As a result, the way Manchester City have drifted after being handed the so-called Group of Death of Real Madrid, Ajax and Borussia Dortmund might be of interest to the savvy punter.
Ajax have only negotiated the group stage once since 2003 and are not the force they once were.
Last season was Dortmund’s first time competing in the group stage since 2003 and they will be a tough test. Shinji Kagawa’s exit must be offset against the experience picked up last season.
But if you have confidence that Roberto Mancini’s men can find a way through their group without too much trouble, they could be a good price at 10/1 with Bet365 to lift the trophy in May.
While City’s price drifted, rivals Manchester United have come in to 7/1 after being drawn against Braga, Galatasaray and CFR Cluj.
It’s not a daunting group but neither was last year’s line-up and punters should not get too excited by that price if they don’t fancy the Red Devils in the knockouts.
That’s because there are two Spanish teams who remain the understandable favourites to lift the Champions League trophy next year.
Both Barcelona and Real Madrid fell at the semi-final stage last season and will be eager to put that right in 2012-13. Barca, boosted by the return of David Villa, are 5/2 favourites.
But Real Madrid are the pick of the bets at 9/2 with Bet365.
Like City, their price has drifted after a tough group draw but they are getting stronger against Barca and will feel they are the strongest team in the competition.
The remaining English teams are defending champions Chelsea at 12/1 and Arsenal at 22/1. Both should reach the last 16 but it will take an effort akin to the Blues’ march to the trophy last year if they are to go all the way.
The remaining British side are Celtic at 300/1 with Bet365 but the real target for Neil Lennon’s side will be getting out of the group.
One final mention for a long-shot option – 2004 champions Porto are 66/1 to win again and could be a good each-way bet given their biggest threat in Group A are Paris St Germain, a team yet to back up summer spending with results.
|Real Madrid at 9/2 with Bet365
||Manchester City at 10/1 with Bet365
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Adam Bate is a professional freelance journalist who specialises in football and betting. He is editor of GhostGoal which can be found here - you can also follow Adam on
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