We’re excited to have the Champions League back and have a good idea of where each team ranks and their rating within each of the domestic leagues. But it can be a little more difficult to translate those ratings into European competitions.
The market can give too much weight to historical performances. This means they can be slow to react to summer changes in the early rounds of the tournament and slow to update prices accordingly.
The more difficult to price then the more opportunity there is for punters to find value.
So hopefully there’s some value lurking here in Wednesday night’s games.
After a run of 17 league titles in 19 years, Olympiakos are in a “barren” spell after failing to triumph in the league in the last two seasons.
Nonetheless, they are in the Champions League group stages on merit.
They came through three qualifying rounds undefeated (W5, D1) and came out of a difficult Europa League group last season that included Real Betis and AC Milan.
Despite this decent, recent European record, they will find it difficult to step up to Tottenham’s level.
To give some context to the gulf in class, Olympiakos main striker El Arabi has spent the last three seasons playing in Qatar. Tottenham seem to have put their early-season issues behind them with a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace at the weekend.
Chrstian Eriksen’s and Jan Vertognhen’s futures are sorted (at least for now) and the Son-shine is back with two goals at the weekend. We’re confident that Spurs can perform away in Europe.
They lost to Inter and drew with PSV in group stages last year, but goals in the last five minutes of both those games meant they didn’t get the results their performances deserved. They did win away to Ajax and Dortmund in the knock-out stages too, and therefore last season’s finalist should be winning this game.
Selection: Spurs to win @ 10/11
We know how the Spanish and Italian sides are perceived in their respective leagues, but Juventus look short enough to us in the Group markets.
They have dominated the Italian domestic scene winning the last eight Scudettos (including four doubles) but that counts for nothing in this group.
They have changed from a very successful manager in Massimiliano Allegri to Maurizio Sarri, (who we saw as a success at Chelsea) but introducing new methods at a new club is no guarantee of continued success.
Juve have a fantastic squad and did some shrewd summer business in getting Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot’s on free transfers, but neither player significantly improves the starting XI.
Ronaldo is also a year older and Higuain (who they shipped out to get Ronaldo in) is also a year older and not the starting striker they wanted coming into this season.
Defensive talisman Chiellini will miss all Group games through injury. While Matthijs de Ligt is a great replacement, this is his first season in a new country.
That, coupled with a €85 million price tag, is a lot to carry on young shoulders.
Atletico had a major squad overhaul in the summer, but have started the season reasonably well with three wins from four games. Diego Godin and Antoine Griezmann are gone, but replacements Mario Hermoso and future superstar Joao Felix have started well.
Factor in that Atletico beat Juventus 2-0 at home in the last 16 tie last year and it means the 7/5 about Atletico to win at home Wednesday night is a little big. So is the 13/8 for them to win the group.
Selection: Atletico to beat Juve at 7/5.
We’ll include this to give us a nice treble. Shaktar are far too dominant for the Ukrainian League. They’ve won eight of their last 10 domestics titles and with seven wins on the bounce this time – there could be a ninth to follow.
However, in that time they have only made the Champions League quarter-finals once, back in 2011. Man City went off a roughly similar price in this fixture last season and won 3-0.
They also beat the Ukrainians convincingly at home (6-0). The summer has not seen any significant changes in the Shaktar team so why would we expect a different result this time around?
Man City will be looking to bounce back from the defeat to Norwich last weekend quickly. Pep will not accept anything else.
*Prices correct at time of publishing and the treble pays approx 9/2 if all three sides win.