UEFA Champions League Matchday 1 Betting: Will the favourites survive challenging opening matches?

Frank Monkhouse

The group stage of this season’s UEFA Champions League begins today, and we have a number of exciting matchups to look forward to among this week’s 16 fixtures.

In today’s headlining matches, competition favourites Manchester City open their Champions League campaign in Spain against Sevilla, while PSG, second favourites behind City, welcome Juventus to the Parc des Princes.

Tomorrow, the standout fixtures are both in Italy, with Liverpool and Bayern Munich looking to shake off their draws at the weekend as they visit Napoli and Inter, respectively.

Here, we offer up our predictions and betting tips for each of the 16 matches.

Tuesday, September 6

UEFA Champions League Group E

Dinamo Zagreb vs. Chelsea

Most followers of the Champions League expect Zagreb to struggle, not just in this match but throughout the group, and they are a popular pick to finish fourth.

Chelsea knows a trip to Zagreb isn’t ideal in the middle of a hectic period, but the Blues have the class to get through this and re-focus on climbing the EPL table. Back an away win.

Dinamo Zagreb vs. Chelsea Prediction: Chelsea to win

Dinamo Zagreb vs. Chelsea Betting Tip: Chelsea win @ -250

Salzburg vs. AC Milan

This is group stage football, and despite AC Milan being one of the pre-tournament favourites to go all the way and challenge for the trophy, they will find themselves with a tough night’s work on Tuesday.

This is a game that the visitors should be winning, and we’ll back them to do just that. Add AC Milan to your midweek multiples with confidence.

Salzburg vs. AC Milan Prediction: AC Milan to win

Salzburg vs. AC Milan Betting Tip: AC Milan win @ -101

UEFA Champions League Group B

Celtic vs. Real Madrid

The Scottish Premiership champions host the current Spanish La Liga and defending Champions League winners in this match from Glasgow.

The natives will be in full voice to create an electric atmosphere, but their gung-ho style should see them take a sore one here. Back Real Madrid for the win.

Celtic vs. Real Madrid Prediction: Real Madrid to win

Celtic vs. Real Madrid Betting Tip: Real Madrid win @ -145

RB Leipzig vs. Shakhtar Donetsk

The Germans playing at their impressive stadium with the fans out in force will make them almost impossible to stop on the opening night, and when The Bulls score the first goal, they should go on to get a few on the night.

You can back the home win as part of your multiples, but if you are looking for decent value for a single bet, you can back Leipzig to win the first half.

RB Leipzig vs. Shakhtar Donetsk Prediction: RB Leipzig to win

RB Leipzig vs. Shakhtar Donetsk Betting Tip: RB Leipzig to lead at halftime @ -160

UEFA Champions League Group C

Borussia Dortmund vs. Copenhagen

It would be a huge surprise to see either of these sides battling in the latter stages of this tournament, but that won’t stop them serving up a fascinating 90 minutes of action in Germany.

Dortmund was poor in Europe last season, but they are good enough to win this match, and we expect to see them used in plenty of accumulators.

Borussia Dortmund vs. FC Copenhagen Prediction: Dortmund to win

Borussia Dortmund vs. FC Copenhagen Betting Tip: Dortmund to lead at halftime @ -150

Sevilla vs. Manchester City

There’s nothing more than three points at stake here, but this will likely become a bit of a goal fest.

Sevilla will be going all out to get a result while their opponents won’t be at full strength but should have enough about them to score a few goals and win the match. Back Man City to win and both teams to score.

Sevilla vs. Man City Prediction: Man City to win

Sevilla vs. Man City Betting Tip: Man City to win and both teams to score @ +180

UEFA Champions League Group D

Benfica vs. Maccabi Haifa

We don’t see Benfica picking up too many points on the road, but at home, they must take full advantage if they are to compete for a spot in the knockout rounds.

They will get off the mark with a convincing home win before the bigger names come calling. Back Benfica for victory.

Benfica vs. Maccabi Haifa Prediction: Benfica to win

Benfica vs. Maccabi Haifa Betting Tip: Benfica -1.5 @ -125

PSG vs. Juventus

We are spoiled here as this match would be a glamour tie in any round of the Champions League, including the final.

Two teams with different footballing philosophies will meet at the Parc des Princes.

