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Champions League: How to bet the second half of the group stage and beyond

Ryan Bailey
·7-min read

Ahead of the fourth round of Champions League group stage action, Yahoo Soccer highlights the best odds from this week, and selects the sides who are most likely to reach the knockout rounds.

Matchday 4 Best Bet: Inter Milan, Real Madrid to draw and both score (+320 on BetMGM)

One of the most intriguing games of Matchday 4 sees Real Madrid head to the San Siro to take on fellow “heritage” side Inter. Curiously, both teams find themselves outside of contention in both their respective domestic leagues and this group. Surprisingly, Inter are languishing in fourth place.

But there’s hope for the Italians. The last time they failed to win their first three group games was 2009-10. That season, they lifted the Champions League trophy to complete the treble.

Antonio Conte’s side fought back from two goals down when they met Real Madrid three weeks ago, but ultimately succumbed to a late winner from the hosts. Inter are priced at narrow favorites in this rematch (+120 compared to Real’s +190), but the best value can be found in the score draw.

Inter have drawn two of their three group games this season and three of their last five matches in all competitions. Real Madrid were held in a score draw by Villarreal over the weekend, and also earned a 2-2 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach on Matchday 2.

The form book suggests the points will be split evenly in Milan, and neither sides have any issues with scoring right now.

Real Madrid and Inter Milan's clash offers the best betting opportunity on Matchday 4. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)
Real Madrid and Inter Milan's clash offers the best betting opportunity on Matchday 4. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)

Matchday 4 Best Longshot: Dynamo Kiev to defeat Barcelona (+600 at BetMGM)

Barcelona seldom have trouble navigating their way through the group stages, and they have maximum points thus far.

However, Ronald Koeman’s side were tested in their narrow 2-1 victory over Dynamo three weeks ago, and they now face a 1,500-mile trip to Ukraine for the rematch.

They travel east off the back of their first league loss to Atletico Madrid in a decade, during which defender Gerard Pique sustained an injury that will likely keep him out for months. Barca have one fit center back and have looked very poor going forward this season. Lionel Messi, meanwhile, has not been included in the squad.

There’s never been a better time for Dynamo to take on the Spanish giants, and +600 is far too good to pass up.

Group A knockout stage qualifiers: 1. Bayern Munich, 2. Atletico Madrid

Reigning champions Bayern Munich are on an 11-game winning streak in all competitions and have scored an average of four goals per game in this season’s Champions League thus far. A win against Red Bull Salzburg will mean a historic 15 consecutive wins in the competition and a place in the knockout phase. So yeah, Bayern are going to be fine.

Atletico Madrid have had mixed fortunes in the group stage so far, losing heavily to Bayern and drawing at Lokomotiv Moscow. If Diego Simeone’s side drop points against the Russians again this week, their progress to the next round is in trouble — but they remain on course to progress in second spot at a fairly underwhelming -770 with BetMGM.

Group B qualifiers: 1. Borussia Monchengladbach, 2. Real Madrid

With only three points separating first-place Gladbach from last-place Inter Milan, no group is tighter than this.

Real Madrid haven’t failed to clear the first stage since 1996-97, and are narrow favorites to win the group at -125 on BetMGM. However, Los Blancos have conceded two goals in each game and have suffered mixed form in the league. A more likely outcome would be for them to finish second (albeit at a longer -455).

With Inter Milan winless thus far, the path is open for Gladbach to maintain top spot. The Germans came very close to beating both Real and Inter and put six unanswered goals past Shakhtar Donetsk in their last outing. Backing them to win the group at +250 on BetMGM is great value.

Group C qualifiers: 1. Manchester City, 2. Porto

Days after a tough away trip to Tottenham, Man City face the prospect of a road game in Piraeus, where Olympiakos have lost only two of their last 16 continental matches. With a midweek win over hapless Marseille, Porto could pull level on points with Pep Guardiola’s side. Regardless, we’re backing City to top their group for the fourth consecutive season.

Porto, meanwhile, were seeded in Pot 1 and are technically the biggest shark in the Group C tank. They offer exceptional value at +800 to win the group, but they too will face a tough trip to Greece on the final matchday of group action, which should ensure a second-place finish.

Pep Guardiola and Manchester City haven't had great luck in the Champions League in recent years, but they're a good bet to win their group this term. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson, FILE)
Pep Guardiola and Manchester City haven't had great luck in the Champions League in recent years, but they're a good bet to win their group this term. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson, FILE)

Group D qualifiers: 1. Liverpool, 2. Ajax

With a win over Atalanta on Wednesday, 2018-19 champions Liverpool will book their spot in the knockout stages. Given their weekend demolition of Leicester with several starters sidelined, another win over the Italians is on the cards.

The bookmakers favor Atalanta to take second place (-167 with Bet MGM), but FC Yahoo is marginally favoring Ajax to progress (-112). The Amsterdammers are in better form, they have a superior defense, and will have home advantage when they face the Italians on the final group match day.

Group E qualifiers: 1. Chelsea, 2. Sevilla

It’s likely that Group E will be wrapped up this week. Chelsea and Sevilla both sit six points clear, and both will qualify for the Round of 16 with respective victories over Rennes and Krasnodar on Tuesday.

Accordingly. there’s not much value to back Chelsea to win the group at -143 on BetMGM, but they will likely do so by virtue of a far superior goal difference.

Group F qualifiers: 1. Borussia Dortmund, 2. Lazio

Borussia Dortmund may not have the world’s greatest defense, but their firepower will likely launch them deep into the Champions League this season.

Erling Haaland, fresh from scoring four goals against Hertha Berlin at the weekend, will be looking to have a big game against Club Brugge on Tuesday. A win against the Belgians should be enough to put Dortmund out of reach at the top of their group.

Lazio, meanwhile, marked their first foray into the Champions League in 13 years with a shock 3-1 win over Dortmund on Matchday 1. Lazio have had some injuries and COVID-related issues to deal with, but they are heavily favored to progress (-500 on BetMGM)

Group G qualifiers: 1. Juventus, 2. Barcelona

Prior to the start of this season’s competition, we predicted Juventus would top Group G ahead of Barcelona. Despite Barca’s three-point lead going into Matchday 4, we are standing by that call.

Given their aforementioned weekend defeat, Barcelona are poised to drop points on their difficult midweek away trip to Kiev. Barca host Juve on the final matchday, where the Italians may cement their group-topping status.

Group G gives us the best bet of the competition: Juventus are currently +400 to win it, and those odds will definitely narrow in the coming weeks.

We're sticking by our prediction that Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus will win their Champions League group. (Photo by Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images )
We're sticking by our prediction that Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus will win their Champions League group. (Photo by Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images )

Group H qualifiers: 1. Paris Saint-Germain, 2. Manchester United

This season’s “Group of Death” remains wide open — every team has won at least once and only three points separate them all.

If the current standings hold, last season’s finalists Paris Saint-Germain will find themselves in the indignant position of dropping down to the Europa League. However, we’re backing the Parisians to leapfrog RB Leipzig into the qualification spots; the Germans have not been in their best form in this competition this season, and face tough road games in Paris and Istanbul.

PSG are +325 with BetMGM to win the group outright, which also seems like fantastic value, given the inconsistent form of current group leaders Manchester United.

2020 Champions League Winner: Bayern Munich (+250 at BetMGM)

It’s not always the case that the best team in Europe wins the Champions League, but it is impossible to look beyond the Bavarians at this stage.

The reigning champions are in better form than any other contender, they are plundering their way through the group stage, and it is difficult to see any continental challenger dethroning them.

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