Champions League Dark Horses

The Champions League is scheduled to resume with matches in February, but there have already been lots of people backing the usual suspects for a place on the podium. We will try to do the same here, but instead of looking at all the regular favourites we are going to look at the teams which might surprise everyone and do a Porto come May.

These so called dark horses usually come with bigger odds than all the favourites and punters can use this to their advantage to increase their potential winnings. Sports betting sites such as also look favourably at these teams lurking from the shadows as they get to keep all of the wagers placed on Barcelona and Real Madrid and happily pay out anyone backing a lesser light.


Chelsea are certainly not a small team in Europe, but they have been drawn against the mighty Barcelona and at the moment no one gives them a chance of progressing beyond the Round of 32.

Barcelona are currently playing superbly and are brushing everyone aside both in La Liga and in the Champions League. Chelsea on the other hand, have handed their English Premier League title to Manchester City as early as December and are now analyzing what went wrong with their title defense.

NSC Olimpiyskyi stadium in Kyiv is waiting for the best two teams in the Champions League. Image from

So what makes us back the Blues to go past Barcelona and reach the latter stages of the competition? The answer is simple – Antonio Conte. The Italian is known as a master tactician and has shown in the past that he can tailor a quality suit by using ordinary materials. He did that with Chelsea last year and with the Italian national team at the Euros.


Big things were expected from Mauricio Pochettino this season both in the EPL and in the domestic cups. He had a settled squad which was primed to reach its peak this season and everyone had high hopes for Spurs.

However, halfway into the season, and it is clear that the only viable chance for Tottenham to get their hands on a trophy is the Champions League.

This might be easier said than done especially as Tottenham play against Juventus in the first knock out round of the competition. The Italians are as difficult as an opponent can be and Pochettino’s men will have to do their best to progress to the next round.

What’s promising though is that Spurs are finally starting to show the form that propelled them to an English heavy weight in the last couple of seasons and we feel that this year they might get the scalp of a European giant or two.


Every team was hoping that they were going to get the Turkish champions in the Round of 32. The “lucky” team that got them was Bayern and now everyone is expecting the Germans to brush aside the Istanbul side with ease. However, this will be easier said than done and the something tells us that the Germans will be in for a shock elimination.

Champions league prediction for Ajax vs Paris SG

Here you will find betting prediction for the match from the Champions League between the teams of Ajax and Paris SG. Ajax and PSG haven’t played together in the last twenty years.

Betting tips for Monaco versus Bayer Leverkusen

Without any doubts, the match between Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen will be one of the most interesting matches in the first round of the Champions League. Both teams have ambitions to rank in the top two spots in the group, which give the right to continue forward in the tournament, but in the company of Benfica and Zenit every point will be crucial for that cause. It is a tough job to find more equal in the strength of the teams group this year than the one in which Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen will play their first match.

The French didn’t start very well in their domestic championship. Before the season they were in the role of one of the favorites, but had few inconclusive results in the beginning, which sent them in the bottom half of the table. The fact that they had been left by their biggest star Radamel Falcao wasn’t in help for the cause of Monaco to win the group.

Leverkusen in turn, won its first two matches in the Bundesliga and play convincingly. Something that definitely tilt the chances in their favor. Moreover, in order to qualify for a place in the Champions League, the “Aspirins” needed to participate in the preliminary rounds of the league, which means that they have started their preparation for the season earlier than their opponents. This is a fact which should not be underestimated at all.

The bookmakers give a slight advantage for the guests in the Champions League match between Monaco and Leverkusen, which is the correct estimation in my opinion.

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This is why I think we have a real triple match in which both teams will be respected enough by their opponent and will look to keep a clean sheet most of the time. For this reason, I will try on the goalscoring markets and my bet well be for less than 2.5 goals scored in the match by the two opponents. bet365 gives 1.75 for this bet, but the highest rate is offered by Unibet – 1.9.

Betting prediction for Juventus vs Malmo FF

Juventus will start their campaign in the Champions League this year in the most convenient way – against the outsider in the group Malmö from Sweden. The Swedes hardly imagine that they will qualify for the knock out stage with teams in the group like their host in the first match, Olympiakos and Atletico Madrid, but they will definitely try to at least fight for the third place in the final standings.

Juventus begins the campaign as the favorite for the first place and an easier draw in the Champions League’s knockout stage, but the Italians should certainly be careful in their matches against Olympiakos and Atletico. Both teams are able to some take points of Juventus, especially in the matches at home.

Basically, everything in the match between Juventus and Malmo except a convincing victory for the Italians would be taken as a surprise. These three points should be the easiest to Juve and frankly, I have no doubt they will be able to take them.

Whether the victory will be as convincing as most of the people, including the bookies expect is another question. Last year, Juventus started again with a relatively easy game, a visit to the Danish Copenhagen and almost everybody expected that the victory and the three points will go to Italy, but the reality turned out to be different. The match ends with a draw 1:1 and at the end Juventus finished third in the group after the teams of the future champion Real Madrid and Galatasaray from Turkey.

