Champions League tips: betting on the Champions League

The UEFA Champions League, formerly known as the European Cup, is Europe’s most prestigious club football event. Matches and tournament results are frequently bet on by punters who are looking to place outright bets on the competition and for specific teams to win the many games which happen across the season.

How do teams qualify for the Champions League?

This depends on their finishing position in their domestic league, with each European domestic league ranked by UEFA based on their recent results. The highest-ranking countries receive more places (a maximum of four), and lower-ranked leagues may only get one place. The current Champions League and Europa League title holders qualify automatically.

The current format of the tournament starts with 32 teams, split into eight groups of four. Teams must make it through the group stage to reach the last 16, continuing on to qualify for the quarter-finals, the semi-finals and eventually the final. Losing teams can drop down to the Europa League during the qualifiers and group stage.

However, changes in the format will be implemented in the 2024/2025 season. 36 teams will compete in the league phase (formerly known as the group stage), with each team playing eight matches against eight different teams. While the top eight teams proceed to a knockout stage, teams ranked from ninth to 24th in the tournament will compete in a two-legged play-off stage.

With a similar format being applied to the Europa League, there are new events and matches to look out for, as well as potential wagers. Read our short guide to get tips for UEFA Champions League betting today.

Champions League outright winner tips

A popular bet on the Champions League is an outright winner bet. You can place this bet either before the tournament starts or during it, but odds will, of course, change as the event progresses. Most outright winner bets are placed at the start of the season, but you can place one at any point up until the semi-finals begin.

Betting before the tournament starts means that your odds are based on who the favourites are at that point, which means that Champions League group betting can be very different from placing a pre-season bet.

Betting on an outright winner after the group stage will give you the advantage of being up to date on team form. However, at that stage, betting on the team that’s playing the best (which may not have been one of the initial favourites) will come with much less favourable odds.

Odds do tend to differ less in the Champions League than in other competitions, because Champions League predictions tend to be easier to make: one of the five favourites usually wins the competition. Although it’s rare, there are exceptions: Chelsea’s win in 2020/21 is a perfect example.

Real Madrid have won the most times, and Spanish teams have won more titles than any other nation. Teams that perform well across a season typically perform well in the tournament.

Champions League acca tips

Accumulator bets, or acca bets, are important in the Champions League, as two-legged matches are split across two evenings. This type of bet allows you to combine two or more selections into one wager, with odds being multiplied together. Smaller accumulators can be good bets to go for, as shock results are not unheard of. Champions League score predictions are hard to make and it’s also difficult to predict the winner of individual games. Some examples from the 2022/23 season that few bettors would have predicted are Newcastle beating PSG 4-1, Lens beating Arsenal, and Celtic drawing with Atlético Madrid.

Each betting enthusiast will have their own ideas about the best Champions League acca tips, but there’s no denying that placing several bets at closer to even odds can potentially be more profitable than simply backing the favourite. In 2023, for example, the opening games of the group stage saw an average of more than three goals per game, so an accumulator bet that predicted over two and a half goals per game would have been a profitable one, given the odds offered on this before the matches started.

Bet builders are slightly different from accas. One of our top Champions League bet builder tips is to be aware of how odds are calculated. A bet builder consists of multiple bets on different things that all have a chance of happening. Sportsbooks use algorithms to track those probabilities and recalculate the odds accordingly.

Tips for UEFA Champions League betting

There are a few bets that are particularly well suited to the Champions League. You might want to consider:

An acca on over 2.5 goals – As we’ve already mentioned, an accumulator bet on over 2.5 goals can potentially be a profitable one. Player scoring markets – For Champions League score predictions, you’ll need to study the odds, and the form of the players. Sometimes betting that a player will score (or won’t score) can be an interesting approach. Backing an underdog at double chance – The odds available on the favourites will be so low that it could potentially be more profitable to bet on an underdog to draw. Champions League Group Betting is also available and offers a different angle on wagering.

Always check extra time restrictions on any bets you place. Many bets only apply in the first 90 minutes of the game.

How do away goals count in Champions League?

This is a common but now outdated question. Until 2021, there was a rule that effectively meant that goals scored in the away leg of a two-match knockout tie were worth double points, and therefore served as a tie breaker. This is no longer the case – the rule was abolished at the start of the 2021/22 season.

How do teams qualify for the Champions League?

  • England: The top four teams from the domestic league qualify automatically for the group stage.

  • Spain: The top four teams from the domestic league qualify automatically for the group stage.

  • Italy: The top four teams from the domestic league qualify automatically for the group stage.

  • Germany: The top four teams from the domestic league qualify automatically for the group stage.

  • France: The top two teams from the domestic league qualify for the group stage. The third-placed team enters the tournament at the third qualifying round.

  • Portugal: The top two teams from the domestic league qualify for the group stage. The third-placed team enters the tournament at the third qualifying round.

  • Other countries: The number of teams and the stage at which they enter the competition depend on UEFA rankings. Some leagues will only have one team in the tournament.

  • ExceptionsThe previous Champions League and Europa league winners both qualify automatically. A separate qualifying option (the Champions Path) allow champions of countries with no direct group stage qualification spots to qualify.

Champions League final betting tips

Determining who to bet on for the Champions League final winner can be quite complex, as anything can happen. Champions League score predictions in the finals are impossible to make, but if you study recent events, there are some interesting statistics to consider:

  • Only one of the last five winners have been from Spain, but when Spain makes it to the final, they tend to win. Since 2001, Spanish teams have only lost in the final when playing against another Spanish team.

  • England have won 15 finals in total, but haven’t had back-to-back winners since 1982.

  • French teams have made six finals but have lost in all but one.

  • The Netherlands have the best win-to-loss record when they make it to the final, with six wins out of eight. The last final they played was in 1996.

  • In the last six years, a Both Teams To Score wager has proven to be a losing bet in the final.

These Champions League tips can help you navigate your options when it comes to placing bets on the tournament. Visit our football betting page to check out odds on all the current football fixtures and events.

Inter Milan Vs AC Milan Betting Tips

After taking a commanding two-nil lead in the first leg, Inter Milan take on local rivals AC looking secure their route to their first Champions League final since 2010, who progresses? Find our predictions here!

Liverpool Vs Villarreal Champions League Preview

After knocking out Bayern Munich in the last round, Villarreal will be looking to follow up with the elimination of Liverpool. However, as the fixture comes at the backend of a tough period for Liverpool, Unai Emery's side may even have the advantage at Anfield.

Man City vs Real Madrid Betting Tips

Manchester City host Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final leg, can City overcome Champions League legends to etch their own names in history? Find our tips at LeoVegas.