Champions League 2018/19 Outright Betting Tips and Predictions - Group Stage Predictions

Champions League 2018/19 Outright Betting Tips and Predictions - Group Stage Predictions
Alex Wrigley
Alex Wrigley
September 11, 2018
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Content Editor at Free Super Tips, Alex was born in the shadow of Old Trafford and is an avid Man Utd fan. After graduating from university he combined his love of football, writing and betting to join FST and now closely follows goings-on in all of the top European leagues.

The culmination of the Champions League takes place on 1st June 2019 at the stunning Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid, and while the grand prize might seem out of reach for most of the 32 clubs involved the dream is still well and truly alive for every single one of them.

Even when that dream begins to fade there is still a myriad of opportunity awaiting the teams, with club changing prize money on offer and scouts from the top clubs in the world closely watching every game to find that breakout star. That makes the group stages of the Champions League some of the most entertaining around, and this year promises to be even more exciting thanks to a very neutral-friendly group draw.

Group B is looking one of the most dangerous groups as Barcelona, Tottenham, Inter Milan, and PSV all face off to contest for the top two spots, while PSG, Liverpool, and Napoli in Group C make for a group that promises plenty of goalmouth action. Former European giants Ajax look to outperform Bayern Munich and Benfica in Group E, while defending champions Real Madrid compete with beaten semi-finalists AS Roma in Group G. Finally, a Juventus side bearing the talents of Cristiano Ronaldo faces off against their 1990s Champions League rivals Manchester United, with their new Portuguese star looking forward to a trip back to the club that turned him into a star.

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Group A – Atletico Madrid: Diego Simeone’s team may have suffered the ignominy of a group stage exit last season, but we’re expecting them to bounce back with a force. They instantly regained their European form and went on to win the Europa League, and this is a team that has reached the final of the Champions League twice in the last four years. They have the added incentive of the final being on home soil this season as well, and they have conceded just eight goals in their last 25 home games in the Champions League.

Group B – Barcelona: Champions League Group B has been hailed as the Group of Death, but Barcelona are understandably our favourites for the top spot. The Catalan giants have an European pedigree bordering on the absurd, and the last time that they didn’t win their Champions League group was all the way back in 2006. They have a great chance of breaking Real Madrid’s stranglehold on the competition this season, so we can expect them to be well up for it in the groups.

Group C – PSG: Group C is a bit more difficult to call, as it pits the big-spending PSG against last season’s beaten Champions League finalists Liverpool. The French squad are our favourites for the top spot in this goalfest of a group. Both Liverpool and PSG boast terrifying attacking tridents, but PSG’s trio of Neymar, Edinson Cavani, and the wonderfully gifted Kylian Mbappe edge it over Salah, Mane, and Firmino. PSG’s trio have already netted a huge ten goals in just four Ligue 1 games this season, and we fancy them to bang in a few more in the group stages.

Group D – Porto: This group didn’t exactly get pulses racing in the footballing world, but one thing we can expect is competitive action. Porto, Schalke, Galatasaray, and Lokomotiv Moscow have a chance of progressing past the group stages, but our money is on the established European pedigree of Porto. Schalke and Galatasaray have been out of Champions League action for the past few seasons, and while the quality of the expected top three is very close in terms of ability, we think the continental experience brought to the table by Porto will be enough to edge them the top spot.

Group E – Bayern Munich: After a couple of difficult calls, we’re back into the realms of fairly straightforward predictions here. Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich will feel confident in their ability to beat Ajax, Benfica, and AEK Athens to the top spot, while the former two of that trio are expected to battle it out for the other qualification position. The German heavyweights are head and shoulders above their competition here, and wrapping up the group top spot before the final round of fixtures does seem a likelihood.

Group F – Manchester City: Another fairly simple prediction given the recent improvements of Manchester City. They may still be without a Champions League crown, but there is no denying that they are up there with the rest of the big hitters in terms of expectations. Lyon have had a poor start to the season and Hoffenheim are entering their first ever Champions League group stage. Shakhtar Donetsk are dangerous on their day and have a lot of Champions League experience, but nobody can argue that they are anywhere near the quality of Manchester City.