Here is a video of the match between Copenhagen and Juve last year:

This year hardly Juve would miss the victory in the first match, but I don’t believe they could win it so convincingly. This is why I think we could find good bets in the Asian handicap markets. A bet against Juventus with 2.5 goals margin looks a pretty solid bet. Thus, even if Juve win by two goals, the bet would be a winner.

What do the bookies for such bet? bet365 gives odds of 1.7, BetVictor 1.75 and the coefficients of Pinnacle Sports are the best of all 1.79. I will choose them for my Malmö +2.5 bet.

Champions League – Olympiakos vs Arsenal

The match between Olympiakos and Arsenal on Tuesday night probably will not change the final standings in the second group of Champions League. The Greek team can’t lose the third place nor to go through the second and the chances of Arsenal to finish as the leader in the group are connected with a victory in Greece and a loss or draw for Schalke as a guest of the French Montpelier.

Surely, where Arsenal will finish in the group is the smallest problem for Arsene Wenger. His players played so badly in the last few games that the group of fans who want his retirement had been growth for sure. The loss from Swansea at Emirates was another shock that the team’s fans had to accept.

Well, if Arsene Wenger was an inexperienced manager, surely he would throw all his strength to regain the respect of fans and players with a win of this match in the Champions League. However, Wenger is an old dog and knows that the season is long and now is concentrating on adding new players in the squad like Lampard, Fellaini and Huntelaar. He’s definitely looking ahead and I think he believes that the Premier League match against West Brom on Saturday is far more important then the clash versus Olympiakos in the Champions League.

That’s why I think the team which didn’t play particularly well in the recent matches would be even more weakened in order to prepare for the incoming match of the Premier League. As I see it from this angle, putting the hosts Olympiakos as outsiders in the match seems to me a bit strange. The Greeks would have done everything possible to beat their rivals for prestige, even though the game can’t change the final standings. Apart from this, they are in pretty good shape. For the last three months they have made just three losses. Indeed, all three are in the Champions League, two of Schalke 04 and one of the Arsenal players but Olympiakos showed very solid game against Schalke in the last game and quite miserably lost it with 1-0.

All this gives me all I need to make a betting prediction for the hosts in the match between Olympiakos and Arsenal. My bet will be on Asian Handicap with margin for Olympiakos 0;0.5 and odds of 1.75, given by Bet365.

Have a look on the video below which shows the match between Arsenal and Olympiakos ended with a win for the Gunners with 3:1

Villarreal – Manchester United X

It is always good to place some money for a draw which will satisfied both teams. This is the case tonight between Villarreal and Manchester United. A draw will assure both teams of progressing to the knock out stage.

I prefer to ignore what Manuel Pellegrini have said about an eventual draw: “The worst possible way to qualify for the next round would be to go out and try to play for a draw,” he said for and i think both teams will secure a draw with minimum pressure thinking about weekends matches.

I remember a similar match between Leverkusen and Monaco 10 years ago. The match ended 2:2 and there was no football at all. Bartez was sitting for the last 20 minutes holding the bar.

I bet for a draw for 2.6 coefficient.

Milan – Real Madrid 2

I will give here a really strange explanation why I believe this match is away win, but I am almost sure it will end at this way. Here I go. I believe both big teams have decided to split the wins to avoid any danger come to the other two teams in the group.

I’ve seen something like this few years ago when Bayern was involved, but I can’t recall the other team. Then Bayern was huge favorite at home, but they lost. The second match also finished with away win.

However, the odds for Real are pretty good with 2.6 for win and I will try it.

Tirana SK vs Stabaek

This Champions League will be extremely important for teams like Stab?k. They are one of the Norwegian teams with serious financial troubles and the Champions League would be a great way to fix that. Or, at least in Stab?k think that way.

They are travelling to Albania to meet Tirana SK and eventually to take all three points.

Daniel Nannskog, the biggest Stab?k star in the past years will start this game on the bench for Daniel Berglund. He scored 6 goals in the last two Stab?k’s matches. There are no other serious names that will miss the match for Stab?k.

The Albanians have difficulties in the Champions league with 4 losses in a row and I can’t see a way here for them to go through the Norwegians. However, is it possible for Stab?k to win in Tirana tonight? Domzale and Modricha did it in the last two Champions League tournaments, then why not.

So, a win for Stab?k here for 2.05.

Macedonia vs BATE

12 players have left BATE Borisov since their best season in history and really good performance in Champions League last year. Some of them were key players, some of them weren’t, but the squad still has its core. Can these players do the same thing again and win tonight in Skopje?

This is the question that has been torturing me for the last few hours. I even asked my girlfriend about it and she predicted 1:0 for BATE.

I don’t know why, but I do not believe in them right now. I even think Macedonia will continue forward, but we will see. However, take a look at the odds. Macedonia +0.5 is 2.05. This coefficient is good enough to bet on it, without any back thoughts if it’s real or not. They will host the match. They have an opponent with changed squad and finally they have an opponent who knows there is a second match.

Why should we not bet for 0.5 Macedonia?