Matchgains Optimum Guide to Champions league Predictions
After two months of league football and five rounds of qualification matches, the Champions League group stage returns this week, and this season promises to be one of the most exciting in the competition’s history.
There are several mouth-watering clashes expected in the group stages this year, but with PSG, Liverpool, and Napoli all vying for the top two spots in group C, that has to be the most exciting group in this year’s competition.
The French side scored 25 goals in the group stages last season, which is a new record, while Liverpool also set a new record with 47 goals scored in a single campaign. Napoli may have lost Maurizio Sarri to Chelsea, but Carlo Ancelotti is a manager who has won this competition before, so the Italians are no pushovers as well.
Barcelona’s quest to win the competition again would see them face Tottenham, PSV, and Inter Milan. While Real Madrid would be playing alongside AS Roma as they begin life without Christiano Ronaldo, and Juventus would face Manchester United in an emotional return for Ronaldo.
Like I said before, it would be an interesting ride, and I wouldn’t blame you if you feel overwhelmed, however, just like we always do, we at MatchGains have got your back, and this guide would be all you need to know as you look to bet on the competition this season.
Champions League 2018/2019 Betting Favourites
PSG have won the French league title so much that they are bored of winning it. The only target every manager they have named for the past couple of season has been given is delivering the Champions League, and it is the same for Thomas Tuchel.
With World Cup winner, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Cavani, the club’s owners would be hoping that Tuchel has the magic touch to finally take them all the way.
PSG’s strength obviously lies in their attack. The front three of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, and Edison Cavani would be a handful for any defence any day, and now that they have fully matured together as strike partners, they would be the key to their success this season.
Defence has been an issue for PSG, and in their first four games this season, they had only kept a single clean sheet. Playing teams like Liverpool and Napoli would expose them very well if they don’t clean up their backline.
PSG Key player: Kylian Mbappe
Barcelona last won the Champions League in 2015 after beating Juventus in the final, since that time they have been looking to reach the final again. Their attempts to go all the way last season was affected badly by the unexpected departure of Neymar to PSG, but they have a squad that looks more than capable of going all the way this season.
The Blaguranas have more squad depth than they have had in the last couple of seasons, with the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele beginning to adapt and become important players, they seem to have a squad that can beat any team at the moment.
Enersto Valverde side seem to be perfect when they started the season with 3 clean sheets in 4 games, however, they have now conceded 3 goals in two games prior to their first Champions League game, so tightening up their defence should be a major priority or it could become their Achilles heel.
Barcelona Key Player: Lionel Messi
The only reason why Juventus signed Cristiano Ronaldo is arguably because they want him to help them win the Champions League instead of stopping them from winning it again.
The Italian champions have won the last 7 consecutive Serie A titles, But the falling short in their attempts to win Europe’s ultimate price every time they try.
However, with Ronaldo now on their side, they are a major force for this season’s competition.
The Italians are solid at the back, and the return of Leonardo Bonucci would only make them even stronger defensively. However, Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to add more goals to their game, and the Real Madrid record goal scorer is not one to disappoint.
An overreliance on Ronaldo would be a major disadvantage for Juve this season, and the Portuguese star has already struggled to open his account this season so they would need to keep the goals coming from other players in the team.
Juventus Key Player: Cristiano Ronaldo
Bayern Munich remains one of the biggest teams in Europe at the moment and the Bavarians enter this season’s competition as favourites again having fallen short last season.
Niko Kovac has started well and he should thrive in Europe with the quality of players at his disposal.
Bayern Munich strength
Bayern Munich has one of the largest amounts of top quality midfield talents in the world at the moment and their attack led by Robert Lewandoski is also as potent. They have almost no excuse for failure.
Bayern Munich Weaknesses
Bayern Munich have a tendency to rely heavily on Robert Lewandoski, and that could prove to be their undoing this season. They also struggle to keep clean sheets as well even though they usually make up by scoring several goals of their own.
Bayern Munich Key Player: Robert Lewandoski
Manchester City were on their way to the Champions League final last season, but they were stopped by Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool who knows how to beat Pep Guardiola too well.
The Cityzens return to this season’s competition having dominated last season’s domestic league and cup competitions. With an easy group, passage to the knockout round shouldn’t be a problem for them.
Manchester City strength
Manchester City are a team that presses you from the front and overwhelm your defence just the way Pep’s all-conquering Barcelona played. They Cityzens are rich in every area of the pitch having invested in some of the best talents around the globe.
