Before becoming a Sports Journalist for Free Super Tips, Aaron spent three years studying Sports Journalism at the University of Sunderland while taking in the Black Cats' 'glory years' under Martin O'Neill. Now back in Northern Ireland he turns niche stats into predictions for FST, while he's one of the few people on this island who is equally comfortable at Windsor Park and the Aviva.
Thursday brought the last-ever Champions League group stage draw before the competition format changes next year. To mark the occasion, we saw one of the best group draws in decades, with Newcastle landing Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan and PSG.
With the group stage draw set, I’ve run through the betting to pick out three outright winner tips, including an 11/2 shot and a couple of longer-priced options. In addition, we’re marking the final group stage with a massive 82/1 group winners accumulator!
All of these selections have been priced up with either bet365 or Sky Bet and new customers can take advantage of their welcome offers through the links below.
Champions League 2023/24 outright predictions
City and Bayern lead the way
With third-favourites Real Madrid priced out at 8/1, there’s a real gap between Manchester City, Bayern Munich and the rest. City laid down a marker last term with their historic treble success, with Bayern arguably posing the biggest threat to them along the way.
Bayern fell apart at the Etihad after failing to make the most of their opportunities. Manager Thomas Tuchel – who led Chelsea to victory against City in the 2021 Champions League final – pushed hard for additions this summer. While Bayern’s deadline moves fell through, they did manage to solve two of their biggest issues.
They added Kim Min-jae in defence and in Harry Kane they have a striker who won’t just finish chances but will help create them too. The Bavarians still need a defensive midfielder and they’re expected to return for Joao Palhinha in January.
They have enough quality to make do for now and outside of City it’s hard to see anyone in Europe matching them. While the Citizens remain a team to fear, the loss of big-game players like Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez could hurt City in crunch games later in the season.
It’s also incredibly hard to retain the Champions League and City look to have lost some of the depth that helped them dominate last term. Given that, I’m taking Tuchel to lead Bayern to glory in Europe this time around. Tuchel made both the 2020 and 2021 finals, before losing out to the eventual winners in the last two seasons. He’s a coach with a good knack for this competition and with such a strong squad at his disposal Bayern should go far.
Champions League 2023/24 outsiders
The main cluster of sides behind Bayern in the betting are hard to back right now. The likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Arsenal are in the top five in the betting but each have their issues. Real look weak outside of their midfield and they were brushed aside with ease by City last season. Barcelona went out at the group stage last year, while Arsenal have a young squad with little experience in this competition.
Of course, the nature of the Champions League means that we rarely get the two outstanding sides in the continent meeting in the final. As Inter Milan proved last term, there’s an opportunity for a side to sneak into the final. That offers a different way to approach the outright betting, as there are some well-priced sides outside the top five in the betting who are worth considering each-way for a run to the final.
PSG each-way @ 16/1
First up, PSG stand out as an overpriced option at 16/1. That price likely comes from their dramatic summer and the departures of Neymar and Lionel Messi. However, I wouldn’t hesitate to take their squad over the likes of Real, Barca or Arsenal’s.
Kylian Mbappe remains and he’s made it clear he’s staying in Paris for the season. Last term the Frenchman was the focal point in the attack, a role he protested against. However, this summer PSG have signed two out-and-out proven forwards in Goncalo Ramos and Randal Kolo Muani. They are true finishers who are good enough to make a difference in Europe, allowing Mbappe to drop into his preferred, deeper role.
PSG have spent heavily to improve the defence in front of Gigi Donnarumma. Milan Skriniar – who made the final with Inter last season – is a great addition. Manuel Ugarte is an elite holding midfielder who looks like a bargain in light of Chelsea’s summer business. In Lucas Hernandez, they’ve signed a defender who has won the World Cup and Champions League.
the early signs are promising under Luis Enrique and they’ve quickly adapted to his possession-based style in Ligue 1. While there’s a lot for them to fear in Group F, this is a side with enormous quality being coached by a former Champions League winner. At 16/1, they’re worth backing each-way for a run to the final.
AC Milan each-way @ 50/1
We return to Group F for the second each-way selection. While Newcastle and Borussia Dortmund offer stern opposition at the first hurdle, there’s a lot to like about this Milan side. For starters, they were semi-finalists last season. Since then they’ve lost Sandro Tonali, but some brilliant summer business has arguably made them stronger without the Italian.
Last season’s young core remains, having gained another year of experience. They looked more at home in Europe as the campaign progressed. They’ve strengthened across the pitch this summer, adding Christian Pulisic, Tijjani Reijnders, Samuel Chukwueze and Luka Jovic.
Milan have so much more threat going forward and they’ve maintained the defence which helped them to the last four. After a bright start in Serie A I’m confident they can navigate through Group F, at which point their odds will likely tumble. The Rossoneri look like standout value at this point, so look to them as a great 50/1 shot who could make another deep run in Europe.
Champions League group stage accumulator
- Bayern to win Group A
- Arsenal to win Group B
- Real Madrid to win Group C
- Inter Milan to win Group D
- Lazio to win Group E
- PSG to win Group F
- Man City to win Group G
- Barcelona to win Group H
Having made the case for Bayern to win it all, they should prove too strong for Manchester United in Group A. Arsenal have been handed a straightforward draw in Group B, while Real Madrid can overcome a Napoli side who have been weakened this summer.
Inter Milan have been handed a kind draw against Benfica and Real Sociedad, so the finalists should take group D. Lazio are my outside pick, they were shock runners-up in Serie A last season and they can top a pool that contains an Atletico Madrid side who finished bottom of their group last year.
I’ve already made the case for PSG to back them in Group F, while Man City‘s toughest opponents in Group G lost 7-0 at the Etihad earlier this year. Finally, Barcelona‘s good summer business should bring improved displays in Europe, so take them to pip Porto in Group H.
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