Belgrade (1990-91), Marseille (1992-93), Barcelona (2005-06).

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