PSG can’t help but attack, while Juve prefers to keep it tight on the road and hit on the counter. We expect both teams to score in this match.

PSG vs. Juventus Prediction: PSG to win

PSG vs. Juventus Betting Tip: Both teams to score @ -108 (FanDuel)

Wednesday, September 7

UEFA Champions League Group A

Ajax vs. Rangers

The Dutch champions host last season’s Europa League finalists in a Group A match from Amsterdam. Ajax is the favourites here, but they lost several top players in summer and aren’t as strong as they were this time last year.

Rangers made it through the qualifiers and to the group stages by comfortably beating PSV, runners-up in the Eredivisie. This will get feisty. Back the draw.

Ajax vs. Rangers Prediction: Draw

Ajax vs. Rangers Betting Tip: Draw @ +380

Napoli vs. Liverpool

The Italians hold the home-field advantage for this one, and they’ll need the help of everyone in the audience just to compete with the Reds from Anfield.

Liverpool hasn’t started this season nearly as well as they finished last while their opponents are in fine form. Back the draw here as well.

Napoli vs. Liverpool Prediction: Draw

Napoli vs. Liverpool Betting Tip: Draw @ +270

UEFA Champions League Group B

Atletico Madrid vs. FC Porto

A recent La Liga winner with bags of Champions League experience playing at their home stadium against a side many experts believe will exit this tournament at the earliest opportunity.

Madrid has the firepower to make it out of this group, starting with a home win.

Atletico Madrid vs. FC Porto Prediction: Atletico Madrid to win

Atletico Madrid vs. FC Porto Betting Tip: Atletico Madrid win @ -117

Club Brugge vs. Bayern Leverkusen

Bayer should finish higher in Group B after six games played than their hosts here, but that doesn’t mean they’ll get an easy ride.

Leverkusen was dumped out of both the Champions League and Europa League earlier than expected last season, so we’re expecting this to be a close match. Take both teams to score.

Club Brugge vs. Bayer Leverkusen Prediction: Draw

Club Brugge vs. Bayer Leverkusen Betting Tip: Both teams to score @ -190

UEFA Champions League Group C

Barcelona vs. Viktoria Plzen

This is as close to a stick-on as you’ll hope to find this midweek, but unfortunately, the bookies know that just as well as we do. This isn’t the Barcelona of three or four seasons ago with Lionel Messi running the show.

There’s a dark cloud hanging over the Camp Nou these days, but they should win this with a bit to spare. Back Barcelona to win by at least three goals.

Barcelona vs. Viktoria Plzen Prediction: Barcelona to win

Barcelona vs. Viktoria Plzen Betting Tip: Barcelona -2.5 @ -160

Inter Milan vs. Bayern Munich

There are many great groups this year, but in Group C, we have Barca mixing it with these two. It may be week one, but the winner of this match will be nailed-on to go and dominate the pool.

Inter Milan at home is a tough nut to crack, and we’re taking a narrow win for the Italians.

If you’re after lots of goals, this probably isn’t the match for you. But if you’re a soccer purist, get settled early. It won’t be a goal fest, but we do expect both teams to find the back of the net at the San Siro.

Inter Milan vs. Bayern Munich Prediction: Inter to win

Inter Milan vs. Bayern Munich Betting Tip: Both teams to score @ -195

UEFA Champions League Group D

Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Sporting Lisbon

Eintracht Frankfurt endured a nightmare season in the Bundesliga and wouldn’t have got near the Champions League was it not for their remarkable success in the Europa League, beating Rangers on penalties in the final.

Lisbon is the more experienced Champions League side, which will show in their performance. Back both teams to score.

Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Sporting Lisbon Prediction: Sporting Lisbon to win

Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Sporting Lisbon Betting Tip: Both teams to score @ -160

Tottenham vs. Marseille

This is one of the highlights of Wednesday evening as England faces France at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

This remarkable stadium was built for the big occasion, and this match is enormous for the fans. Look for Harry Kane to steal the show in a Tottenham win.

Tottenham vs. Marseille Prediction: Tottenham to win

Tottenham vs. Marseille Betting Tip: Harry Kane to score anytime @ -115 (FanDuel)

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Frank Monkhouse
Frank Monkhouse