Champions League Picks & Predictions | How to Bet Group B

Champions League Picks & Predictions | How to Bet Group B article feature image

James Gill/Getty. Pictured: Bukayo Saka.

Group B in the Champions League is a fascinating one as Arsenal return to the highest level of European competition and hungry sides such as Sevilla and PSV look to reach the next round.

Read on for my Champions League picks & predictions in my Group B preview.

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I really don’t see a scenario where Arsenal lose this Champions League group. Mikel Arteta has turned Arsenal into a high level version of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Arsenal are able to control matches with sustained possession, inverted full backs and overloads in the last line of defense.

With William Saliba healthy and in the lineup last season, Arsenal were a +1.10 xGD team playing in the most difficult league in the world. Per, Arsenal are now the second-most valuable squad in the world.


Sevilla were awful in La Liga last season. They finished with a -7.9 xG differential and were in the bottom three in a lot of defensive metrics, including xG allowed – at 1.43 per 90 minutes – in the lowest-scoring league among Europe’s top five leagues.

The run that they went on through the Europa League knockout stage last year will truly go down as one of the greatest luck-box runs of all time. Sevilla played PSV in the knockout playoff round, losing on xG 1.5 to 2.8. They then played Fenerbahce in the round of 16. They lost on xG 0.8 to 2.8. A battle with Manchester United in the quarterfinals was actually even on xG at 2.6 to 2.6, but United were going through a lot of injuries at the time. Then they played Juventus in the semifinals, losing on xG 3.0 to 3.8. In the final they beat Roma on penalties, but lost the xG battle 0.8 to 1.9.

Sevilla have been awful to begin the season in La Liga, losing three straight matches to Valencia, Alaves and Girona, and the underlying stats are quite bad. Unless they get really lucky, they are not winning this group.

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PSV are a very interesting team and the one that could give Arsenal the most trouble. They played them in the Europa League group stage and actually beat them 2-0 at home, but in the away fixture Arsenal destroyed them even though it was a 1-0 scoreline. xG was 2.7 to 0.3 and Arsenal outshot them 25 to 4. That was a PSV team that had Cody Gakpo, Xavi Simons and Ibrahim Sangare.

Those three guys accounted for 38% of their goals last season. To replace them they brought in Noa Lang from Brugge and Hirving Lozano from Napoli.

So, this version of PSV is not as frightening as the one last season.


Lens lost two of their best players this summer with Lois Openda leaving for RB Leipzig and Seko Fofana leaving for the Saudi League. Some of the additions they made I like, especially Elye Wahi, who finished at a great rate last year for Montpellier. Asking him to replace Openda’s production is a bit much, so I think you’ll see Lens’ offensive numbers go down a bit.

Then there is the fact that Lens ran ridiculously well defensively last season. They allowed 28 goals off of 43.3 xG because teams just couldn’t finish against them. Brice Samba was only a +5.4 post shot xG +/-, so the other 10 goals they over-performed is just chalked up to poor finishing.

With the gap between Arsenal and the rest of this group being so wide, I think -180 is a tad too cheap for Arsenal to come out on top.

Pick: Arsenal to win the group (-180 via FanDuel)

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