The European soccer landscape has been rocked by a series of major player transfers this summer. Most notable among those moves is the unexpected departure of Lionel Messi from his long-time home at FC Barcelona. Messi’s status as a free agent did not last long, with the Argentine superstar signing a deal with Ligue 1 powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain. The move has buoyed PSG’s position on the odds top win this season’s UEFA Champions league, where they have moved past Manchester City and now sit as betting favourites.
However, the Parisians can expect to face no shortage of challenges from Europe’s elite clubs. Returning to action with their Premier League championship lineup largely intact, Manchester City continue to sit a close second to PSG. Defending Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich sit third on the odds board, while the recent addition of Belgian star Romelu Lukaku has lifted defending UCL champions Chelsea FC into a dead heat with archrivals Liverpool FC.
CanadianBettingSites takes a look at all the odds and trends as this season’s edition of the UEFA Champions League gets underway. Sports bettors looking to get in on soccer action for the first time can refer to our betting guides to learn all they need to know to get the best out of their soccer betting experience.
PSG Sparing No Expense in Pursuit of European Glory
Paris Saint-Germain have spared no expense in their bid to claim their first Champions League title in franchise history. Already sporting one of the most talented lineups in Europe, the Parisians seized the opportunity earlier this month when Lionel Messi hit the open market, inking the six-time Ballon d’Or winner to a two-year deal worth in excess of 70 million Euros.
— Copa Eleven (@copaeleven) August 10, 2021
The arrival of the four-time Champions League winner has had an immediate and decisive impact on PSG’s position on the UCL futures. In the wake of the deal, PSG quickly surpassed Manchester City, with a $20 bet at Betway (3.75) now returning a dramatically reduced return of just $75.
Messi Joins Star-Studded Lineup
PSG have consistently fallen short of glory in Champions League action, with their lone appearance in the UCL final in 2020 resulting in a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Bayern Munich. The club added insult to injury last season. In addition to suffering a humiliating semi-final loss to Manchester City in UCL action, the club was unable to keep pace with a surprising squad from Lille and were forced to settle for a second-place finish on the Ligue 1 table.
PSG have managed to sign Neymar, Mbappe and now Messi without breaching UEFA’s financial regulations. They must have the best commercial department in the world to make the maths work 😘
— tariq panja (@tariqpanja) August 10, 2021
With so much to prove, and a lineup that also features the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar Jr., Sergio Ramas, and Georginio Wijnaldum, anything less than a return to the top of Ligue 1 and the Champions League final would have to be considered a massive failure. However, PSG are not the only club under massive pressure to produce on the European stage this season.
Manchester City Face High Expectations
Pegged as early favourites to claim their first-ever Champions League title after falling just short last season, Manchester City now find themselves looking up at PSG, with a $20 bet at Betsafe (4.50) generating a return of $90. The class of the Premier League last season while claiming the top of the table by a wide 12-point margin, City saw their bid for a Champions League crown spoiled with a 1-0 loss to Chelsea FC in the final.
I cant believe Manchester City made the Champions League Final. Rigged the group stages to get the easiest draw. Absolutely robbed Dortmund in the quarters and beat PSG through goalkeeping errros and good luck. Then got humbled by Chelsea
The worst UCL finalists of all time.
— CfcSheikh (@CfcSheikh) August 15, 2021
While the club was largely quiet during the offseason, they made a splash just prior to opening their EPL schedule adding midfielder Jack Grealish on a transfer from Aston Villa. The move has helped solidify City as favourites to repeat as Premier League champs, with a successful $20 bet at Sports Interaction (2.05) returning just $41.
🏠 Settling in in Manchester!
Jack Grealish spoke about learning from Pep Guardiola, inheriting Sergio Aguero’s No. 10 and his £100m transfer fee during his unveiling. pic.twitter.com/g49om3HFRv
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) August 9, 2021
However, a shaky start to the new campaign has done little to inspire confidence in the Citizens’ chances. The club opened their EPL schedule with a disappointing 1-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur and now find themselves riding a three-match losing streak in non-friendly competition, including last season’s UCL final loss to Chelsea, and their 1-0 defeat at the hands of Leicester City in their recent Community Shield clash.
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Expect a Deep Run from Bayern Munich
It is tough not to give serious consideration to Bayern Munich to claim their second Champions League title in three years. The German powerhouse has dominated the Bundesliga for the past decade, and offer intriguing value on the UCL futures, with a $20 bet at Funbet (8.00) producing a return of $160.
⏪ 1 year ago today @FCBayern produced arguably the most sensational performance in @ChampionsLeague history. Joshua Kimmich, @AlphonsoDavies, Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski electrified in an 8-2 thrashing of Barcelona 🤯@FCBayernEN | @esmuellert_ | #OnThisDay pic.twitter.com/067qOKbRW2
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) August 14, 2021
However, the most interesting dark horses to watch this season remain the defending UCL champions Chelsea, and Liverpool FC, who sit deadlocked in Champions League betting, with a $20 bet at Betsafe (10.00) on either club raising the trophy paying out a handsome $200.
Chelsea a Good Bet to Defend Title
Liverpool hope to bounce back from an injury-plagued campaign in 2021 that forced them to settle for a third-place finish on the Premier League table and a stunning exit from the Champions League in the quarter-finals. The return of Dutch centre-back Virgil van Dijk after losing most of last season to injury offers a huge lift. The addition of talented young defender Ibrahima Konaté also fortifies a Reds defence that ranked fourth in the EPL last season.
Chelsea earn FIVE nominations for Champions League Player of the Year, with N’Golo Kante, Antonio Rudiger and Co up for the top prize after beating Man City in the final. pic.twitter.com/sbglPvhI3x
— Last Born🇬🇭 (@thatDANNYguy) August 13, 2021
Chelsea remains a sensational bet to repeat as champions. Winners of s combined four Champions League and Europa League titles over the past decade, winning in Europe is nothing new for the Blues. And now, with the arrival of Romelu Lukaku, who potted 24 goals in 36 Serie A appearances with Inter Milan last season, Chelsea are well-positioned to improve on a worrisome attack that produced just 58 total goals last season.