- Madrid giants are bidding for a third successive European crown
- Big-spending PSG are tournament second-favourites
The Group stages of the Champions League kick off tonight and Real Madrid are the 4-1 favorites to make history and win a third successive title.
BELOW: Highlights of last years Champions League final between Real Madrid and Juventus.
The tournament’s most successful club show no sign of faltering despite the loss of Colombian star James Rodriguez, and with rising talent Marco Asensio challenging Gareth Bale for a place in the starting line-up alongside Christian Ronaldo, their attacking options appear to be as strong as ever.
But judging by the relatively open outright markets, it seems their rivals may be closing the gap.
Big-spending Paris St Germain, who have added Neymar and Kylian Mbappe to form a $600 million striking force, are not too far behind and can be backed at 6-1 with Betfred, while 2013 winners Bayern Munich are available at 7-1 with Bet365.
Real’s biggest domestic and European rivals Barcelona are also available at 7-1 but without Neymar, the Catalan giants will lean ever more heavily on Lionel Messi, and they have been drawn in a tough group that also features perennial European challengers Juventus – the runners up in 2015 and 2017 – who can be backed at 14-1 with Paddy Power.
English football’s five-pronged Champions League challenge is led by the two Manchester clubs, who are generally rated as joint fifth-favourites at around the 12-1 mark.
Both Manchester clubs have the necessary squad depth and coaches with impressive European pedigrees, with Manchester United boss José Mourinho bidding to become the first man to win the Champions League with three different clubs.
Premier League champions Chelsea are available at 18-1 with Betfred and have plenty of European experience, although whether their squad is deep enough to sustain a domestic and a top-level European campaign remains to be seen.
888sport have priced Liverpool at 22-1, though their shaky defence will be a concern for punters, while Tottenham, who have to adapt with playing their home games at Wembley, and who have been landed in the same Group as Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid, can be backed at 40-1 with William Hill.
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