The UEFA Champions League is the most prestigious and most anticipated annual soccer event in Europe and the whole world for that matter. Organized by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the tournament is contested by the top 32 teams from Europe’s top-division leagues.
UEFA Champions League Overview
Originally the European Champions Clubs’ Cup (also known as the European Cup) which was established in 1955, the tournament was rebranded to the UEFA Champions League in 1992. The change in name also ushered in changes in the tournament’s format, most notably the addition of a group stage and the permitting of multiple entrants from certain countries. Prior to these changes, the competition was initially a straight knockout tournament exclusive to the champion club of each country.
Here’s an update on the Champion League’s format for the 2018-2021 seasons:
- Selection: Which 32 teams/clubs will make it to the Group Stage
- The current UEFA Champion’s League title holder (1 team)
- The current UEFA Europa League title holder (1 team)
- Top 4 clubs from the top 4 ranked national associations (16 teams)
- Next 8 spots will be shared by the next 6 ranked national associations (8 teams)
- Next 6 spots are to be decided by a series of knockout matches and playoffs contested by teams from the 11-55th ranked associations
- National associations are ranked using the UEFA Coefficient.
The road to the Finals: Competition System
The tournament proper kicks off with the Group Stage of 32 teams. The teams are seeded then divided into eight groups of four. Teams from the same country cannot be drawn into the same group. Each team will face the other 3 teams in their respective groups twice; at their home stadium and at their opponent’s.
A win earns the team 3 points, 1 point for a draw, and no points for a loss. The top 2 teams in the group with the most points earned from all their group matches progress to the Round of 16.
The round of 16, quarter-finals and semi-finals are then played under the knockout system. Each team plays two legs: home and away. The team that scores the greater aggregate of goals in the 2 matches played progress to the next round.
The final is played as a single match in a neutral, predetermined venue. If the score is tied by the end of normal time, two 15-minute periods of extra time are added for each team to try and score higher than the other. If the score is still tied after extra time, penalty kicks will decide the champion of the tournament.
Most Successful Teams
The UEFA Champions League / European Cup has been won by a total of 22 clubs. Most notable is Spain’s (La Liga) Real Madrid; having won the tournament 13 times (among them, the league’s inaugural tournament) and is the only club to have won 5 straight championships (1956-1960) during the European Cup era and 3 straight championships (2016-2018) during the Champions League era. France’s (Serie A) A.C. Milan is a far second with 7 tournament wins, while Germany’s (Bundesliga) Bayern Munich, England’s (English Premier League) Liverpool, and Spain’s (La Liga) FC Barcelona all have 5 wins.
Features of a good UEFA Champions League Betting Site:
It would be almost impossible for an online sportsbook to not have betting options for the Champions League. With the Champions League final being the most watched annual sporting event worldwide, it would make no sense to not offer betting and sports enthusiasts alike an avenue for enjoyable wagering on the tournament’s matches. Although we won’t be going into much detail about our UEFA Champions League betting site picks, here are a few things to look out for when choosing betting sites:
With the best of the best battling it out on the pitch, we’re sure you’ll be wanting to bet on a whole lot more than just a straightforward which team will win/lose. Surely you’ll be having your own predictions on who the impact players will be, who’ll be making crucial passes and defensive blocks, who’ll be scoring the winning goal, and the list goes on. The best betting site would have betting options for these points of interest. Sample odds could include:
- Total goals scored in the game
- Goals per team
- Which player scored the opening/closing goal
- How many corner kicks were taken during the game
- How many bookings were given
- Halftime scores
As the match is played, you might have that sudden urge to bet on something you saw in the game. A half-time substitution, an injury, referee decisions, the weather… anything that looks like an advantage – if you can bet on it while the game is going on, then your sports betting site has you covered. This feature will also come in handy if one day you aren’t able to place your bet before the game starts for one reason or another.
Season-long promotions are a mark of a good sportsbook site. You’ll want a site that has offers for you not only at the start of the Champions League season but though out the entire tournament. Everybody loves a good offer. Even better if there are more of these offers.
Also, take advantage of deposit bonuses or free bets. If a site is willing to match 100% of your deposit, all the better.
A betting site that isn’t mobile friendly/ready is simply unacceptable these days. You will want the option to place your bets even when you aren’t in front of a desktop/laptop computer. Having the convenience of accessing the sports betting site quite literally at the palm of your hand, wherever you are and whenever you want is a big plus – especially for live betting! So long as the sports betting site has a friendly user interface that you can easily understand and navigate, either through an app or through a browser, you should be good to go.
Basic UEFA Champions League Strategy
Here’s a betting strategy from our in-house betting experts. Think of it as a Betting 101 – nothing too complex but should cover a few rules, so to speak, when betting on Champions League games.
Don’t bet on each game.
You’re more likely to lose bets by spreading your funds thin and betting on all the matches. The trick is to choose a few matches that you’re confident on and bet on those. Where do you get the confidence to bet on a match? Simple. STUDY the teams. Focus on one or a couple of teams and study them. Know their strengths and weaknesses, what made them champions of their own national leagues, what makes them tick, etc. An educated bet has better chances of winning.
Learn more about a team’s national league.
There are team standings within a league and there are league standings in association soccer. Leagues are also ranked based on multiple factors and of course, the highest ranked leagues would have the strongest teams. Aside from just studying how a team fared in its local league, find out how the league ranks globally too. The champion of a lower ranked league may not be as strong as the 4th ranked team from a top 4 league. Also, you will notice different play styles from different leagues some leagues may be known for more fluid, attacking soccer while other leagues exhibit a more physical, defensive type of play.
Review your team’s schedule.
Among the challenges of stronger teams is that they end up qualifying for all tournaments they can possibly participate in. That can lead to a very tight competitive schedule which could lead to player fatigue and injury – especially if their bench isn’t very deep. So check on a team’s tournament schedules and see how those affect their Champions League schedules.
Check the club’s form and injury list
Is a team benefiting from a bit of momentum? Pay attention to winning or losing streaks and try to figure out WHY. Is a player at the peak of his career? Is a key player injured? Do they have a new coach?
Also, check a club’s home and away forms. Are they solid at home? Are they more aggressive as visitors? Or are they consistent either way?
Take advantage of Live Betting
Maximize a win or minimize a loss: use live betting to your advantage. There will be instances when your
teams aren’t playing as you expected them to. They might be playing a better game than you anticipated or they might be having a bad day. Either way, live betting should help you make adjustments to your betting game.
Best UEFA Champions League Betting Sites
When making a review on a sports betting site, we try to put ourselves in the shoes of the sports gambler. We consider aspects of a sport that the gamblers are likely to pay attention to or want to make a bet on.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled this list of Recommended UEFA Champions League betting sites. These companies have been highly rated by our team and have a great selection of Champions League bets for you to choose from. Of course, these sites were also rated based on customer service, payment methods, and withdrawal options available. We encourage you to look at each one, see if any differences matter to you personally, and then look for the best odds on the games you want to bet on!
When the best of the best are competing for the most coveted cup in European Soccer, it’s only natural that you’ll want the best online sportsbooks to handle your bets. Hopefully, our review helps, not just with site selection but with your betting decisions too. Good luck with the bets!