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Champions League Betting

by Ben, last updated 2005-11-20 22:56:10

An interesting round in the Champions League this week. Some teams have already qualified for the next round so maybe the motivation isn't there to push for a win. My bets for this round are

Arsenal to beat FC Thun at 2.2 at totesport.
Manchester United/ Chelsea double at 2.27 at bet365.

Reasoning below.

Early prices for Champions League (20th Nov 2005)
Tuesday November 22nd, 2005
19:45 Ajax (1.5) Draw (4.3) Sparta Prague (7.5)
19:45 Barcelona (1.53) Draw (4) Werder Bremen (8)
19:45 Bayern Munich (1.2) Draw (7) Rapid Vienna (15)
19:45 FC Thun (3.75) Draw (3.75) Arsenal (2.2)
19:45 Juventus (1.2) Draw (6.3) Club Brugge (13)
19:45 Lille (2.2) Draw (3.25) Benfica (3.75)
19:45 Man Utd (1.67) Draw (3.75) Villarreal (6.5)
19:45 Panathinaikos (2.35) Draw (3.4) Udinese (3.2)
Wednesday November 23rd, 2005
19:45 Anderlecht (9) Draw (4.5) Chelsea (1.44)
19:45 FC Porto (1.57) Draw (3.6) Rangers (6.5)
19:45 Fenerbahce (4) Draw (3.25) AC Milan (1.91)
19:45 Inter Milan (1.22) Draw (5.8) Artmedia Bratislava (13)
19:45 Liverpool (1.83) Draw (3.4) Real Betis (5)
19:45 Real Madrid (1.83) Draw (3.4) Lyon (4.5)
19:45 Rosenborg (2.4) Draw (3.25) Olympiakos (3.15)
19:45 Schalke (2) Draw (3.25) PSV (4)

I did have a look at some of the other strong favourites. Bayern, Inter Milan and Juventus have qualified. Weak opponents but the odds are so low they are not worth bothing with. I can see one of them not winning thier game. Ajax haven't been performing consistently enough. Ditto for Porto. Barcelona have already qualified and Werder Bremen will be no pushovers for them.

Lyon look good for an outsider bet. Real Madrid were dreadful against Barcelona. The only thing that puts me off this one is that the need to win for Lyon is not there. Real won't win by more than 3 goals so they'll end up top of the group even if they don't try.

*Update. I saw 3.00 for Lyon draw no bet at vcbet and taken that too. I can't see Real winning this on current form. Lyon are unbeaten in all competitions this season. Worst case is my money back for the draw.

 Man Utd v Villarreal, Anderlecht v Chelsea

 Chelsea/ Man U Double.

Chelsea's away form in the Champions League is really bad. I can't off the top of my head remember the last match they won away. Against Betis, they were terrible. So why I am backing them this time? They need to win this for qualification to the knock out stages to be in their own hands. The 'need to win' arguement is used far too often. Teams, usually need to win because they are rubbish so can't perform when they 'need to win'. I don't think Chelsea has this problem though for obvious reasons. Anderlecht are 0-0-4 so far, scoring exactly zero goals in the process. They have nothing to play for. A place in the UEFA Cup is probably beyond them now. This is my strongest pick of the round.


Man U also need to win against Villarreal also. A loss could see them out of the Champions League. Last time out they lost to Lille but that was when they were going though a bad patch. The win against Chelsea and then Charlton would have done their confidence no end of good. Villarreals away form is pretty good in Europe - unbeaten in nine matches in Europe away from home. Most of these I expect were in the UEFA Cup though. Villarreal have key players out for this match, Diego Forlan, Juan Roman Riquelme and their captain Quique Alvarez. If United can beat Chelsea at Old Trafford then they should be able to see off a weaken Villarreal.

I wouldn't touch such low odds seperately but when put in to a double, the odds are quite reasonable. You can get 2.27 at bet365.


 FC Thun vs Arsenal

 FC Thun (3.75) Draw (3.75) Arsenal (2.2)

Arsenal have already qualified so maybe this is one to skip for the cautious bettor. Arsenal have been fantastic in the Champions League so far, having won all 4 of their games. They've been lucky with the way the groups been drawn I suppose but still, winning is winning. Their Premiership form is on the rise. They managed to end Wigan's winning streak at the weekend. With Henry back they look like the Arsenal of 2 years ago.

Thun is a bit of an unknown to me. I backed them a few weeks ago to beat Sparta Prague. This was really a bet against Sparta than a bet for Thun though. (They won the match 1-0 with a late goal). Looking at the Swiss League, Thun don't look like they are doing very well. They have only won 1 of their last 6 and lost the other 5. Looking at the news on uefa.com I read their captain is out for this fixture. Surely this is a major blow for them.

Its away from home and Arsneal have already qualified but the price is just too tempting to pass up. I'll be watching out for the Arsenal team news. If Wenger decides to rest key players then maybe it won't be the golden bet that it is now but at this moment in time totesport's offer of 2.2 is great value.




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