iBet: Gareth’s Backing the Madrids In The Champions League

Gareth Purnell

Champions League Betting, Outright market

Back Real Madrid at 9/2
Back Atletico Madrid each way at 16/1 with Ladbrokes

One of the main beneficiaries of the Champions League draw looks to me to be Real Madrid and I’m quite surprised they have not shortened a little bit more in the betting. They are still available to back at 9/2 and that is bet material in my book because I fancied them even before they drew Schalke. The Germans score plenty of goals, but in a shoot-out Real could probably out-score anyone and with Bale now beginning to click and Ronaldo, well, just Ronaldo, they look to be an improving team that could pose the greatest threat to champions Bayern Munich.

Of course you have to have huge respect for Bayern, who have drifted just slightly to 11/4 (William Hill, Paddy Power) after drawing Arsenal, who are out to 40/1 (BetVictor, Coral) as a result. The north Londoners don’t look to be quite strong enough to beat the German champions to me. Having said that, they could beat anyone on their day – I thought they got the wrong end of some bad linesmanship at the wrong times against Manchester City at the weekend – and perhaps more importantly, the record books are bang against the Germans as no side has ever successfully defended the Champions League, although there were consecutive winners when it was called the European Cup.

With Barcelona (11/2) drawing Manchester City that’s another big team that’s going out. The bookies make the Catalans 4/9 to knock city out but regular readers will know that I think the blue side of Manchester represent value. City drifted slightly to 18/1 (BetVictor, Stan James) after drawing the Spaniards. But in years gone by that would have been a much bigger market movement. The fact is that Barcelona without Messi do not have the fear factor or old, and it’s a tie that could go either way.

Another team to keep an eye on following the draw is Atletico Madrid, who are above Real in La Liga. They are simply brilliant at home and have a fantastic amount of European experience through their Europa League exploits of recent years. This is of course a step up, but with a first choice team available they are another team that can beat anyone on their day – 16/1 with Ladbrokes is tempting and I feel they can see to struggling AC Milan over two legs.

Chelsea (now 14/1) will be happy with their draw against Galatasaray on paper. However, the Turks – who let us not forget include the likes of Drogba and Wesley Sneijder in their ranks – are very strong and they knocked out Juventus. I personally wouldn’t give Chelsea much of a chance against Juventus and on that basis I can’t be getting with Mourinho’s men.

Paris are strong at the back and that could prove decisive against Bayer Leverkusen, while Dortmund, who sneaked the group win, will be delighted to be pitched against Zenit, who may be the weakest team left in the competition after just getting through an average looking group. There has been money for Manchester United, who are in to 16/1 after drawing Olympiakos. They’ve been strong in the Champions League and will probably go through, but their dodgy league form and soft midfield tells me to steer well clear.

Andy Murray has been installed as 4/1 favourite to retain his Sports Personality Of The Year award in 2014. Murray is 5/1 with William Hill to be knighted in the New Year’s Honours list and 7/4 to get married in 2014.


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