Champions League Final Betting: How do favourites perform in Europe’s biggest match?

Bradley
Gibbs

Sports betting writer Bradley Gibbs takes a look back at past Champions League finals to see whether the pre-match favourites obliged or not. 

On May 19th 2012, Bayern Munich took on Chelsea in the Champions League final in Munich. The German side had been afforded the luxury of playing their biggest match of the season in front of a home crowd and so were strong favourites to win in 90 minutes.

With the familiar surroundings very much in their favour, Bayern were priced as short as 4/6 to get the job done in 90 minutes and when Thomas Muller gave the hosts the lead with just seven minutes left on the clock it looked as though they’d secured the money for favourite-backers and bagged themselves club football’s most prestigious prize. However, the visitors weren’t done and managed to level just five minutes later, before eventually winning on penalties. Punters had done their money and Chelsea were crowned as the champions of Europe for the first time in their history.

mario-gomez-bayern-chelsea

Mario Gomez reflects on Bayern’s 2012 Champions League final loss to Chelsea.

It’s not just Bayern who have failed to oblige when favourites ahead of the Champions League final; In the last ten renewals, only five favourites have got the job done inside normal time. 50% is neither a majority nor a minority which goes to show that this game is generally very hard to call. The fact that five of the last ten favourites have failed to win inside 90 minutes suggests that they’re often there for the taking. In 2008, Man United could only manage a draw after normal time when favourites against Chelsea while, as mentioned above, Munich could only draw against Chelsea in 2012 when odds-on. Manchester United were also on the losing side when slight favourites against Barcelona back in 2009. Since then, Madrid has twice met Madrid in the form of Real v Atletico in 2014 and 2016, both of which saw Real come into the match as favourites and both of which ended as a draw after 90 minutes.

Since it’s fairly hard for a team to fluke their way to the last stage of Champions League, we usually see two very strong teams go head-to-head in the final. This usually means is that there is rarely a situation where one team is the overwhelming favourite in the betting. Just three of the last ten finals saw one team priced at odds-on before kick-off, and only two of those managed to oblige. Barcelona were as short as 10/11 in places ahead of the 2011 final and in beating Manchester United by three goals to one at Wembley were able to justify such favouritism with relative ease. In 2015, the Catalan side came out on top when considered odds-on favourites against Juventus, this time at 8/13, once again winning by three goals to one.

barcelona-juventus-champions-league-final

Barcelona celebrate Champions League glory in 2015.

What’s interesting ahead of this match is that it will be the third time in four years that Real Madrid come into the Champions League final as favourites. They’ve failed to win (inside 90 minutes) both of the previous two. In both 2014 and 2016, when priced at 23/20 and 7/5, Real could only manage a draw against city rivals Atletico. Even though they did eventually lift the trophy on both of those occasions, favourite-backers were let down when it came to the standard win/draw/win market.

Last ten Champions League finals (including odds)

2016 – Real Madrid (7/5) 1 – 1* Atletico Madrid (23/10) *Draw @ 41/20

2015 – Juventus (3/1) 1 – 3 Barcelona (8/13)

2014 – Real Madrid (23/20) 1 – 1* Atletico Madrid (10/3) *Draw @ 23/10

2013 – Dortmund (7/2) 1 – 2 Bayern Munich (4/5)

2012 – Bayern Munich (4/6) 1 – 1* Chelsea (7/2) *Draw @ 17/5

2011 – Barcelona (10/11) 3 – 1 Manchester United (14/5) 

2010 – Bayern Munich (21/10) 0 – 2 Internazionale (7/5)

2009 – Barcelona (7/4) 2 – 0 Manchester United (8/5)

2008 – Manchester United (8/5) 1 – 1* Chelsea (2/1) *Draw @ 2/1

2007 – AC Milan (13/10) 2 – 1 Liverpool (12/5) 

As we can clearly see, from a betting point of view, favourites have struggled to dominate the Champions League final with just five of the last ten coming out on top in normal time. As far as this year’s fixture is concerned, Real Madrid are the favourites at around the 13/8 mark, but, with Juventus no bigger than 2/1, the Spanish outfit are by no means strong favourites. If you do fancy a bet on the ‘outsider’ then you should not be put off by the market as recent history indicates that bigger priced teams have performed just as well as the favs.

Click here to read our betting tips for the Champions League final.

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