How do the Champions League odds reflect the UEFA rankings?

The Champions League returns this week and we assess where the value lies.

How do the Champions League odds reflect the UEFA rankings?

The Champions League is back this week with 16 games to enjoy across Tuesday and Wednesday. It’s time to have a punt on who might win this year’s competition, so we’ve assessed each club’s UEFA ranking coefficient and compared it to their best-odds to win the trophy. So which teams represent good value?

Last year’s winners, Real Madrid, are the top-ranked side in Europe according to UEFA and at 11/2 they are the third-favourites according to the bookmakers. Their relatively long price could be owed to the fact that no team has won back-to-back Champions League titles. Zinedine Zidane won the competition in his first season as a Real Madrid player in 2002 and matched that feat as a manager last term.

Referring solely to the odds and rankings, Benfica represent the best value of all the 32 teams. They are supposedly the ninth best team in Europe, but at 150/1 the bookies believe they are only the 16th most likely side to lift the trophy. Interestingly, some bookies have them as short as 66/1.

By contrast, Man City represent the worst value. City are the 13th ranked side in Europe whilst the bookies make them the fifth-favourites, at best-price 12/1. They did manage to reach the semi-final last year but the price is likely to be more of a reflection that Pep Guardiola is now at the helm. Guardiola has won two European titles as a manager and will be looking to win his third and City’s first.

Premier League champions, Leicester, look poor value on the surface at best-price 66/1. The Champions League debutants are the 98th best team in Europe according to UEFA, ranked higher than only FC Rostov (113th), but the bookies make them the 11th favourites to go all the way. The price is likely to be a reflection of the straightforward nature of Leicester’s group as well as the bookies covering themselves in case Leicester ‘do a Leicester’.

Elsewhere, Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham are 40/1 to win the Champions League in his first European campaign, with bitter rivals Arsenal best-price 33/1. The two clubs are ranked 21st and 11th respectively.