The 2022 Champions League quarter-final gets underway Tuesday, and with it, a chance for futures bettors to officially stake their claims.
The path to the final is known for every team; the group stages are done and the waiting period is over, the most exciting and high-level form of soccer is here and rearing to roar. Manchester City is the favorite to win it all, but their manager’s history of underachieving in finals could hold them back once again.
With everything being laid out on the table, it is time to pick which team is going to win the Champions League— here are the best bets.
Champions League Quarterfinal Matchups
Benfica vs Liverpool
There is not much to talk about for Benfica— the Portuguese representatives would totally shock the world if they manage to successfully navigate the bracket and become the first Primeira Liga side to win the final since Jose Mourinho’s Porto in 2004.
Their opponent in Liverpool is arguably the most dangerous attacking side in the world and also has the best center-back in the world, Virgin Van Dijk. The Reds can afford to play mediocre for extended periods and bounce back with wonder goals from either Mo Salah or Sadio Mane, which is why they are one of the best bets to win this matchup and the entire competition.
Villareal vs Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich does not have the defensive substance that their league record would suggest, but it is unlikely that Villareal has the mettle to disturb them. They play in a slow Spanish league and have just about maximized the performances for their level of talent, which is inferior to nearly every other team in the competition.
Bayern has overwhelming attacking power that should submit the Spanish challengers and easily mark a way into the next round. They will not cakewalk through the competition like they did a couple of years ago, but it would be astonishing to see a loss for them here.
Manchester City vs Atletico Madrid
Talk about dichotomy, Man City will bring the most intricate and free-flowing attack in the world to a battle against a team that prides itself in brute force, defensive resilience, and battling in the trenches. Man City will be favored because of its advantage in talent and familiarity with competing in multiple competitions, although it would not be unforeseeable for them to be eliminated.
Atletico will need to score on the road and at least produce a draw, if not a win, to stay alive for the second leg. They will likely look to hit their English rivals on the counterattack to score a goal that will be hard to come by; on the other end, expect lots of fouls and bodies behind the ball.
Chelsea vs Real Madrid
Chelsea bettors will be biting their fingernails after they were dismantled by low-level league side Brentford 4-1 over the weekend, but they still have a slight advantage against the Spanish champions. Chelsea is a team with tremendous balance and an airtight defense, which caters to competitions more than sustained domestic challenges. They would then have to beat one of Atleti or Man City after, however, which reduces the chances of them coming out of this side of the bracket.
Real Madrid was almost eliminated in the previous stage before Karim Benzema came up with a hat-trick in the second half of a second leg against Paris Saint-Germain. They will rely heavily upon him to carry the offensive burden against the Blues, who eliminated them in last year’s semi-final.
So, who gets in?
Only one team from the pool of Man City, Atletico, Chelsea, and Madrid can make it into the Champions League Final, where they will likely face Bayern or Liverpool; for that reason, one of the two teams in the second group theoretically has the best chances of winning.
It is likely that the final ends up being between two English clubs for the second year running, with Liverpool meeting one of Manchester City or Chelsea. Again, because of the bracket, the Reds would be the safest futures bet, though they also have a tendency of showing up in finals.
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