Champions League Group Best Bets: Liverpool to romp through first round

The Champions League is back this week! Liverpool have a bullseye on their backs as the champs this season, but that won't slow them down in the group stage

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Group A – PSG to win Group @ 6/5

Real Madrid are still undergoing a transition, one which started after club-record goalscorer, Cristiano Ronaldo, departed for Juventus, and his goal haven’t been replaced.

PSG are still aiming to get past the quarter-final stage in Europe’s premier competition, which is incredible when you consider the talent they have had and the money they have spent.

The Spanish team are rightly favourites to win the group (4/6 – 60%), but there is no value in backing them according to the Infogol model (51% – 20/21), as they have their problems, especially defensively.

There is a small amount of value in backing Les Parisiens to win Group A, especially now the Neymar saga is over for this year at least, with Thomas Tuchel’s side available at 6/5 (46%).

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Group B – Bayern Munich to win Group @ 8/13

Another competitive looking group, with last season’s runners-up Tottenham competing with German champions Bayern Munich, Olympiacos and Crvena Zvezda.

Unsurprisingly Bayern are strong favourites to win the group, and while that may be a surprise to some people, it isn’t to us, with Bayern’s underlying process exceptional last season domestically, and they were beaten by eventual winners Liverpool in this competition.

Tottenham had a great run last season, but were rightly beaten in the final, and rode their luck throughout the competition, notably when extremely fortunate to beat Manchester City on away goals (4-4) in the Quarter Finals (2 Leg xG: MCI 4.00 – 1.30 TOT).

The bet in Group B is to back Bayern Munich to reign supreme, with Infogol calculating they have a 70% chance of winning the group (equates to around 2/5), compared to the 8/13 (62%) on offer by the bookies.

Group C – Atalanta to qualify @ 8/11

The bookies and Infogol agree that in Group C, there is just one place up for grabs in qualifying, with Manchester City all-but-certain to get out of the group (99%), and as winners (90%).

That means second place is to be decided between Atalanta, Shakhtar Donetsk and Dinamo Zagreb, in what could prove a competitive battle.

Atalanta are strongly fancied by our Infogol analysis (60% – 4/6) to qualify along with Manchester City having been mightily impressive last season in Serie A, The 8/11 available on them to go through represents some value (58%).

Group D – Juventus to win Group @ 8/11

Group D throws up another tasty clash early on in the competition, as Juventus and Atlético Madrid have been drawn together, with Bayer Leverkusen and Lokomotiv Moscow having the unenviable task of trying to finish above one of them.

Atlético Madrid have rebuilt over the summer after seeing their stalwarts depart, and the early signs are extremely positive, while Bayer Leverkusen have also impressed and pose the biggest threat to the two front runners (21% chance qualifying).

The Infogol model, however, like the bookmakers, says both Juve (93% chance qual) and Atleti (81%) will get through to the knockout rounds, and the value in this group is to back Maurizio Sarri’s side to top Group D, with Infogol calculating that they should be around 6/10 (63%), but are available at 8/11 (58%).

Group E – Liverpool to win Group @ 1/2

Reigning champions Liverpool are top seed in Group E, and face a familiar opponent in Napoli, who they had to beat 1-0 or 3-1 in the final group game last season in order to qualify.

The Reds are once again looking strong, and Infogol makes them near certainties to qualify (98% chance qual) from a group containing Salzburg – who could prove to be dangerous – and Genk, the likely whipping boys.

While Jürgen Klopp’s side are short favourites to win the group (1/2 – 67%), the Infogol model suggests that this price represents excellent value, calculating that Liverpool should be around 3/10 (77%) to top Group E. They should be backed.

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Group F – Dortmund to qualify @ 4/6

Arguably this season’s ‘group of death’, with Barcelona, Dortmund, Inter Milan and Slavia Praha battling it out to qualify.

Barca were humiliated in this competition again last season’s semi-finals. Ernesto Valverde needs this trophy given the opportunities squandered over the past few years, and they have a strong squad again, adding the likes of Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann over the summer.

Dortmund are the bookies second-favourites for the group, and they will be looking to progress further than the Last 16, while Inter Milan start a new chapter under Antonio Conte, and have brought in plenty of talent in the summer, with Infogol suggesting the second qualification spot is between these two sides.

The value play is to back the German side to follow Barcelona into the knockout rounds, with Infogol giving Lucien Favre’s side a 69% chance of qualifying (4/9) compared to the bookies 4/6 (60%).

Group G – RB Leipzig to win Group @ 7/4

Group G is the most competitive group in this year’s competition. RB Leipzig are currently the bookies favourites to win the group (7/4), and that is no surprise given the way they have started the new campaign under Julian Naglesmann.

Lyon are rated as next best, while Benfica turned a corner in the middle of last season, and will continue to prove a dangerous opponent. Zenit have plenty of talent – Wilmar Barrios, Sardar Azmoun, Artem Dzyuba, Malcom – so shouldn’t be underestimated.

In the tightest group of this season’s competition, Infogol thinks RB Leipzig (75% chance qual) and Lyon (58%) will progress, with Benfica (43%) to push them closer than Zenit (24%).

The Infogol model rates RB Leipzig’s chances a lot more than the bookies, giving them a 47% chance of winning the group (equates to 23/20), meaning the 7/4 (36%) on offer should be snapped up.

Group H – Valencia to qualify @ Evens

Chelsea’s start to the new season under Frank Lampard, minus Eden Hazard, would suggest that the 10/11 available for them to win this group looks a little short, and Infogol agrees, though we do still make them favourites to qualify (74%).

Ajax were mightily impressive in their semi-final run, but their first team has been gutted, with Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt, Kasper Dolberg and Lasse Schöne all departing, so there are question marks as to how good they will be this season.

Copa del Rey winners Valencia were impressive in the second half of last season and have some excellent attacking players, but they’ve already sacked manager Marcelino this season,, while Lille are rated as the group outsiders but are a dangerous attacking team that shouldn’t be slept on.

Chelsea are rated as the best team in the group, but there is no value in backing them to win it (IG 45%, 5/4 – Bookies 10/11, 52%), and given that Infogol rates Valencia as the second-best team in the group, the value bet is to back Valencia to qualify from the group despite the recent turmoil, with Infogol calculating that they have a 57% chance of doing so (3/4) compared to the bookies 11/10 (48%).

Recommended Bets

Group A – PSG to win the group @ 6/5

Group B – Bayern Munich to win the group @ 8/13

Group C – Atalanta to qualify @ 8/11

Group D – Juventus to win the group @ 8/11

Group E – Liverpool to win the group @ 1/2

Group F – Dortmund to qualify @ 4/6

Group G – RB Leipzig to win the group @ 7/4

Group H – Valencia to qualify @ 11/10

    *All odds correct at time of posting
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