2020/21 Champions League preview: Best outright bets
Our writers assess the best picks for the 2020/21 Champions League winner, top goalscorer and more ahead of Tuesday evening's big kick-off.
Winner: Bayern Munich
Given the short turnaround time between last season’s Champions League finishing and 2020/21 getting under way – less than two months – it’s no surprise to see current champions Bayern Munich at the top of the betting.
But it’s a place the German giants, who remain Europe’s best team, warrant.
They won their final 21 matches of the season in all competitions last term in a golden period that brought them the Bundesliga title, DFB-Pokal and the Champions League. This term, meanwhile, they’ve already lifted the UEFA Super Cup and German Super Cup.
The quality of their squad is unquestionable. Since last term, Leroy Sane has linked up with a supercharged attack that includes 2019/20 Golden Boot winner Robert Lewandowski.
Despite Atletico Madrid proving a tricky draw in their group, they should have few problems progressing to the latter stages with their other opposition coming in the shape of Lokomotiv Moscow and RB Salzburg.
And given what we saw last season – they won all 11 of their Champions League matches – it will take a brave man to bet against them.
Top goalscorer: Robert Lewandowski
Lewandowski is the reigning Champions League top goalscorer, having scored 15 goals – five more than any other player – in the competition last season.
The Bayern striker is the favourite to top the scoring charts again this season, and his price is justified given that he has already netted 10 goals in eight games for club and country this term.
Bayern are almost certain to go deep into the knockout stages once again, so Lewandowski should have ample opportunity to rack up the goals. Two games against Lokomotiv Moscow in the group stage look particularly tasty.
At a longer price, Erling Haaland looks a decent bet at having scored 10 goals in eight Champions League games last season.
Borussia Dortmund have been drawn in a winnable group alongside Zenit, Club Brugge and Lazio, and the Norwegian has already bagged 11 in 11 for club and country this term.
#BetYourWay: Atalanta to win Group D, Juventus to win group G, RB Leipzig to qualify from Group H
For numerous reasons, none of the favourites look as rock solid as they might have done coming into this competition, so backing a few of the underdogs to prevail is worthwhile.
OK, Juventus aren’t technically outsiders, but Andrea Pirlo’s side are neck-and-neck with Barcelona to win Group G, despite looking in far better nick than the Catalonians.
It would not be a surprise if Barca struggle through the group, while Juventus should walk it.
There is definitely value in backing Atalanta to take advantage of the uncertainty on Merseyside.
Last season’s quarter-finalists were a little unfortunate to lose in the last eight last term, and have started this campaign in typically entertaining fashion.
Their stunning attack can see them topple a Virgil Van Dijk-less Liverpool at the top of Group D.
In Group H, it is a surprise to see RB Leipzig priced as such big outsiders to qualify.
All recent evidence suggests that, at best, there is little to split Julian Nagelsmann’s side and Manchester United, and it would come as no shock if they pinch second place behind PSG.
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