Betting on Champions League matches is always extra special. From the moment you get up midweek, you already think: Yes. Oh Yes. Champions League tonight. This competition is also extra special for players. Ask a footballer on which stage he would like to shine, and the answer nine times out of ten is ‘Champions League’. For many teams that are too dominant at a national level, winning the cup with the big ears is the only prize that counts.
Teams like PSG, Bayern, Real Madrid and Barcelona. For other teams, such as Ajax and PSV, just participating in the ‘billion-dollar ball’ is incredibly important to catch up with the big teams of Europe.
There is also criticism, since you usually see the same teams in the knockout phase. Nevertheless there are still teams that surprise the elite. Like Villarreal, who made it into the semi-finals against Liverpool in 2022. You could have benefited nicely from that with smart betting on the Champions League. Or what about Ajax in season 18/19 or Atalanta the year after. In short, it isn’t just the teams that can win big in this elite tournament.
The day after the Champions League final is played, the next edition begins. In a manner of speaking. The UEFA Champions League season 2021-2022 programme, for example, runs from 22 June 2021 to 28 May 2022. In it, more happens than the big matches you see on TV.
There is a preliminary round (with semi-finals and a final), three qualifying rounds, the qualifying play-offs, the group stage consisting of eight pools and six rounds of play, followed by the matches in the knockout phase with the eighth finals, quarter-finals, semi-finals and the CL final.
A total of 220 matches will be played! Not only are many matches played, there are also frequent draws. For the preliminary rounds, the group stage and the knockout stage. That’s a lot of opportunities to bet on Champions League matches.
Betting on Champions League | Contenders
The name ‘Champions League’ actually gives away who takes part in these competitions – champions. Only this does not say everything (by far).
Instead of the champion and/or cup winner of each country taking part, 32 tickets are given away based on qualification. The stronger a league, such as English or Spanish, the more Champions League tickets are given for direct qualification.
How strong a league is is determined by a country’s European performance in the three European competitions. The so-called UEFA Coefficient list.
This is why for instance England is allowed four qualifying sport and the Netherlands only one. Some countries, such as Scotland or Serbia, really have to work for it. Their champion advances to the first, second or third preliminary round. Might not be fun for the teams, for punters there’s a lot of value when betting on Champions League.
Bet on Champions League | Contenders
The criticism on the Champions League is not entirely unfounded. Since the turn of the century, the list of contenders mentioned here has actually been the list of clubs that dominate the quarter and semi-finals. And thus divide the titles between them. The usual suspects are Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, PSG, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus. This is not to say that all these clubs have won at one time or another. But that they get far in the tournament is almost always a certainty. The good thing, though, is that despite this ‘predictability’, betting on Champions League always yields great opportunities and odds.
Bet on Champions League | Outsiders
Besides these absolute battleships, there’s a number of teams that are close and sometimes fight their way into the top four. Clubs like Ajax, Dortmund, Inter, Valencia, Tottenham Hotspurs, Manchester United, Napoli, Atalanta, Olympique Lyon, RB Leipzig, Lille, Villarreal and Olympique Marseille. The chance that clubs who are not mentioned in this list have a shot at the title, or even the final, is not something we would put our money on. Literally.
With 220 matches at different stages of the tournament, the betting markets are numerous. Betting on Champions League football is lucrative, as bookmakers fall over each other to lure you into betting on the Champions League with them. Of course, you can place an outright winner bet on any of the above teams at the start of the season, but there are many other interesting bets:
What is the right time to bet on the potential Champions League winner? In the preliminary rounds, the group stage or during the knockouts? A balancing act with odds that not everyone is proficient in. More manageable is to bet on the winner of a group. With four teams and six matches, this is much more manageable and if you do it right; very lucrative! To emphasise: decide on your strategy when you decide to bet on Champions League.
Scoring goals at the highest level is every striker’s wet dream. Not surprisingly, those with a rather positive self-image, like Ronaldo, always do well in this league.
This season, Ronaldo’s former aide, one Benzema, seems to be taking the honours. This goalscorer has completely blossomed since he no longer has to play in service of the Portuguese. For his sake, let’s hope Kylian Mbappe stays in Paris so he doesn’t have to play second fiddle again.
Betting on Champions League | First Time Winner
Will we get a new winner? We hope so, of course. Funnily enough, in recent years, clubs without a Champions League trophy in their trophy cabinet have been the favourites at bookmakers. Looking at you PSG and Manchester City. For these clubs, the cup with the big ears has become an obsession… And a trauma.
Top three memorable Champions League matches
The fall of Barcelona
On 14 August in 2020, the formerly best team in the world led by the best player of all time was unmasked. In Lisbon, Barcelona played against Bayern Munich, who swept the Catalans off the mat by as much as 8-2. We bet you no one dreamed of making that kinda bet on a Champions League fixture. The sauntering up front by Messi and Suarez was particularly disconcerting. It marked the end of an era, the beginning of a revolution in the club’s leadership and Ronald Koeman’s start as coach at his beloved club.
Chelsea vs Bayern Munich – 2011/12 Final
Once again, Bayern Munich plays a supporting role, but this time in a negative sense. Interim coach Roberto Di Matteo’s Chelsea travelled to Munich as the absolute underdog. Robben and his companions had chance after chance and eventually Thomas Müller put the Germans up 1-0 in the 83rd minute. It would be a nice celebration in Bavaria, were it not for Didier Drogba’s merciless header into the net in the 88th minute. (Imagine going for that in-play bet…). Chelsea kept their cool in the penalty shoot-out and got to take home their first ever Champions League title.
Liverpool vs AC Milan – 2004/05 Final
According to many, the best match ever played. From Steven Gerrard’s exceptional leadership, to Jerzy Dudek’s incredible double save on Andriy Shevchenko’s effort in extra time, to the penalty series – everything was in it. Few words need be wasted on this one. But boy, those who dared to make the in-play bet at half time for Liverpool to win the Champions League must still feel like a living legend.
The Champions League was called the European Cup 1 until 1992 and is, in a way, a qualifying tournament for the World Cup for clubs. Although no one will see it that way. The difference with the European Cup 1 is not only in the name (the name European Cup 1 is still on the trophy and has never been changed). The format of the tournament has also changed, where before only the champions participated, a coefficient system has now been chosen. The format of the tournament has become increasingly complicated since 1992. There is an attempt to get more and more matches into the competition. The reason for this is simple, it is financial interests. Footballers and coaches complain bitterly, because even at national level everything is milked as much as possible.
The absolute record holder with 13 titles and another 3 finals is Real Madrid. This club always gets far, even if they play a disappointing season. AC Milan follows at a respectable distance with ‘only’ 7 titles, Liverpool with 6 titles.
Betting on first time winner means betting on a new winner of the tournament. A club, team or person who has therefore not won the tournament before. Which club, team or person it will be then does not matter.
The Champions League was called the European Cup 1 until 1992. Yet not only the name has changed, the tournament has changed and expanded considerably over the years. For instance, only the champions of national leagues used to be allowed to participate. This changed with the coefficient system.
The Champions League season runs from June (preliminary rounds) to May (final) each year. A season consists of 220 matches in total. You can also bet on the preliminary rounds.
The “Golden Boot” award is given to the top goalscorer of the UEFA Champions League each season. It recognizes the player who scores the most goals throughout the tournament.
Cristiano Ronaldo holds the record for the most goals scored in the UEFA Champions League, having scored over 130 goals during his career. Lionel Messi holds the record for the most goals in a single season, with 17 goals in the 2011-2012 season.