With more than two weeks left until the first leg of the Champions League semi finals, the betting houses are already gearing up for what’s to come: the most important final of continental football.
Manchester City vs. Real Madrid: the early final
The betting odds are clear: the champion will emerge from the semifinal match between Manchester City and Real Madrid, and the English squad is the favorite. Pep Guardiola’s team is in outstanding shape, having won 4-1 against Arsenal in the league and 3-0 against Sheffield United in the FA Cup. They are candidates for the treble. However, having to simultaneously play the final of the Premier League could take a toll on them: they are not yet leaders and have seven rounds to go. Nonetheless, they are the big favorites, paying £1.66 for their first Champions League.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid mixes moments of euphoria with the most absolute depression. A team that can lose 2-4 to Girona in 21 days or beat Barcelona 4-0, dominating the game. However, they are the kings of the European Cup: they have won the competition in 14 editions and live for it. Furthermore, with La Liga effectively lost, Ancelotti’s club can concentrate on the Champions League and the Copa del Rey. Nonetheless, they trail the English squad in the betting houses: the 15th is priced at £4.50.
Il Derby di Milano, an interesting match out of the spotlight
The other semi-final features two of the world’s most bitter rivals: Inter Milan and AC Milan. Both teams haven’t reached this stage of European football in a long time. Inter last played in the semifinals in 2010, when they won the Champions League, while AC Milan hasn’t played in the semifinals since 2007, with the same result as their neighbors.
Inter Milan has bet on their season’s knockout tournaments, and the strategy seems to be paying off. Although Inzaghi’s club is presently sixth in the league, seven points behind second place, they have advanced to the Coppa Italia final after defeating Juventus. The ‘Nerazzurri’ are the favorites for the match, but they are far from City and Madrid’s chances of winning the Champions League: their odds range from £7 to £8 depending on the bookmaker.
Milan is also not enjoying a dream season in Serie A. The reigning Italian league champions are in fourth place, five points behind Lazio and just two ahead of Inter. However, they have shown that they can compete in the Champions League: in their two encounters this season, Milan won in September, and Inter won in February. ‘I Rossoneri’ are the team with the most difficult task, according to the bookmakers, with their odds ranging from £8.50 to £9.