Group G – Real Madrid: They may have lost their long-time superstar Cristiano Ronaldo this summer, but Real Madrid are coming into this tournament having lifted the Champions League trophy for each of the last three seasons. Their squad is still littered with world class players, and while Roma could pose a threat in passing the likes of CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen are expected to simply make up the numbers. Even without Ronaldo, Real Madrid should easily top the group ahead of a Roma side who have lost Radja Nainggolan and Alisson over the summer.

Group H – Juventus: Ronaldo may have departed the Bernabeu, but he certainly hasn’t left his favourite competition behind. Juventus, bolstered by their new superstar, will vie for the top spot with Ronaldo’s former club Manchester United. Given the recent decline of The Red Devils, and Juventus’ incredibly talented looking squad and recent European successes, a top spot holding for The Old Lady. They might face some competition from Manchester United and Valencia, but there is the distinct possibility that the Serie A giants could win all of their matches if they turn up on the night.

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Group A – Borussia Dortmund: While Atletico Madrid are the frontrunners for the top spot, we’re expecting Borussia Dortmund to be a close second in this one. They do have the talents of AS Monaco to contend with, but the Ligue 1 side have lost a huge portion of their squad since their incredible season a couple of years ago. With Thomas Lemar, Fabinho, and Terence Kongolo joining the list of departures this summer and Dortmund boasting the improving talents of Christian Pulisic and Jadon Sancho, we expect the German club to pip Monaco to second place.

Group B – Tottenham Hotspur: Group B may have been hailed as the Group of Death, but we think it should be fairly straightforward for Tottenham to progress. Mauricio Pocchettino’s men shockingly topped their group ahead of Real Madrid last season and the likes of Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, and Dele Alli are showing no signs of slowing down in their performances. Inter Milan have seen huge squad changes over the summer and still aren’t quite there in terms of squad cohesion.

Group C – Liverpool: Beaten finalists Liverpool may have stern competition in the form of PSG and Napoli, but we fully expect them to get past any roadblocks and make it to the knockout stages this season. Napoli were undoubtedly impressive last season, but they haven’t looked quite so impressive this season without the guidance of Maurizio Sarri. Additionally, they lost key midfielder Jorginho as he followed Sarri to Chelsea this season, so Liverpool should have enough to see off their threat.

Group D – Schalke: Group D is likely to be an exceptionally tight one, and all four teams will feel like they have a genuine chance of reaching the knockout stages. Porto are our favourites, but Schalke look a very attractive price to make it through to the last 16. Both Schalke and Galatasaray are returning to the group stages for the first time since 2014/15, but Schalke are coming into it with a far stronger squad than their Turkish counterparts. Lokomotiv Moscow might put up a challenge, but we think it’s unlikely that they’ll make too many waves.

Group E – Ajax: Bayern Munich fans will already think they have the top spot wrapped up, but the battle for second place is a very intriguing one. Ajax and Benfica are former European heavyweights, but that past glory is way back in the history books now. Both sides have a similar level of talent within their squad, but we fancy the youth of Ajax to claim the prize at the end of the year. The famed youth academy of de Godenzonen have been revitalised over the past year by a wave of incredibly promising talent such as Matthijs de Ligt, Donny van de Beek, and Frenkie de Jong, and they will be battling with a Benfica side who lost all six of their Group Stage clashes last season.

Group G – Roma: The odds may be short, but they’re short for a reason. Real Madrid are the overwhelming favourites for the top spot, but Roma should have no issues making it through to the last 16. Even without Nainggolan and Alisson they boast a talented squad, and they’re facing off against a CSKA Moscow side who have failed to make it past the group stages for each of the last five seasons and a Viktoria Plzen outfit who are only playing in the group stages for the third time in their history.

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