Champions League 2014 Odds: 14 Clubs with the Best Chance of Winning
Bayern Munich won the Champions League less than a month ago, but that hasn't stopped the bookmakers producing odds on clubs who have the best chance of accomplishing greatness during the 2013-14 season.
Using betting odds deciphered by Skybet, it's time to consider the top 14 teams that are being touted as most likely for a successful run through the competition. Starting with the underdogs, do the bookies have their prices right? Are they promoting an unlikely winner or cutting the price of a team that should be higher?
Read on to find out.
Historically, Bayer Leverkusen is an experienced Champions League side, but the club is on the verge of losing its major stars.
Andre Schuerrle has already confirmed a move to Chelsea, while Daniel Carvajal has returned to Real Madrid and Stefan Kiessling is continuously linked with a move away. Sami Hyypia is working hard to find replacements and recently landed highly-rated South Korean striker Son Heung-Min from Hamburg.
Is this enough to challenge for European glory? Right now, the Germans are total outsiders for any major trophies and will be pleased to qualify from the group stage at all.
Odds on winning: 66/1
Similar to Leverkusen, Napoli's wealth of talent could be raided across the summer.
Edinson Cavani is pretty much guaranteed to leave Italy in favour of England or Spain and will be hugely difficult to replace. New boss Rafa Benitez needs to strengthen his options if the Serie A runners-up are to take the competition by storm, but with experienced players including Marek Hamsik, Christian Maggio and Alessandro Gamberini, the Spanish boss has an exciting platform to build on.
Rest assured, these odds will fluctuate when Cavani secures his move away.
Odds on winning: 66/1
Is that the best picture of Mario Balotelli you've ever seen?
The former Manchester City striker may have fired Milan towards an automatic Champions League place, but the bookmakers don't believe he can help secure the Rossoneri's eighth European success. Despite beating Barcelona in the Round of 16 first-leg during the 2012-13 season, this improving side was on the end of a 4-0 whooping in the Camp Nou return.
Such an experience should provide starlets such as Stephan El Shaarawy, Mattia De Sciglio and M'Baye Niang with the drive to continue improving on the biggest stage in club football. Although it's premature to expect Massimiliano Allegri's team to challenge for the trophy, this could be the start of a potentially lucrative cycle for the rebuilding club.
Odds on winning: 50/1
Atletico Madrid's betting odds appear rather generous in the current situation. With Radamel Falcao sold to Monaco, the Copa Del Rey winners are avidly hunting a new superstar to fire in the goals.
Rayo Vallecano's Leo Baptistao has been brought in on a five-year-deal, but the 20-year-old will need major support if he is to rack up a significant amount of goals. Atletico have successfully replaced star strikers before—think Fernando Torres and Sergio Aguero—but Diego Simeone will not be relishing the task of making up for the outgoing goal machine.
Odds on winning: 33/1
Was the 2012/13 final Dortmund's most likely opportunity to win the Champions League?
The bookmakers certainly believe Jurgen Klopp's men don't have what it takes to replicate the German side's amazing run to Wembley. Perhaps the sale of Mario Goetze to Bayern Munich has something to do with it. Despite Dortmund suggesting Robert Lewandowski won't be sold, maybe the ongoing transfer saga will hamper any further progress at the Westfalenstadion.
Either way, it seems Dortmund could be good value for money this year. For a team that so brilliantly beat Real Madrid, maybe Klopp's men have been written off too soon.
Odds on winning: 28/1
Despite very rarely showing the credentials to win a major trophy, let alone the Champions League, the bookmakers believe Arsenal are more likely to be crowned European Kings than Dortmund.
This is almost certainly in anticipation of Arsene Wenger making major moves in the transfer market and strengthening a side that finished 2012/13 in style. Arsenal made Bayern Munich look extremely ordinary at Allianz Arena, and with the potential capture of individuals including Gonzalo Higuain and Stevan Jovetic, could challenge for the title with an outside run to the final.
