As the 2008-09 tournament is already underway, one can already begin predicting which teams will continue to be featured in the Champions League betting odds once the group stage is complete. However, the key to handicapping the knockout round’s Champions League betting odds effectively will be looking past teams’ performances in the group stage and focusing on how they matchup against their opponents.
The Champions League betting odds have not involved a huge range of surprises so far in the 2008-09 tournament. Top teams, such as Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Liverpool, Manchester United, Villareal, Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Juventus, and Real Madrid, are all at the top of their groups and performing relatively well against the Champions League betting odds. Given these teams’ performances so far, one can remain fairly confident that they will end up featured in the Champions League betting odds in the first knockout round. However, it is impossible to predict exactly how these Champions League odds will be established because there will be a draw to determine how the bracket is set up. Nevertheless, one can already begin predicting which teams will provide value in the Champions League betting odds and which teams will be overrated in the Champions League betting odds once the knockout rounds begin.
Teams that have very easy draws in the group stage may be overrated in the Champions League betting odds in the knockout stages. For example, Barcelona does not face any challenging group competition and has won its first three matchups 3-1, 2-1, and 5-0. Barcelona is unquestionably a very talented team, so one can assume that the Champions League odds will feature Barcelona as a strong favorite in the first knockout round. However, Barcelona’s easy victories in the group stage may lead to overconfidence in the team from many bettors, which could force the Champions League betting odds for the team to be set too high. Once the knockout stages begin the competition facing all teams is much more difficult, so one should not focus too much on a team’s performance in the group stage when handicapping the subsequent Champions League betting odds. For example, just because Barcelona destroyed Basel 5-0 does not mean Barcelona will necessarily offer value in the Champions League betting odds when playing another top squad, like Arsenal. Consequently, when assessing Champions League odds in the knockout stages one should primarily focus on how two teams match up against one another, instead of their margins of victory in the group stage.
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