Manchester City Weaknesses
Manchester City haven’t hit top gear like they did last season. They haven’t sold any of their star men from that campaign, so their biggest problem seems to be complacency. If they can eliminate the odd lapse in concentration, they can go all the way.
Manchester City Key Player: Sergio Aguero
2018/2019 Champions League Group Stage Betting Tips
On the 30 of August the Champions League group stage draw was made with every team that has qualified knowing who they would play and when. Teams have already begun making plans to get past the group stage, with PSG resting Neymar and Mbappe in preparation for their first group game against Liverpool.
We take a look at the various groups favourites with valuable betting tips for bettors ahead of the matches.
Favourites: Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund
Atletico Madrid dropped out of the competition at the group stage last season after fallen behind Chelsea and AS Roma, but Diego Simeone’s men are group favourites this season with only Borussia Dortmund standing on their way to topping the group. AS Monaco could try to get second position but they should be happy if they can finish third and drop to the Europa League.
Favourites: Barcelona, Tottenham, Inter Milan
This is one of the trickiest group in this season’s competition and that makes it a lot harder to predict who would go through.
Barcelona should qualify at least as the second best team and that’s if they fail to hit top form, while Inter Milan and Tottenham have equal chances of making it to the knockout stages as well.
Spurs haven’t started their domestic season well, and they made no new signings in the summer, that could be a problem for them later on.
Favourites: PSG, Liverpool
This group is the toughest group based on how the trio of Napoli, Liverpool and PSG performed in the competition last season, however, the Italians have a new manager and they haven’t been very convincing so far.
Kylian Mbappe and Neymar seems to have finally settled down in French capital and with Mbappe now a World Cup winner, they look set to finally get their hands on their number one target.
Liverpool have also started the season well, with five wins from as many games, so they would be up for the fight against PSG.
Favourites: Galatasaray, FC Porto
This group is one of hardest groups to predict because all the teams are obviously not the big names or favourites in the competition by any stretch of the imagination.
Galatasaray, FC Porto, and Lokomotiv Moscow were all winners of their country’s league last season, while Schalke o4 impressively finished last season second in the German Bundesliga.
Schalke have started their season with 3 losses from as many games, Lokomotiv Moscow have also won just 2 of their opening 7 games, Galatasaray have begun where they stopped the last time out with 4 wins from their first 5 league games, while FC Porto have won 3 of 4 games, the Turkish and Portuguese champions look more prepared for this competition.
Favourites: Bayern Munich
This group has only the second spot up for grabs as it would take something out of the ordinary to stop Bayern Munich from finishing top of the group or at least inside the top two.
Apart from the Germans, Ajax and Benfica have begun their season well with just one draw each after their respective opening first 4 games of the season, they would fight for the second qualifying spot. AEK Athens may have qualified ahead of Celtic, they look like the weeping boys of this group.
Favourites: Manchester City
This season has to be Manchester City’s year in the Champions League, and their fans would feel that they haven’t been dealt the harshest draw. The Cityzens should qualify from this group, but it would a little more tricky for teams who would join them.
Hoffenheim are playing some fantastic football under their young manager, while Shakhtar Donetsk remains a major force in Europe. Olyimpique Lyon’s return to the competition should be a good one too, they have kept Nabil Fekir and signed Mousa Dembele, but they and Hoffenheim might lack the experience that Shakhtar have.
Favourites: Real Madrid, AS Roma
The only team that stood on the way of AS Roma reaching the Champions League final last season was Liverpool, and the Italians would be looking to go one step further this time around.
Real Madrid have coped well with the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo as they have remained unbeaten in La Liga. Gareth Bale has also stepped up to the plate, Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio are also doing well, so they should not find it very difficult to reach the knockout stage.
AS Roma also have the quality to finish second, but CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen should fight it out for the Europa League spot.
Favourites: Manchester United, Juventus
This is one of the group that everyone would be keeping their eyes on as Cristiano Ronaldo looks to win the Champions League with another team.
Juventus have signed him to go further than the disappointments of these past few seasons. Even without him the Old Ladies would qualify from this group, while Jose Mourinho has shown that he can mastermind a win over any opposition over the years.
Valencia make a welcome return to the Champions League, but they should be happy with a place in the Europa League when the group stage is done, but they have to be careful of Young Boys.
PSG, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid are favourites for this season’s Champions League, but it would be stupid to eliminate the possibility of the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United, AS Roma, Atletico Madrid springing up surprises.
We expect a thrilling set of matches when the games begin on the 18th of September, be sure to subscribe to any of our various plans as we deliver winning tips to you every match day.