Champions League Group B features defending champions Real Madrid, who are expected to go for their 11th European crown.
We continue our extensive coverage of the Champions League groups and their participants ahead of the first matches scheduled for next Tuesday, September 16th. Today we take a look at who’s the favorite and who’s the underdog in Group B, providing punters betting under Spanish gambling laws with a bit of help in order for them to make a more informed decision on the betting.
Back in May this year, Real Madrid have rewritten history after beating Atletico Madrid and winning record-setting 10th Champions League title. Naturally, Los Blancos are back in action this season as well and have been placed in Group B.
Champions League Group B participants and betting
Champions League Group B trivia and betting odds
• Online sportsbooks in Spain anticipate lots of betting on Group B
• Defending champions Real Madrid are of course the favorites to win the group
• Liverpool are widely expected to settle for second spot, also awarding a qualifying ticket
Following the World Cup, Real Madrid have strengthened their already excellent squad with some great names, who shined in Brazil. Toni Kroos has moved in from Bayern, Keylor Navas has made his way from Levante, and James Rodriguez came from Monaco to join Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale at the pinnacle of the attack.
Besides Los Blancos, Champions League Group B is comprised of the Swiss champions Basel, Premier League runners-up Liverpool, and Bulgarian champion Ludogorets. The situation in the group is pretty straightforward when it comes to favorites: Real Madrid are of course widely expected to win it with 1.35 odds from Betway, while Liverpool are next in line with 3.75 odds, compared to a line of 21.00 for Basel and huge 34.00 odds for an unlikely event of Ludogorets winning.
Naturally, the same is true for qualification odds, Los Blancos and the Reds dominate the other two teams with 1.01 and 1.25 respective odds, while Basel managed to receive 4.00 odds to upset one of the favorites and qualify for the knockouts, and underdogs Ludogorets get a massive line of 15.00 to make it to the next stage.
Liverpool are in fourth spot in the all-time winners tablet with 5 titles compared to 10 for Real Madrid, but the last time the Reds came anywhere near winning was in 2006/2007 season, when they’ve reached to final only to be beaten by Milan, who took revenge for the final of another two years’ back.
The Reds were unlucky to give way to Manchester City during the last Premier League season, stumbling during the last three games. They have already lost one game out of three this season, and the team that managed to beat Liverpool again was of course Manchester City. Naturally, the Reds will be looking to shine this season both at home and in Europe, but might very well find it hard to match the firepower of Real Madrid and will ultimately settle for second spot in the group.
Basel have made history when they’ve reached Champions League Round of 16 back in 2011/2012 season. Last year they have been knocked out at Group stage, but managed to go all the way until Europa League quarter-finals. Thus a line of 4.00 on them qualifying out of Group B this time around doesn’t seem that long, however, 21.00 odds on the Swiss champions winning the group might not be a very smart wager for those who bet on sports in Spain.
Basel have already proven themselves as a tough competitor and especially good at beating the English sides in European competitions. During the last four seasons, they’ve managed to overpower the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, and Tottenham, with all those wins recorded within their fortress of a stadium at St. Jakon Park. Beating them at home will once again prove to be tough, and should they pick some points away, their more celebrated rivals could be in for a major upset.
As for the outsiders of Group B, Ludogorets, it’s their first time among the big boys, after being knocked out at play-off stages last season and going on to reach the Last 16 in Europa League. The Bulgarian champions’ success this year was largely due to heroics of their defender Cosmin Moti, who took the goalkeeping post after their goalie was sent off and managed to save two penalties allowing them to reach Champions League group stage.
Naturally they are expected to struggle against all three opponents who have far more experience playing at this level. Both 15.00 odds on them to qualify and huge line of 34.00 on them to win Group B at online sportsbooks in Spain are regarded as a waste of money at this point.
Betting on the first matches in Group B
Group B will also commence their matches on Tuesday, September 16th. Liverpool will be welcoming Champions League debutants Ludogorets. The Reds are of course huge favorites to win the opener with 1.18 odds against a long line of 13.00 for the Bulgarian champions and 6.50 odds for the draw result.
Online bookies expect a lot of goals to be scored during this fixture, mainly on behalf of Liverpool. 2-0 in favor of the Reds will bring a 5.75 payout, while 3-0 pays at 6.50, and even 4-0 is on the books with a line of 9.00. However, should Ludogorets provide a major surprise and win 1-0 at Anfield the payout will be at a huge line of 20.00.
Real Madrid are pretty much in the same situation in their opener against Basel in Madrid. Betway will pay at a very short line of 1.10 for Los Blancos’ success, while the Swiss win will deliver huge 19.00 odds. The tie is also highly unlikely and pays at a line of 9.00.
As for the goal expectations, a shower of them is quite possible. 3-0 for Real is the most anticipated result paying at 6.00, with 2-0 delivering a 6.75 payout and 4-0 paying at 7.50. 5-0 is also not out of the question with 12.00 odds. Unexpected 1-0 success for the Swiss champions will pay at 35.00, not a bad way to make a lot of money with a single bet.