The UEFA Champions League has undergone something of a change from recent years, with traditional powers like Real Madrid and Bayern Munich taking a back seat to the new guard of the game. And with teams like Manchester City and Liverpool running through the competition to this point, one has to wonder if the current favourites in City are actually undervalued to win the competition despite their top billing.
City have found their way to the top of the Premier League again this season despite a stiff challenge from Liverpool to this point, thanks to the tremendous depth that they boast all over the field. That depth comes in handy during this portion of the season, especially for a City team that is still competing in the Champions League, Premier League, and the late stages of the FA Cup.
Sane and Mahrez on the field
For this competition, that means that City should have enough capable bodies to put themselves in a position to win the tournament. They will be able to put players like Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez, who haven’t seen the field as much as expected this season, out there in pivotal games to help their chances of advancing in Europe’s most high-profile tournament. And while any football preview should show City as the favourite, it’s the fact that they have the talent to back up that billing that is special.
Winning the Champions League is no easy task, but City are the favourites to do so in the quarterfinal stage of the tournament. As of March 27, 2019, Pep Guardiola’s team sat at +225 odds to win the competition at Betway, ahead of European giants Juventus and Barcelona at +350 each. That is a ringing endorsement of the legitimacy of City’s Champions League candidacy, but it might not go far enough to paint them as favourites given just how much the rest of the competitors in the Champions League have struggled.
While City have been routinely covering the spread betting odds throughout their season, Barcelona and Juve have hit some bumps in the road. The Catalan giants have had an easy go through a weak La Liga this year, but haven’t been as convincing in the Champions League thanks to a weakened attack. And while Juventus managed to get through the always-tough Atletico Madrid in the round of 16, they have injury questions surrounding their star man Cristiano Ronaldo. If nothing else, these two frequent finalists haven’t been as convincing during their European campaign as City.
Elsewhere, football betting tips may point to Liverpool as the team that might be able to give City the most trouble in the Champions League. That would be a decent notion, both because of the way that Liverpool play and because of their success against City last season in this same competition. But City have done well against the Reds in the Premier League as of late, which could cool off any talk of the Champions League trophy coming back to Anfield. Value bettors might like the +400 odds for Liverpool, though.
En route to the quadruple?
Outside of the top four, it would be highly unlikely for any of the remaining teams in the competition to lift the trophy. Manchester United has looked abysmal for much of this season, even if they did advance past notorious choke artists Paris Saint-Germain in the first knockout round. Tottenham got through Dortmund, but Dortmund seems to have fallen apart after a strong start to the Bundesliga campaign. And Porto and Ajax just appear to be cannon fodder for the elites who remain in the competition.
All of this is to say that City are the deserving favourites to win the Champions League, and could make history when this season is said and done. Thanks to the remaining field in the FA Cup, City are the clear favourites to win that competition as well. If they can add the Premier League on top of the FA Cup and the already secured Carabao Cup, they could be competing for the elusive quadruple when the late stages of the Champions League take place.
Whether City get there or not, the fact that the quadruple is even being discussed in the modern age of football is amazing. And for that reason, City might be an even bigger favourite than the odds suggest. Unless their packed calendar gets in their way, there might not be a club who is capable of stopping them right now.