Champions League Value Bets: Can Anyone Beat Barca?

In last year’s Champions League final, Barcelona gave Manchester United a lesson in how to play football. As good as United were, Barca were just untouchable.

As the 2011/2012 builds momentum, there is a lot of talk about how United have learned from that game at Wembley. But can they do it this time or are the Catalans just too strong?

Likely winner & value bets

To help us determine this, the guys at Dectech have calculated the % chance each team has of winning the Champions League this year. This will adjust as the season progresses, but right now, here are their predictions for the main teams and UK interests. We’ve also added the best bookie odds and whether these offer value.

  • Barcelona: 30.6% chance of winning. Best bookie odds @ 3.00. -8.20% value.
  • Real Madrid: 24.7% chance of winning. Best bookie odds @ 6.00. +48.20% value.
  • Manchester United: 12.50% chance of winning. Best bookie odds @ 8.00. -0.80% value.
  • Chelsea: 8.1% chance of winning. Best bookie odds @ 12.50. 1.25% value.
  • Manchester City: 2.1% chance of winning. Best bookie odds @ 11.00 -76.90% value.
  • Arsenal: 5.1% chance of winning. Best bookie odds @ 30.00. 53% value.

Barca are the most likely winners with just under a one in three chance of winning the Champions League this year. However it probably doesn’t make a good bet because the bookies are already one step ahead with their prices. Manchester United have a 12.50% chance of winning, but again the bookies appear to have this one wrapped up with the best available odds offering no value.

The value appears to be with Real Madrid at 6.00 with Ladbrokes. Dectech give them a 24.70% chance, but the best bookie odds implies just a 17% chance.

Value bets for the group stages:

Using the Fink Tank/ Dectech ratings we can also hunt out some value bets the upcoming group stage matches. We tested the Fink Tank ratings on the EPL last season using a value betting approach and found some very positive results. Click here for a summary of the results and an outline of how we identified a value bet from the ratings.

Essentially if the ratings imply a better chance that the bookie odds are implying, you take the bet. If the ratings give a team a 40% chance of winning and the bookies are implying just a 30% chance, then you have a value bet. It may not be the most likely winner, but if you buy enough things at under market value, eventually the profits will emerge through the short term noise.

First up, here are the English team’s chances tonight according to the Dectech ratings:
  • Chelsea v Bayer Leverkusen: Chelsea 57%. No value in the average available odds of 1.41.
  • Dortmund v Arsenal: Arsenal 22.9% chance. No value in the average odds of 3.40
  • Benfica vs Manchester United: Man Utd 53.3% chance. Some value in the average odds of 1.89.
  • Manchester City vs Napoli: Manchester City 69% chance. No value in the average odds of 1.36.

Here are all the games:

NB bets like AC Milan & Draw mean the ratings find value in both the draw and the away side so both are backed using a bookmaker’s Double Chance.

Bet Ideas:

You can follow the value bets blindly or use them to inform your own betting. For example, Napoli are big value against Man City, but if the match were played 1000 times, they’d still only win 118 times according to the ratings. Therefore you might want to pick and choose or use Asian Handicaps to level the playing field.

With this in mind, here are some of the bets that caught our eye:

  • APOEL – Zenit Petersburg: Apoel Home Win @ 3.63 Pinnacle Sports.
  • Barcelona – AC Milan: AC Milan +1.5 handicap @ 2.15 12bet.
  • Chelsea – Bayer Leverkusen: Leverkusen Double Chance @ 3.00 Coral.
  • FC Porto – Shakhtar: Shakhtar (+0.5) handicap @ 2.40 SBObet
  • Olympiakos Piraeus – Marseille: Olympiakos Home Win @ 2.82 Pinnacle Sports.
  • Ajax – Lyon: Lyon Away Win @ 3.11.
  • Inter – Trabzonspor: Trabsonspor (+1.00) @ 2.47 Pinnacle.
  • Lille – CSKA Moscow. Moscow Away Win @ 4.15 Pinnacle.
  • Villarreal – Bayern Munich. Bayern Munich Away win @ 2.30 Pinnacle.

For more tests of ratings, tipsters and systems like this, join the Smart Betting Club.