UEFA Champions League Betting Preview: Atletico the best value

Last season's runners-up remain relatively long odds to win the Champions League but are ideally suited to continental football

Atletico Madrid appear to be the best value ahead of the 2014-15 UEFA Champions League with last-season's finalists not rated too highly by bookmakers.

Diego Simeone's men from the Spanish capital went within a minute of claiming last season's European Cup with Sergio Ramos' 93rd-minute equaliser dragging Real Madrid level in Lisbon before Atletico fell apart in extra time to hand their arch-rivals an unprecedented 10th title.

While Real went on to win 4-1, it should not take away from Atleti's impressive campaign, as Simeone's side won their first La Liga title since 1996 and almost succeeded at continental level as well.

But at bet365 , Atletico are $21.00 to go one better in 2014-15, great value for a team that are tailor-made for the sudden-death nature of the Champions League.


Bayern to claim second title in three years at $5.00

Atletico to win the UCL at $21.00

Reigning champions Real ( $4.50 ) are the favourites, while 2013 champions Bayern Munich are second on the market at $5.00 and could be the safest wager.

Barcelona ( $6.50 ), Chelsea ( $7.00 ) and Manchester City ( $15.00 ) complete the top five with bet365.

Bayern cantered to the Bundesliga title last season - winning by 19 points - and coach Pep Guardiola has added the German league's best striker in Robert Lewandowski plus former Real midfielder Xabi Alonso and ex-Roma defender Mehdi Benatia.

If Guardiola's men find the Bundesliga similarly comfortable this term, Bayern could predominantly focus on the Champions League and, having reached the semi-finals in the past three campaigns, including two finals, the German champions will be formidable.

But of the top eight clubs on bet365 's market, Atletico are certainly the best value.

The Vicente Calderon-based outfit have a fairly comfortable group - Juventus are their only real rivals, while Malmo and Olympiacos likely to make up the numbers in Group A -  and once the knockout stages begin, Atleti's high-pressing, defensive style will make them very hard to beat.

Recent history also indicates that once a team reaches one Champions League final they are likely to return to Europe's most glamorous club match within two years.

In the past 10 finals, seven of the 20 finalists had been in a Champions League decider in the two seasons prior.