After a stunning Week 1, the NFL’s Super Bowl odds are moving. We look at which contenders have fallen and which have risen just ahead of Week 2, which we also pick three quality games from to break down.
Champions League 2021-22 Picks: Is This Paris Saint-Germain Or Bust?
The rich got a lot richer as perennial contenders Paris Saint-Germain got the biggest prize of the summer: signing Lionel Messi. The Argentinian legend leaves Barcelona to join an already-stacked French club as they seek their first-ever Champions League trophy. The betting odds have them as the favourites but they will face stiff competition as we preview the 2021-22 UEFA Champions League.
Paris Saint-Germain enters as a 3-1 betting favourite to win outright begins on September 28 against last year’s runner-up, Manchester City, listed at 5-1 to win and as high as 8-1. The Champions League Group Stage begins September 14 with Manchester United, who made a big splash of their own by reacquiring Lionel Messi’s La Liga rival and fellow great, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Manchester United is sixth in the outright odds at 11-1 as this is how the entire field is looking via the top online sportsbooks:
Odds to win the
UEFA Championship League 2021-22
Champions League Futures: Is This Finally PSG’s Year?
Just like in the NBA, soccer has been largely driven by superstars despite the most star-laden teams not winning it all. PSG almost did that two years ago when it lost to Bayern Munich in an empty stadium in Lisbon. Adding Messi to a lineup that already includes Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, and Angel Di Maria gives PSG one of the scariest offences.
But Messi is not the only acquisition from PSG. The club also nabbed the likes of Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos, and Georginio Wijnaldum. Now it will be up to manager Mauricio Pochettino to put all the pieces together and deliver Paris its long-awaited trophy.
Champions League Outright Picks: The Other Contenders To The Throne
But Manchester City can attest that winning the Champions League is as difficult as it comes. The English side came oh so close last season and will look to redeem themselves though they did not make any significant upgrades. A handful of others are closer to challenging PSG (odds via BetOnline):
Bayern Munich (8.00)
The 2019-20 winners lost longtime defenders Jerome Boateng and David Alaba but did acquire Dayot Upamecano. Compared to what PSG and the English clubs have done, Bayern is treading water and appears like a tier below. But Julian Nagelsmann’s club has consistently played well and still has the key players, Robert Lewandowski included, to capture another trophy.
Since 1991, only Real Madrid has won the Champions League in consecutive fashion. History is not on CFC’s side. But lost in all the Messi and Ronaldo hype is Romelu Lukaku’s addition to the Pensioners. The Belgian may be the best striker today and CFC also added Saul Niguez to bolster their midfield. This club returns even better than last year.
Manchester United (11.00)
Can Ronaldo and Manchester United do it again? This is shades of 2007-08, the last time ManU won the Champions League with Ronaldo leading the tournament in scoring. Though he is approaching the twilight of his career, Ronaldo could just be the x-factor that pushes this underachieving side over the hump. Besides Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani will pace the team.
Atletico Madrid (26.00)
If you’re looking for a dark horse to back, look no further. Atletico Madrid will look to build on a strong 2020 with plenty of upgrades. Rodrigo De Paul, Matheus Cunha, and Antoine Griezmann give this Spanish side plenty of firepower. If Griezmann is still capable of being a talisman, watch out for Atletico Madrid in the knockout stages.
Champions League’s Top Goalscorer: The Favourites
We’ve talked about Messi, Ronaldo, and all the other stars in the league. But would you believe that none of these household names are on top of the betting odds when it comes to leading the tournament in goals? Here’s who the sportsbooks peg as the Champions League’s main scorers:
Erling Haaland (Dortmund) (5.50)
Last year’s top scorer is the favourite to repeat the feat. The Norwegian has been scoring goals like a video game with 27 goals in 28 apps last season. Dortmund did make it to the quarterfinals last year so they will need to progress this far or further if Haaland looks to keep scoring.
Raheem Sterling (Man City) (6.00)
Sterling finds himself second only to Haaland as far as goal scorers go. But the talented Englishman has not scored more than 20 goals in a year and did not even finish in the top ten of scoring in last season’s tournament. Man City also needs to progress far for him to come close to what the German clubs’ scorers will put up.
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern) (7.50)
Lewandowski will need to be firing on all cylinders if Bayern is to achieve any long-term success. He finished as the top scorer in 2019-20 with 15 goals and was named as the Best Forward of the tournament. Lewandowski averages nearly a goal per game with Bayern so he’s a solid bet to hit double-digit goals.
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