Outright Champions League odds after the quarter-finals

Outright Champions League odds after the quarter-finals

Champions League winners odds prior to the semi-finals

We witnessed one of the year’s most important weeks in football, as the Champions League quarter-finals concluded, with plenty left to play for and far more shocks than we’d first predicted.

The meeting between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City was easily the most dramatic, starting off with a 1-0 win for Spurs at home, before seeing the underdogs carry out a qualification to the semi-finals in only losing 4-3 at the Etihad, going through on away goals.

Another shock came from Ajax, who continued the form that saw them defeating Real Madrid, holding a draw in Holland at home to Juve before completely defying the odds in beating Juventus 2-1 away from home. The Old Lady were always expected to win the game and it was unforeseen that Ajax would defeat them over two legs, especially with Juve now possessing five-time UEFA Champions League winning forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

As for Barcelona and Liverpool – who will face in the Champions League semi-final – they defeated their opponents as expected, Barca winning 4-0 against Manchester United on aggregate and Jurgen Klopp’s Reds easily surpassing Porto by a convincing 6-1 aggregate scoreline.

Moving past the Champions League quarter-finals, we’re now gearing up for two exciting fixtures in Tottenham v Ajax and Barcelona v Liverpool, where most football fans are already claiming that it’s difficult to decide the result of either game. Outright odds on potential Champions League winners have changed almost constantly, and we can now judge the bookmakers’ viewpoint in the run-up to this year’s semis.

Barcelona favourites to win the Champions League

Holding five Champions League wins to their name, Barcelona are 13/8 favourites to lift the cup this season, adding to their almost confirmed La Liga title win, which is set to become official within the next few gameweeks.

As always, a lot of their success is down to the unstoppable force that is Lionel Messi. He’s going through yet another solid campaign, scoring forty-six goals and assisting fifteen in forty-four appearances in all competitions for Barcelona.

Despite the undeniable influence of Leo Messi, it’s not often that Barcelona are called a ‘one-man team’, but it’s starting to be a fair statement based on how poor Luis Suarez has been in Europe this season, yet to score in the Champions League.

Formerly a star player for Liverpool, Luis Suarez has twenty La Liga goals but has been of no use in Europe, leaving Lionel Messi to score ten, and Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho to net three times each.

Coutinho is also a player that’s best-known for his time at Anfield, enduring a poor first full season at Barcelona but expected to shine in the Champions League semi-final after scoring a stunner past Manchester United in their last game.

Philippe Coutinho Barcelona

Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez both face their former team in Liverpool, with Coutinho being the greatest threat of the two after scoring an incredible goal against Manchester United.

Liverpool a popular outsider after last year’s Champions League final appearance

With as many Champions League wins under their belt as Barcelona, Liverpool are a team that so many people have ignored until this point, leaving rival fans frustrated as they stand such a strong chance to win the competition after reaching the final last time around.

Most Liverpool fans have also remained calm over any chance of winning the Champions League in the current attempt after focusing so heavily on the Premier League, where they’re currently two points ahead of Manchester City, but with the disadvantage of The Citizens possessing a game-in-hand to regain the top spot with one more win.

Worries over Mo Salah’s continued form after such a solid first season are beginning to wear away, as the Egyptian has scored two goals in his last two games, including an absolutely incredible goal from distance against Chelsea in yet another must-win Premier League fixture.

Jurgen Klopp’s efforts to make Liverpool into a side capable of defending and attacking in equal measure has been what’s put them into a fully-fledged title race alongside Manchester City. Although City fell out of the Champions League on Wednesday evening and remain in pole position for the league, Liverpool could capitalise in conquering Europe if the Premier League is out of their clutches, currently priced at 9/4 to do exactly that.

They possessed Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah in last year’s final, but the addition of Fabinho, Naby Keita and Alisson Becker has been the missing piece in their intricate puzzle. These incomings could be the difference as they push on to a second successive pop at Europe’s greatest prize.

Virgil van Dijk Liverpool

Virgil van Dijk’s first full season at Liverpool has seen an even stronger defensive unit at the club. This will be crucial as they attempt to block Lionel Messi’s advances.

Tottenham are gradually looking more capable of lifting the trophy

Odds have been dropping on Tottenham Hotspur’s chances of winning the Champions League ever since they qualified, and the massively unlikely fantasy could soon become a clearly deserved reality as they continually defy the expectations of all opposing fans.

We’ve seen plenty of situations where one team has had an easy run of games on the road to a major trophy win but that’s been far from the case with Spurs, facing Inter Milan, Barcelona, PSV Eindhoven, Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City, where they’ve had one of the most impressive stories in making it this far.

Bookmakers currently rate their chances of finishing the season as Champions League winners at a price of 7/2, and this season is certainly a good opportunity to get behind an outsider after all of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Atletico Madrid and Manchester City shockingly left the competition prematurely.

One of the main factors which makes their run of results even more incredible is how much they’ve had to play without Harry Kane, missing him during both legs against Borussia Dortmund and the second leg against Manchester City. This will be the case until the end of the season too, so it’s even more important that they continue to over-perform without the star striker.

Having to go without Harry Kane is an understandable concern for Tottenham, but Heung-Min Son is one player who’s perfectly replaced the Spurs number 10, scoring twelve goals in the Premier League and scoring a crucial four goals in the Champions League. Between him, Christian Eriksen, Fernando Llorente, Lucas Moura, Erik Lamela, and the faltering Dele Alli – who only has one assist in the Champions League – it’s possible that Harry Kane’s absence could be catered for.

Heung-Min Son Spurs Tottenham Hotspur

Heung-Min Son has been successful in replacing Harry Kane during various injuries. He was also crucial in scoring three and assisting one in Spurs’ last four games, including three Champions League goals against Manchester City.

Ajax have become an exciting outsider in Europe this season

It never looked likely to come into fruition, but after conquering both Real Madrid and Juventus, Ajax could be set to scoop their fifth UEFA Champions League win. They started the season with a whopping 200/1 price to win the competition before proving their worth at every opportunity, making for an extremely unnerving wildcard as three games remain.

Former Southampton winger Dusan Tadic has been a crucial player for Ajax this season, scoring twenty-two and assisting eleven in the Eredivisie. He’s been equally as important in the UEFA Champions League, scoring six and assisting three, working as one of the more experienced members of an incredibly young squad of players.

Between Barcelona acquisition Frenkie de Jong, Atletico Madrid target Nicolas Tagliafico, former Manchester United left-back Daley Blind, Bayern Munich linked Hakim Ziyech, Barcelona-bound Matthijs de Ligt, veteran striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, and rising stars Kasper Dolberg and David Neres, Ajax have a formidable team with a lot of potential, even if most of their squad departs the Johan Cruijff Arena this summer.

Now priced at 4/1 to win the Champions League, Ajax are an extremely troublesome team to judge, as they appear to be the weakest side out of the remaining four in the competition, but past victories this season make them look like a frightening side to face, as they’ve already shocked several of Europe’s top teams.

Whether their outright Champions League odds reflect how strong they are as they move into the semi-finals is up for discussion, with a lot of punters now saying that they hold a better chance of making it to the final than Tottenham Hotspur, who they could outsmart to the same degree as they recently dominated all of Sturm Graz, Standard Liege, Dynamo Kyiv, AEK Athens, Bayern Munich, Benfica, Real Madrid and Juventus.

Hakim Ziyech and Daley Blind Ajax

Although most of Ajax’s best players are expected to leave the club in the summer, they could be set to push their way into the Champions League final.

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