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Champions League Betting Odds & Projections: Our Best Bets for Final Round of Group Stage

Champions League Betting Odds & Projections: Our Best Bets for Final Round of Group Stage article feature image
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Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images. Pictured: Son Heung-Min.

It’s the final round of the Champions League group stage, with a handful of teams still playing for spots in the Round of 16 or in the knockout stage.

BJ Cunningham and Anthony Dabbundo are here to take you through this latest set of contests with their best bets on the slate.

The pair, part of the Wondergoal podcast crew, will be taking you through the Champions League fixtures, delivering their favorite picks along the way. They’ll also provide their individual model projections for the games.

If you’d like to see picks from Cunningham and Dabbundo during the season for all UCL action and all five European leagues, follow them in the Action Network App.

Important Note:  A lot of odds are inflated due to one team having to play for something and the other playing in a meaningless match. It’s vitally important to know what each team is playing for and all of the tiebreakers, as some teams may only need a draw to win a group or move onto the Round of 16.

The projections below do not take into account the “motivation” level for each team.

Cunningham’s Model Projections

Leverkusen vs. Club Brugge 

Leverkusen Odds -175
Club Brugge Odds +400
Draw +333
Over/Under 3.5 (+120 / -140)
Day | Time Tuesday | 12:45 p.m. ET
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Odds via Bet365. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Cunningham: Leverkusen absolutely have to go for this match if they want to get into the Europa League knockout stage, and Brugge, after losing to Porto 4-0 last week, now also must go for the win, as they are only one point ahead of Porto in the group, which is going to create an incredibly open match with a ton of chances at both ends.

Brugge won the first match between these two 1-0. and only 1.5 expected goals were created, but it was the first match of the Champions League group stage with both teams playing a tad conservative. Leverkusen had two goals VAR’d off, and the cumulative xThreat between the two sides was 2.58.

Xabi Alonso has been in charge at Leverkusen for six matches. and they’ve continued to play chaotic matches. Those six matches have averaged 3.22 xG. and Leverkusen have created over two expected goals in three of those six. Not to mention, their main man upfront, Patrik Schick, will be back in the starting lineup after being out the past few weeks due to an injury.

A lot of the negative defensive regression came in one big wave for Brugge against Porto, but they are still due for some more negative regression defensively, as they’ve now allowed four goals off of 9.4 expected in the group stage.

I have 3.55 goals projected for this match, so I like the value on Over 3.5 goals at +125, which is currently available at Caesars.

Pick: Over 3.5 goals (+125)

Marseille vs. Tottenham

Marseille Odds +180
Tottenham Odds +145
Draw +250
Over/Under 2.5 (-110 / -110)
Day | Time Tuesday | 3 p.m. ET
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Odds via Bet365. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Cunningham: This line is way too short for Tottenham.

I understand they haven’t been playing very well over the past few weeks, but in their last two matches, they went behind against Sporting Lisbon, then ended up completely dominating the match and had a goal VAR’d off at the end that really could have completely changed the narrative. They won the expected goals battle 1.7 to 0.7 in that match. Then this weekend against Bournemouth, they went behind 2-0 but ended up getting three goals, created over 2.0 expected and held Bournemouth to 0.5 xG. 

As for Marseille, if you go through their Champions League matches, really there are only two we can actually take data from, and it was the two matches against Frankfurt. Both matches against Sporting, the Portuguese side got a red card early, and in the match against Tottenham, nothing was really happening until Marseille got a red card in the second half.

Marseille lost both those matches against Frankfurt and deserved to lose them. They only created 1.4 xG and had 32 touches in the penalty area combined over the two legs. Plus, Marseille are in a little bit of turmoil at the moment. 

Tensions high at Marseille over poor run of form ahead of clash against Tottenham Hotspur – players said to be questioning Igor Tudor's methods once again. (L'Éq)https://t.co/V0mUMwdXn5

— Get French Football News (@GFFN) October 31, 2022

Domestically, Tottenham and Marseille have the exact same xGD at +6.8, yet there is about a full goal difference projection wise based on UEFA coefficients between England and France. So, +145 in a must win spot for Tottenham is far too cheap against this Marseille team. 

I have Tottenham projected at -143, so I like the value on them at +145.

Pick: Tottenham +145 (Bet365)

Bayern Munich vs. Inter

Bayern Munich Odds -223
Inter Odds +500
Draw +350
Over/Under 3.5 (+100 / -120)
Day | Time Tuesday | 3 p.m. ET
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Odds via Bet365. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Dabbundo: Bayern have already won the group, Inter Milan have clinched second place and there’s nothing but pride to play for on Tuesday when the two sides play.

These matches can be difficult to handicap — especially with the World Cup looming so close for a lot of the top players at both clubs. Will managers want to risk them when domestic league matches are a bigger priority?

Both teams have injuries to some key attacking players, a more important league game this weekend and no incentive to run up the score or take huge risks.

I’d have bet the under at 3.5 if there were real stakes on this match because both defenses are trending upward in the last three or four weeks. Now that there could be very different teams on the pitch in Germany, I like the under even more.

My projections without controlling for injuries would make this total at 3.2. You can shave a few ticks off of that with Romelu Lukaku, Leroy Sane and Thomas Muller out with potential midfield rotation, too. The market tends to overreact to injuries and rotation, and that’s why I’m grabbing under 3.5 at -125 or better now.

Pick: Under 3.5 goals (-120) (BetRivers)

AC Milan vs. RB Salzburg

AC Milan Odds -200
RB Salzburg Odds +500
Draw +333
Over/Under 2.5 (-150 / +120)
Day | Time Wednesday | 3 p.m. ET
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Odds via Bet365. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Dabbundo: These two sides opened group play with a relatively even 1-1 draw. With it all to play for now on the final day of group play, the visitors are a bit undervalued in the market. Salzburg have gone toe-to-toe with Chelsea twice and have been a plucky underdog because of their pressing and work rate off the ball.

The one concerning hole for Milan is that they haven’t dealt with pressure well in the league or in Europe. Chelsea largely played them off the pitch and forced a bunch of high turnovers with its press. The Blues are better than Salzburg, but Milan are just 13th in pressure success rate allowed in Italy this year.

Salzburg’s press should disrupt Milan and cause problems for a team not used to seeing a lot of pressing in Italy.

Despite Milan having more of the possession in that game between the two sides, Salzburg had more penalty area shots, kept a higher line and forced more high turnovers. They also had a lower passes per defensive action rating (PPDA). 

If you compare Salzburg’s numbers in the Austrian Bundesliga too, there’s no reason to think that the side is any worse than it was last year when it advanced out of the group stage.

Milan are the better team based on the aggregates, but the matchup suggests Salzburg can disrupt Milan’s passing and force Milan to try to win by going over the top and in behind. Back Salzburg to keep this competitive and take the goal on the spread.

Pick: RB Salzburg +1 (-113) (BetRivers)

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