Champions League: Best Bets after the semi-final draw

Sam Watt
By: Sam Watt
Champions League Draw
Champions League Semi-final draw

The Champions League draw for the quarter-finals grabbed the headlines with all eight remaining sides discovering their fate in the competition. However, this season UEFA also confirmed what path the remaining sides would face all their way to the final, with the draw for the last four also pre-determined.

So, who offers value as the tournament enters its latter stages and who may spring a surprise with no room for error as knockout club football reaches its peak?

Should you Back the Brits?

Four of the remaining eight sides in this season’s competition are from the Premier League, while at least one is guaranteed to be in the semi-final draw. Manchester City will take on Tottenham in the last eight, with the winners to face either Juventus or Ajax in the semi-finals.

City are the favourites to win the competition outright at odds of 5/2 while Tottenham are the outsides among the remaining British sides, at 25/1 to lift the trophy in June. Pep Guardiola’s side – who were eliminated at the same stage of the tournament last year by Liverpool – are huge favourites for this tie, at odds of 2/7 to qualify for the last four with Spurs at 4/1.

Liverpool are the fourth favourites to win what would be their sixth European Cup at 4/1, and should they defeat Porto in their quarter-final draw and Manchester United (20/1 to win the tournament outright), the two North-West rivals will meet in the last four.

You can back any English side to win the competition at 8/11.

Barca carrying the flag

The Round of 16 saw both Real Madrid – who have won four of the last five editions – and Atletico Madrid both eliminated from the competition. That leaves Barcelona, who are on course for a fourth La Liga title in five seasons, as the sole remaining Spanish side in the last eight.

Ernesto Valverde’s side progressed past Lyon 5-1 on aggregate but suffered an agonising loss at the quarter-final stage of last season’s competition. They are third favourites to land the Champions League this season at odds of 4/1, but they have not reached the semi-finals since 2015 – the last time they won the competition.

Can Cristiano Ronaldo lead Juventus to glory?

Ronaldo’s astonishing hat-trick against Atleti led the Bianconeri to the last eight with the Portuguese star declaring “this is why they have signed me.” And it’s true, Juve are on course for their eighth successive league title but have not won the Champions League this century.

Max Allegri’s side lost the 2015 and 2017 deciders but are second favourites for this tournament at odds of 7/2. Should they progress past Ajax in the quarter-finals, they will face Tottenham or Manchester City in the last four, in what they will view as a favourable draw.

Outside Tip?

Porto and Ajax are the two outside bets in the competition.

Ajax sensationally won 4-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu this month to eliminate Real Madrid – their first Champions League knockout tie since 2003. You can find odds of 50/1 for them to sensationally win the tournament but must face eliminate Juventus in the last eight.

It is Portuguese champions Porto who are the real outsiders at 100/1 for the tournament. Sergio Conceicao’s face Liverpool in the quarter-finals – who they lost to 5-0 on aggregate last season – and would potentially face either Barcelona or Manchester United in the last four.

Sam Watt
By: Sam Watt

Football manager is my life, but have taken up writing to help put all that knowledge playing the game to good use. Follow me for all things European football and gain unexpected knowledge about players and teams you didn't know before. When not playing football manager, I take a break to play with my Sunday League team.

All Predictions by Sam Watt

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