Bet365 have pushed Arsenal out to best price 25/1 from 20/1 after they were handed yet another tough draw in the Champions League Last 16. The Gunners, who have been eliminated in the first knockout stage in each of the last six seasons, were optimistic that they would be able to avoid one of Europe’s leading clubs after securing top spot in their group, but were instead paired with Bayern Munich, the 4/1 second favourites to lift the trophy this season.
Arsenal, who were beaten by Barcelona last season and by Monaco a year earlier, lost to Bayern in both 2013 & 2014 and were also thrashed 5-1 by the Bavarians in the group stage last season. It is a tough draw for Carlo Ancelotti’s side too of course, and they’ve been eased from best price 7/2 on Monday morning.
Manchester City may be struggling in the Premier League, but bookmakers retain the belief that last season’s semi-finalists are England’s best hope of winning the Champions League. They are available at best odds of 12/1 with Coral after the draw was as kind as it could be, with Pep Guardiola’s men handed a two-legged tie against Monaco, who beat Spurs 2-1 home and away in the group stage. City avoided Juve, Atletico Madrid, and Borussia Dortmund.
Leicester, who won their group, demonstrated that they retain the quality that made them Premier League champions in their 4-2 demolition of City at the weekend, and they too have seen their Champions League odds cut after drawing Sevilla. They are in to 50/1 from 66s, although they may well find the team who have won the Europa League in each of the last three seasons are a cut above their group opposition.
Barcelona, who are fighting to keep pace with Real Madrid in La Liga, remain the Champions League favourites, but their odds have drifted to 7/2 with Paddy Power after they were drawn to face Paris St Germain. However, PSG are currently in third place in Ligue 1 and this tie shouldn’t hold too many fears for Lionel Messi & co, who scored 15 goals in their three home group games without conceding.
Going the other way in the betting are Real Madrid, winners in two of the last three seasons, who should be able to breeze past Napoli – the team currently 4th in Serie A. Real are 11/2 with Coral and assuming they get through, they should be able to get Gareth Bale fit and firing again after his ankle injury in time for the quarter’s.
Borussia Dortmund are down in sixth place in the Bundesliga after winning just three of their last nine league games, but they are strongly fancied to beat Benfica and are a best price of 14/1 with Coral in the outright betting. Similarly, Atletico Madrid are firm favourites to see off Bayer Leverkusen and most bookies have cut them to 8/1, although Paddy Power have held them at 9s. Italian champions Juve remain a best price of 14/1 after being drawn to face Porto.
Ladbrokes go 5/6 that the competition will be won by a Spanish side for the fourth successive year, 11/4 that there will be a German winner and 15/2 an English victor.