Odds on winning: 22/1
Paris Saint-Germain's riches certainly helped the team reach the 2012/13 quarterfinal stage.
Unfortunately for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and friends, an injured Lionel Messi still managed to help his team sneak through on away goals. This shouldn't deter from the French champions' decent group showing which saw them lose one game from six.
Money does make a difference, and with another summer of spending lined up, PSG should only get stronger.
Odds on winning: 18/1
Juventus appeared irresistible throughout the Champions League 2012/13 season until they collided with Bayern Munich.
Antonio Conte's squad possesses world-class defenders and an excellent midfield. The Italian side's obvious downfall through their most recent European campaign was a lack of strikers who can make something out of nothing.
While Mirko Vucinic, Fabio Quagliarella and Alessandro Matri can fire Juve to domestic success with a glut of goals, they come up short against the continent's best. This is something that has already been addressed with the transfer of Fernando Llorente from Athletic Bilbao, and could become even less of a problem if Gonzalo Higuain or Carlos Tevez also move to Turin.
Odds on winning: 14/1
Chelsea continue to win things. Despite securing the 2011/12 Champions League and failing to escape the group stage of last season's competition, Roman Abramovich's club bounced back with a dramatic Europa League victory.
While the club's "Champions of Europe" song should be taken in jest, a host of different managers have added to the Stamford Bridge history books. Returning boss Jose Mourinho knows what it takes to win the Champions League and will do everything in his power to secure his third European title with the London-based club.
Will the Special One be able to achieve his ultimate goal, or will Abramovich's iron fist dismantle his chances before too long?
Odds on winning: 10/1
Surely Manuel Pellegrini can improve on Manchester City's dismal Champions League showings of the past two years?
Roberto Mancini never looked comfortable when taking his team into Europe, but Pellegrini should have the gusto to make an immediate impact. His Malaga side were moments away from reaching the 2012/13 semifinal and worked effectively on a dwindling budget.
With extra cash and a handful of signings, Pellegrini has the potential to work wonders at the Etihad.
Odds on winning: 10/1
Manchester United have unfinished business with the Champions League.
Last year's elimination to Real Madrid was marred by major controversy as Nani's red card ignited endless debate as to what is acceptable on the football pitch. Former hero Cristiano Ronaldo condemned the club to defeat in front of the Old Trafford crowd, ensuring Sir Alex Ferguson would retire without his third Champions League triumph.
Can David Moyes challenge during his first season with the Red Devils? A slew of smart summer signings could ensure the bookies' price is a tempting one.
Odds on winning: 10/1
It will be interesting to see what happens to Real Madrid's odds if Cristiano Ronaldo leaves.
The managerless Spaniards are set for a busy summer and are likely to lure the likes of Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez and Isco to the Bernabeu. Gareth Bale's name continues to flutter around, although his signature would cost a world-record fee. For the amount of money Madrid have spent over the past decade, it's worrying how little European success they've achieved
Can Crissy and the boys finally grab the trophy in 2013/14?
Odds on winning: 11/2
Despite receiving a 7-0 aggregate thumping from Bayern Munich in the 2012-13 semifinals, Barcelona are still viewed as equal favourites for next year's competition.
With Lionel Messi fully fit and the signing of Neymar confirmed, it seems the Camp Nou is likely to challenge for a fourth title in nine years. Tito Vilanova could even face former mentor Pep Guardiola along the way and potentially set up a fairytale final against his old boss.
Do Barcelona have what it takes to bounce back from major embarrassment? If the Catalans fail to win next year's competition, is it finally time to announce the end of an era?
Odds on winning: 4/1
Pep Guardiola has a frightening task to achieve at Allianz Arena: live up to expectations.
Jupp Heynckes left the club by winning an astonishing treble and blitzing through Europe's best as if they were amateur drunkards aimlessly knocking a ball around. With Goetze's signing confirmed and an entire summer to continue business, Munich are undoubtedly the club to beat.
Guardiola knows how to win the Champions League. Bayern know how to win the Champions League. Surely there's only one result, right?
Odds on winning: 4/1
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