Champions League betting tips: Ronaldo reign can continue

Manchester United will face off against old boy Cristiano Ronaldo and his Juventus side in the group stages of the Champions League.

Can Cristiano Ronaldo continue his dominance of the Champions League after making the move to Turin? We think so…


Juventus to win the Champions League at 13/2
Cristiano Ronaldo is the Champions League’s big dog, and his move to Juventus could be all they need to make the leap from contenders to winner. Ronaldo has won this trophy five times, including four of the last five years and each of the last three. In all of those he has been his team’s main man, and his record of 120 goals in the competition leaves even Lionel Messi in the shade.

Juventus have won Serie A for the last seven years and Coppa Italia for the last four; they have not spent all that money bringing Ronaldo to Turin to secure more domestic gongs. This is the one they want. And it’s not like they’ve been so very far away. Juve have reached two of the last four finals, and Ronaldo was very much the difference between the two sides when Real Madrid met Juve in last season’s quarter-finals.

The two teams ahead of Juve in the betting have their own questions to answer. Manchester City have only one semi-final and one quarter-final to show for a decade of mega-wealth, while Barcelona haven’t been beyond the quarter-finals in the last three seasons.


Cristiano Ronaldo top Champions League goalscorer at 6/1
This looks an absolute cracker at the price. Ronaldo has been outright top scorer in five of the last six seasons, while he shared top spot alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar in the other.

As outlined above, the move to Juventus doesn’t do much harm to his chances of reaching the business end of the tournament.

Ronaldo has reached double-figures for Champions League goals in each of the last seven seasons, with a record of a goal a game or better in all but two of those. There is no evidence that he’s slowing down either. It’s a great price.


Lucas Moura top Champions League goalscorer at 150/1 each-way (1/4 1,2,3,4)
From a solid favourite to something far more speculative, but Tottenham are well capable of going well in this year’s competition and Moura has been playing as a genuine second striker in the early stages of the Premier League. He’s scored three goals in his first three league games of the season and is more than 10 times the price of Harry Kane and could reward some speculative support.

The downside here is that Spurs are in a group with no makeweight to bolster the goal tally against – but that’s more of an argument against backing Kane at a short price than Moura at a fancy one.


Tottenham to win Group B at 3/1
But what a cracking draw it is for Spurs in Group B alongside three big names in European football with the opportunity to lock horns with Lionel Messi and Barcelona very much the highlight. The games against Inter Milan will invoke memories of Gareth Bale’s heroics back in 2010/11, while PSV are also no pushovers.

But Spurs will take on that group with no fear. They have hit the ground running in the Premier League – the one thing they have been unable to do in recent years – and were the most impressive team in the continent during last season’s group stage. Nobody could match Tottenham’s 16 points out of a possible 18, and that came in a group at least as tough as this one. APOEL Nicosia were easily dispatched home and away, while the twin victories over Borussia Dortmund were particularly impressive.

Best of all, though, was the performance across two games against Real Madrid. A hard-earned draw at the Bernabeu was followed by a 3-1 victory at Wembley that was a fair reflection of the job Spurs did on the champions.

The defeat to Juventus in the last 16 could be put down to inexperience, with Spurs punished brutally for two 10-minute periods of defensive fragility in a tie they otherwise controlled. They will be stronger for that experience, as well as the lessons learned from the World Cup where eight Spurs players made it to the final weekend.

Barcelona are worthy favourites here, of course, but 3/1 underestimates the improvements Spurs have made. They are a team comfortable at this level.


Manchester United not to qualify from Group H at 11/5
United probably should qualify from this group but this nevertheless represents quite a price given the civil war currently waging at Old Trafford.

They are unlikely to be a match for a Juventus side bolstered by Ronaldo’s arrival and are unlikely to be troubled too much by Young Boys, which leaves a straight fight with Valencia for second spot. Quotes bigger than 2/1 for United to miss out surely overstate their chances in that scrap.