Spanish teams have won the Champions League for the last two seasons and football betting odds released by bookmakers for next season’s competition suggest they will make it three in a row. Barcelona swept aside the rest of Europe to win it in 2014-15 and were heavy favourites throughout last season. But no team ever successfully defends the Champions League, and Barca were duly knocked out in the semi-finals as arch rivals Real Madrid went on to win an all-Spanish final against Atletico Madrid.
For that reason you can count out third favourites Real Madrid, best priced at 5/1 with Ladbrokes, Sky Bet and various others, and look to Barcelona to once more be crowned champions of Europe. They are clear favourites, as low as 3/1 with some bookmakers, but Sky Bet is offering the best football betting odds – 7/2. For the vast majority of last season they were unplayable and pipped Real and Atletico to the league title, but they had a blip in the spring and that cost them the Champions League. They finished the season in superb form, however, and are expected to continue that form into the 2016-17 campaign. They boast the world’s best player, Lionel Messi – who won a fifth Ballon d’Or last year – in their ranks, and he forms a devastating attacking triumvirate with last season’s European Golden Boot winner Luis Suarez and Brazilian superstar Neymar. They are a bit suspect defensively, but so strong in midfield, and every one of their players is supremely comfortable on the ball, so they really are the team to beat.
The football betting odds show that Bayern Munich are second favourites. They won the tournament in 2013 and then Pep Guardiola took over, but he could not get past the semi-finals during his three years in charge. He has now left to take over at Man City and been replaced by Carlo Ancelotti, one of the most successful managers of all time, who has won the Champions League three times, twice with AC Milan and once with Real Madrid. He can have a calming effect on disgruntled superstars and could galvanise the Bayern squad. With a couple of quality signings they will be a threat to anyone and the odds reflect that, with the best price on offer just 5/1 with Coral.
Fourth favourites are Man City and this looks a very intriguing bet. Guardiola is the world’s most coveted manager and could have cherry picked his next job, so he wouldn’t have gone to Man City unless he saw great potential there and was promised significant transfer funds to improve the squad. They made the semi-final last year but were not quite good enough to overcome Real Madrid, losing narrowly on aggregate. The nucleus of a great side is there with Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Sergio Aguero – all superstars on huge wages – and Guardiola will supplement them with some of the world’s best talent, splashing the oil rich owners’ cash about to finally make the Citizens a force in Europe, and get them well drilled, more organised and more solid defensively than they have ever been. They look a great bet at 12/1 with Bet365 and various others.
Fifth favourites PSG cannot be counted out as they are another oil rich side that have been progressively improving over the last few years. This could be a season in transition for them, however, after star player and talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic left, so it might be worth seeing who they replace him with before backing them at 16/1 with Boyle Sports. A better long shot is probably Atletico, beaten finalists last year and in 2014. They are a fantastically determined and hardworking side with an exceptional manager in Diego Simeone and they are the one team that regularly beats Barcelona, having knocked them out of last season’s Champions League.
Or for an even longer shot, how about Leicester City? Football betting odds of 5,000/1 were available on them winning the Premiership last season and many optimistic fans cashed in. They are a whopping 100/1 to win the Champions League, but if they can keep their squad together, retain star players and bring in some new faces to cope with the added demands of competing on four fronts, then the fairytale could continue. If you fancy putting some money on Leicester City to win the Champions League then you could do so on Omi88.
If you, like so many of the population, love football to the moon and back, you’ve probably started your own football team up and play regularly, or you are an already established team who is working hard to move up on the board. Whichever one you are, end of season wind down is a big deal, you’ve been playing for ages, training hard and pushing yourselves to get through and score for your team, this is where the end of season festivities come around! If you are trying to plan ideas for football team events, why not look to sites such as theleaguepaper.com and see what they can suggest. From online casino games to a sports retreat, there are so many ways in which you can reward your team for getting out there and playing to their heart’s content.