How To Bet on the Champions League?
In the world of soccer, few things can match the glory of lifting the UEFA Champions League trophy. The most prestigious club competition in the world, it features the absolute elite of European soccer. Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski, Karim Benzema, Paco Gento, Alessandro Costacurta, Paolo Maldini, and Alfredo Di Stefano are some of the legends that have lifted the prestigious trophy. Naturally, Champions League betting is incredibly popular, matching the tournament’s greatness.
If you are looking for a guide on how to bet on the Champions League, then we’ve got you covered. Join us to learn how to place a bet on one of the most prestigious competitions in sports, and how to make the best of Champions League betting lines and odds.
Champions League History
The Champions League was previously known as the European Cup, which took place for the first time during the 1955-56 season. Back then, 16 teams participated in the continental tournament. The first-ever match was a 3-3 draw between Portuguese champions Sporting and Yugoslav champions Partizan. Real Madrid won the title after defeating Stade de Reims 4-3 in the final.
In 1992, UEFA announced the competition’s rebranding. Introducing its now famous stars symbol, as well as the unmistakable competition anthem, the European League was officially renamed UEFA Champions League. The 1992-93 edition, the first under the new name, featured a total of 32 teams. Olympique de Marseille won its first European title, defeating Milan 1-0 in the final.
Champions League Betting Explained
First, let’s understand the Champions League format. It can get a bit complicated if you are new to it. While 32 teams play in the group stage, a total of 79 clubs qualify for the competition. UEFA awards a spot in the competition based on coefficient points, which are determined by each federation’s results over the past five editions of the Champions League and the Europa League.
The previous year’s Champions League and Europa League champions automatically qualify for the competition, with the remaining spots being determined by the national competitions. Moving on, 26 clubs advance straight to the group stage. The remaining 6 spots are then determined by two qualifying tournaments: a four-round qualifier for teams from the lower-placed federations (which awards four spots,) and a three-round qualifier for teams from federations ranked 5 through 15, which awards the remaining two spots.
With all 32 teams defined, this is how the main tournament plays out:
- Teams are split into eight groups of four, playing in a double round-robin format with home and away games.
- The top 2 teams from each group advance to the round of 16. The third-placed club drops to the Europa League knockouts, and the last-placed team is outright eliminated.
- The knockouts are played in a home-and-away format. For the round of 16, the top seed of each group gets to play the second leg at home. In the quarterfinals and semis, that is determined by a draw.
- The final is played in a single match at a neutral stadium.
After all this, it’s only fair to ask: How do we even get started with Champions League betting with, for example, Champions League betting lines?
Sportsbooks offer you the chance to place bets on all Champions League matches, including the qualifying rounds. Champions League betting odds usually change a lot, since there is a significant gap between favorites and underdogs in some of the matches. Of course, as the competition thins out, that gap tends to shorten, and the odds also reflect that, which, in turn, affect Champions League bets.
During knockouts, especially from the quarterfinals onwards, there isn’t much to choose between both sides. This doesn’t mean that there is no room for upsets, though – just look at Villarreal’s semifinals run in 2021-22.
Here are some of the betting markets available for Champions League bets:
- Moneyline: wagering on the match outcome – home team win, away team win, or draw.
- Over/Under: the combined number of goals scored by both teams needs to either go over or under the line provided by the bookmaker.
- Handicap: both teams are given a handicap, which is positive for the favorite and negative for the underdog. In order to cover, the favorite must win by a margin larger than its handicap. The underdog needs to simply win or draw, or lose by a margin smaller than its handicap.
- Future Bets: just as the name suggests, future bets are based on distant events – picking the champion, top goalscorer, the top team for each group.
- Prop Bets: these bets aren’t necessarily related to the match result. You can wager on propositions such as “Will both teams score goals?” “Will the match go to extra time?” “Which player will score at least one goal?”, as well as match stats.
- Parlay Bet: a parlay consists of multiple individual bets, or legs, combined into one. Their odds are multiplied to offer a bigger payout, which naturally means it comes with an increased risk. Each individual leg must win, otherwise you will lose the entire parlay. If one leg loses, then the whole parlay is down, even if the remaining legs win.
Champions League Betting Tips
- One very important thing to consider: most operators only take full time (90 minutes plus injury time) into account, unless clearly stated otherwise. That applies to all betting markets, including moneyline bets. Even if a match goes to extra time and penalties, only the results at the end of full time will count.
- If a team secures a spot in the round of 16 with one or two rounds to spare, they may choose to rest their key players for the remaining group stage matches. This can create the opportunity for upsets, so always keep an eye on the lineups prior to each round.
- Take a good look at all betting markets available. Even if the Champions League odds don’t seem particularly good for a moneyline bet, there is always a decent prop bet, handicap, or over/under bet hiding somewhere.
Champions League Betting Examples
- Let’s assume Team A won the first leg of a knockout match 1-0, then Team B won the second leg 1-0. The second match will head to extra time. However, as far as betting is concerned, Team B will be considered the second match winner, even if Team A ties in extra time or wins the penalty shootout.
- In the Champions League final, if the match ends in a tie at full time, then the match result will also be considered a draw for betting purposes – unless stated otherwise by the operator.
- Some Champions League prop bets examples: will Lionel Messi score a goal? How many players will get carded? Which team will score first? How many first half goals will be scored?
Pros and Cons of Champions League Betting
- The Champions League is the biggest clubs tournament of the year, and betting adds some extra spice to it. There is always something to play for, even in a group stage match with nothing at stake.
- With the qualifying round included, there is a lot of potential for upsets. While bookmakers do a very good job covering potential underdog wins, you will be able to find some good chances to win big with the right Champions League odds.
- Between qualifying round and group stage teams, that’s a lot to keep up with. You will need to follow 55 national competitions in total.
- As the competition drags on, the potential for upsets significantly decreases. And so do the chances of scoring on a big underdog win.
The Champions League is one of the biggest events of the year in sports, and betting only adds to the excitement. With 79 teams taking part from the first qualifying rounds, the competition also has lots of matches for you to place a bet on. Keeping up with so many teams from different leagues can be tricky, but can also pay off big time if you manage to find the right odds to bet on. If you want to expand your horizons, try our section How To Bet on Europa League? for more betting options!