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2020-21 UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE - PREDICTIONS

2020-21 UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE - PREDICTIONS

  • October 18, 2020
  • By Toby Maxtone-Smith
  • VegasInsider.com

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FUTURE BEST BETS

No team has ever retained the Champions League since is rebranding from the European Cup in 1992/93.

But before then, three teams managed to string runs of at least three back-to-back triumphs. The last were Bayern Munich, 2019/20’s winners, and they are my pick to finally break this 27 year-long curse for the competition holders.

BUYING THE BAVARIAN GIANTS

Bayern are the joint 4/1 favorites to win the competition along with Manchester City. They should be favored. Bayern are much more dominant in the (admittedly less challenging) Bundesliga than City are in the Premier League.

Bayern have incredible pedigree in this competition, with six titles, while City have only ever made one semifinal. Bayern have won the last eight Bundesliga titles. This is a club with an absurd winning mentality.

As well as storming to Champions League success last year, Bayern won their last 13 Bundesliga matches. The short turnaround between seasons means there is less reason than usual to expect major drop-offs from Europe’s top clubs.

Bayern’s four league games so far this year have been absurdly high scoring. They have scored 17 but conceded an alarming eight. But their strategy last year was to simply outscore teams, as shown by their incredible 7-2 win over Tottenham and their 8-2 semifinal win against Barcelona.

Bayern have found the balance between youth and experience and can win their seventh Champions League this year.

2020-21 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CONTENDER ODDS

  • Manchester City +400
  • Bayern Munich +450
  • Liverpool +500
  • Paris Saint-Germain+1000
  • Real Madrid +1100
  • Barcelona +1400
  • Juventus +1400
  • Chelsea +1600
  • Borussia Dortmund +1600
Manchester City is loaded with talented players and a deep Champions League run is expected. (AP)

ENGLISH CONTENDERS

Man City again failed to prove the doubters wrong last year with their 3-1 quarter-final loss to Lyon - another result, many pundits thought, that was due to Pep Guardiola’s excessive tactical tinkering in big matches. They seem too short again this year.

The next team on the list are 11/2 (Bet $100 to win $550) shots Liverpool.

At the time of writing it seems that their key center-back Virgil van Dijk will miss much of the season. Though he may return for the tournament’s latter stages, his injury is such that he cannot be relied on.

The Reds were extremely unlucky to be dumped out by Atletico Madrid last year, and their history in this competition should not be ignored. That said, that history is largely built on making Anfield a fortress, and given that it looks like fans will be absent for the entirety of this season’s competition, that factor will surely not be as strong.

Liverpool look about the right price.

BIG NAMES DISRESPECTED?

It is a surprise to see Paris Saint-Germain as big as 11/1.

They were arguably the better team against Bayern Munich until Kingsley Coman’s goal on the hour mark. They have a reasonably tricky group, with Manchester United and last year’s semifinalists RB Leipzig in the mix, but PSG look value to top the group given Man United's woes.

If PSG’s attack can click they are more than a match for anyone.

GROUP H ODDS TO WIN

  • Paris Saint-Germain -180
  • Manchester United +275
  • RB Leipzig +450
  • Istanbul Basaksehir +10000

Spain’s big two, Real Madrid and Barcelona, are both 12/1, and are easily passed over.

Collectively they have not been this weak since the 1990s. Real were outplayed by Man City in the last 16. Barcelona, even though they got further than their rivals, have more to worry about after their 8-2 loss to Bayern. Lionel Messi has stayed, but there is still a sense that all is not well at the Camp Nou.

Neither has been convincing in La Liga and an early exit for either would not come as a surprise.

EPL NOTABLES

Chelsea and Manchester United make up England’s representation.

Chelsea have more talent and a consistently higher level of performance than United, but defensively they are too disastrous to pose much of a threat to the market leaders. United, meanwhile, look vulnerable in their group (see above).

Their post-lockdown run of good form seems a long time ago now and they look a nice price not to qualify at 12/5 odds (Bet $100 to win $240).

LONG SHOT LOOKS

Atalanta were the sensation of last year’s Champions League, and once again at 33/1 they make an appealing outsider bet.

Their group is navigable: Liverpool are the favorites, but Ajax’s squad looks very thin now with the departure of more of their class of 2018/19.

GROUP D ODDS TO WIN

  • Liverpool -250
  • Atalanta +275
  • Ajax +750
  • FC Midtjylland +8000

Midtjylland look likely to prop up the group. Atalanta grew into the competition last year, and with a year’s experience behind them they look good to go for another deep run. They are no different on the pitch this year: extremely attacking and good to watch.

There has been a sense recently that attacks, not defense, win the Champions League at the moment, and if Atalanta can put together one excellent half over a two-legged tie it will be tough for other teams to keep up with them.

2020-21 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FUTURE BETS

  • Bayern Munich to win the Champions League (4/1)
  • Atalanta to win the Champions League (33/1)

2020-21 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP FUTURE BETS

  • PSG-RB Leipzig straight forecast in Group H at 10/3 odds (Bet $100 to win $333)

WHERE TO BET 2020-21 UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

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