In the first part of our Champions League futures analysis, we focused on the outright bets worth making for the whole competition.
Now, we shift our attention to the group futures market, specifically those futures plays worth making to win the group.
In all eight groups, Real Madrid (-304) are the biggest favorites on the PointsBet Sportsbook board to win their group. Additionally, only two teams that emerged from Pot One – Bayern and Chelsea – are favorites to win their group.
But which teams are worth a play to win their respective groups? Here are the three group winners I’m targeting. As always, odds are reflective at time of writing.
Best Group Winner Bet #1 – Bayern Munich to Win Group E (-176)
Bayern’s group winner price reminds me of their price to win the tournament – I’m surprised it’s not higher.
I personally have Bayern as a -230 favorite to win their group, so I’m happy to lay this price. Unless Barcelona somehow find a time machine, solve all their financial problems and are the Barca of the early 2010s, I don’t see how the German giants fail to finish anywhere but atop Group E.
Since the 2010-11 Champions League, Bayern have only failed to win their group on two occasions, including once on goal differential.
The fact of the matter is that Bayern could very well have this group wrapped up through five matches. Their hardest group match – against Barcelona at the Camp Nou – comes first.
Even if you assume they lose that match, Bayern have a historically superb record against teams that finish in the bottom half of the group.
Across the last four seasons, Bayern have never dropped points – home or away – against the teams that finish third or fourth in their group. Assuming that trend continues, they could rack up anywhere between 12-15 in the first five matchdays, which could very well be enough to claim the top spot.
The bottom-line though is that even if Barcelona improve, I believe they’d need to win both games against Bayern to win the group, something I rate highly unlikely to happen.
Best Group Winner Bet #2 – Chelsea to Win Group H (-150)
If you had asked me about this group pre-Cristiano Ronaldo transfer, I would’ve rated it a toss-up for the top spot.
But now that CR7 has left Juventus for Manchester United, I rate Chelsea as far and away the best team in this group.
Remember that last season, while Frank Lampard was still in charge, Chelsea only conceded two goals in the entire group stage.
In the entirety of the Champions League, Chelsea only conceded four times.
The only way I see Chelsea losing this group, much like Bayern in Group E, is if they lose both matches against Juventus.
But after the Old Lady sold it’s best attacking option, I question whether they have the offensive firepower capable of breaking through a strong Chelsea defense.
Additionally, the Blues picked up 10 of a possible 12 points against Krasnodar and Rennes, the teams that finished in the bottom-half of the group. Across their last three Champions League campaigns, the English power have never dropped all three points against a team that finished in the bottom-half of the group.
With respect to Zenit and Malmo, Thomas Tuchel will walk away disappointed if Chelsea grab any fewer than 12 points in those four matches.
Even if they drop points in those matches, I trust Chelsea to win points against Juve at home and surpass them in the group.
Best Group Winner Bet #3 – Liverpool to Win Group B (+100)
Even though I believe this is the strongest Champions League grouping, Liverpool’s home field edge should help them win the group.
While Porto and AC Milan are undoubtedly the strongest sides to emerge from Pots Three & Four, respectively, I view Atletico as Liverpool’s main competition to win Group B.
While the Spanish champions are very good at knockout play, they haven’t been equally as strong in the group stage historically.
Across their last 30 group matches, Atletico have only recorded 15 straight-up victories. Even if they were to steal points against the Reds at home, there’s risk of them dropping points in multiple road matches.
In their last four Champions League campaigns, Atletico have only won three of 12 road group matches and gotten a result in seven of 12 fixtures.
Considering Porto have avoided defeat in eight of their last 10 UCL home group matches and Milan fans will be charged up by their first UCL appearance since 2013-14, I believe this group will be decided by which team wins the most points at home.
That guides me to Liverpool, who are 9-2-1 in their last 12 home group matches.
I also shouldn’t have to remind you that Liverpool reeled off a 68-match unbeaten run at Anfield.
While I’d prefer a slightly better price considering the group opposition, I’m happy to grab plus-money while it’s still available.
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Source: Yahoo Sports