Real Madrid Underdogs to Defend Their Title
Last season’s Champions League final was just a few weeks ago, but that won’t stop us from looking toward the future. Next season’s Champions League outrights are available and there are already some emerging favorites and intriguing dark horses. Defending champions Real Madrid are underdogs to defend their title but they have consistently defied the betting odds before. Let’s take an early look at some key teams in the 2022-23 Champions League field.
Manchester City, who have never won the Champions League, stands head and shoulders above the rest of the field. Pep Guardiola’s two-time defending Premier League champions are priced at +275 to win next season’s Champions League.
Undoubtedly, this has a lot to do with the addition of prolific young striker Erling Haaland. The Norwegian has scored a ridiculous 15 goals in 13 career Champions League matches.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool recently made the 2022 UCL final but was unable to find the back of the net vs. Real Madrid. For an offensive boost, the Reds just added Darwin Nunez. The Uruguayan scored six goals in ten Champions League matches with Benfica last season.
At +450 odds, Liverpool certainly has the attacking squad depth to make another run, even if Sadio Mane leaves this Summer. Perhaps Klopp will abandon Liverpool’s pursuit of four trophies this season to focus on the Premier League and Champions League.
Not far behind Liverpool, the Champions League outrights list PSG at +550 odds to win their first title. With coach Mauricio Pochettino gone, PSG is looking to bring in three-time UCL winner Zinedine Zidane. Zidane would certainly command respect in a star-studded locker room that includes the trio of Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, and Neymar. Crucially, PSG locked down Mbappe to a new contract. Now, can Messi start scoring more in his second season in France’s capital?
Bayern Munich is consistently among the favorites to win the Champions League and this year is no exception. The Bavarian giants are ten-time defending Bundesliga Champions and last won the UCL in 2020. Bayern are sitting at +700 odds to win a seventh Champions League title but prolific striker Robert Lewandowski wants to leave the club. Adding Sadio Mane could lessen the sting a bit.
Last season was a strange one for Chelsea, as former owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the U.K. government. Thomas Tuchel’s side stands to lose a bunch of defensive players in the offseason. Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen are already gone and Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta could follow. Regardless, they have a lot of offensive and midfield talent even if they have to rely on unproven players at the back. The Blues have +1000 odds to win a second UCL title in three years.
When will the oddsmakers learn their lesson? Real Madrid has won four of the last seven Champions Leagues and they’re priced at +1200 to defend their title. The legendary Luka Modric is back for another season, Toni Rudiger is coming in to shore up the back line and striker Karim Benzema is very likely about to win the Ballon d’Or. Also, Carlo Ancelotti is the winningest manager in Champions League history. Real are the real deal.
Barcelona seems to be linked to a bunch of in-demand players this Summer. There are rumors of poaching Lewandowski from Barcelona and they’ve consistently been linked with Leeds winger Raphinha. Xavi is close to sealing the signings of center-back Andreas Christensen and midfielder Franck Kessie on free transfers and that might not be all.
A retooled Barcelona is listed at +1600 odds to win their first UCL title since 2015. FCB finished third in their group in the Champions League standings last season and is looking for a big bounce back. If Barcelona can keep midfielder Frenkie de Jong and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang continues his goal-scoring form, the sky could be the limit.
Intriguing Long Shots
Juventus have been disappointing, by their lofty standards, over the last couple of seasons. They’re coming off a second straight fourth-place finish in Serie A but there’s no doubting their talent. Once Federico Chiesa recovers from his ACL injury, he could form a deadly duo with striker Dusan Vlahovic. Longtime center back Giorgio Chiellini is off to LAFC in the MLS but perhaps an infusion of new blood could be a positive. Juve is priced at +2500 to win the UCL.
Antonio Conte transformed Tottenham Hotspur last season and he appears to be shaping the team in his own image. He’s already added former player Ivan Perisic and looks set on bringing in Serie A stars. After Dejan Kulusevski joined the Spurs in January, they looked like a completely different team. With Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son, this is certainly a dangerous side. The Champions League outrights list Spurs at interesting +3300 odds.
AC Milan won their first Serie A title for over ten years last season. The +4000 UCL long shots just added Liverpool cult hero Divock Origi and have experienced strikers in Olivier Giroud and the soon-to-be 41-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Rossoneri are losing midfielder Franck Kessie this season but are favorites to sign Renato Sanches. Winger Rafael Leao emerged as a bonafide star last season and keeping him may be key to their Champions League hopes.Follow us on Twitter