How to Bet On The Champions League – UCL Betting Tips and Guide

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The Champions League is the premier club competition in Europe, involving top-performing teams from across the continent throughout the year. From a betting perspective, it is one of the most popular events in the soccer calendar, creating millions of dollars in revenue for sportsbooks worldwide. Learn how to bet on the UCL and make more profit by using some of our best Champions League betting strategies and tips.

Betting on the Champions League

Even though the Champions League takes place in Europe, its popularity in the US is massive. Most major sportsbooks have full coverage, including a range of markets such as moneyline, over/under, spreads, prop bets, and enhanced odds promotions.

This flexibility allows bettors to choose from a wide range of sportsbooks. The biggest advantage this gives is the ability to shop for the best lines. By not line shopping, you might be making a fairly big betting mistake.

Once you’ve picked the sportsbook, navigate to the ‘Soccer’ section. Most sites have a dedicated Champions League betting section, where you can access a range of games taking place over multiple game weeks.

betonline uefa cl betting

Due to the tournament’s popularity, some sites have UCL promotions like enhanced lines or boosted odds. In this case, the lines are usually among the best in the industry. As a result, this creates value betting opportunities.

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How to Place a Champions League Bet

This section takes you through the process of placing a bet on the Champions League. Our examples uses BetOnline, but the process won’t differ too much regardless of the betting site you choose.

1. Head to BetOnline

Visit BetOnline and head to the sportsbook section of the site.

betonline signup

2. Create an Account

The process starts by creating an account. Click the ‘Join’ button at the top of the page and work through the sign-up process, adding all the required details.

betonline account

3. Deposit Funds

Once your account has been created, log in and head to the cashier section. Pick any of the ones that work best for you and deposit some money.

betonline deposit

4. Check out the Markets

In the main sportsbook, use the menu down the left to find the ‘Soccer’ section, then select ‘UEFA Champions League’.

betonline soccer options

5. Place a Bet

Find the market you want to bet on and add your selection to the bet slip. Within the bet slip, confirm the bet and choose the stake.

Champions League Betting Tips Example

To illustrate our Champions League betting tips, we’ve added a real-world example from the upcoming 2023/24 tournament. This highlights how the process of placing a bet works in a more detailed fashion.

The game in our example involves AC Milan and Newcastle United. To keep things simple, we’ve placed the example bet on the Result 1×2 market. This market is where you choose the overall result of the match, with a home win (1), draw (X), or away win (2) being the three options.

Our example bet is on Newcastle United to win at odds of +175. The American format odds come as positive and negative numbers. The negative number is the amount of money you must stake to make a $100 profit. The positive number is the profit you make from a $100 bet.

So, betting on Newcastle United at odds of +175 means that for every $100 staked, you make $175. The market dictates that Newcastle needs to win the game by any scoreline for this bet to pay out.

We can expand the markets by clicking on the match to see multiple other betting options. Coverage of the Champions League is huge, so most sportsbooks have a wide range to choose from. For reference, our top offshore sportsbooks have 128 different markets to bet on this game alone.

How Does the Champions League Work?

The UEFA Champions League (UCL) has a complicated qualifying process, with teams gaining access based on domestic league positions. The number of teams who can automatically qualify is based on UEFA ‘coefficients’. Coefficients are points earned based on previous showings from nations in past tournaments.

As a basic rule, the better a nation does, the more points it earns, and the more teams get access to (or have the ability to qualify for) the Champions League proper.

For example, if English teams have performed better across European competitions than Spanish teams over the last five years, they can enter more teams in the UCL.

In total, there are five qualifying rounds before the tournament proper. The lower the coefficient points for that club, the earlier they need to enter the qualifying process.

How Champions League Teams Advance

The table below highlights the access list for teams up to the 2023/24 season.

Teams entering in this round Teams advancing from the previous round
Preliminary round
(4 teams)
4 champions from associations 52–55
First qualifying round
(34 teams)
33 champions from associations 18–51 (except Liechtenstein) 1 winner from the preliminary round
Second qualifying round Champions Path
(20 teams)
3 champions from associations 15–17 17 winners from the first qualifying round
League Path
(6 teams)
6 runners-up from associations 10–15
Third qualifying round Champions Path
(12 teams)
2 champions from associations 13–14 10 winners from the second qualifying round (Champions Path)
League Path
(8 teams)
  • 3 runners-up from associations 7–9
  • 2 third-placed teams from association 5–6
3 winners from the second qualifying round (League Path)
Play-off round Champions Path
(8 teams)
2 champions from associations 11–12 6 winners from the third qualifying round (Champions Path)
League Path
(4 teams)
4 winners from the third qualifying round (League Path)
Group stage
(32 teams)
  • UEFA Champions League title holders
  • UEFA Europa League title holders
  • 10 champions from associations 1–10
  • 6 runners-up from associations 1–6
  • 4 third-placed teams from associations 1–4
  • 4 fourth-placed teams from associations 1–4
  • 4 winners from the play-off round (Champions Path)
  • 2 winners from the play-off round (League Path)
Knockout phase
(16 teams)
  • 8 group winners from the group stage
  • 8 group runners-up from the group stage

Format of Champions League 2023/24

The Champions League starts properly in the group stage, which precedes the qualifying stages. Across eight groups of four, 32 teams enter.

All teams are seeded across four pots, and two teams from the same pot cannot be drawn against each other. Also, teams from the same country cannot be drawn against each other in the group stages. This makes the draw quite complicated, as nations like England have four representatives spread across multiple pots.

After the draw, teams from each group play against each other at home and away. Teams can earn:

  • Three points for a win
  • One point for a draw
  • Zero points for a loss

After six games, the top two teams progress to the knockout stages. Third-place teams from all groups then enter the UEFA Europa League.

The last 16 is a straight knockout, where teams play each other twice (home and away). The overall aggregate score of the two games counts as the final result. Away goals do not count, and extra time and penalties will be used where needed. For the knockout stage, the draw is random, and for the first time, teams of the same nation can be drawn to play each other.

This works down from the last 16 to the semi-final. Teams play the final as a single game at a pre-designated stadium. There will be no replays – a winner will be found on the day, whether it’s through extra time and penalties where needed.

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2023/24 Champions League Teams and Schedule

The first game week runs on September 19 and 20, including all group teams playing across the two nights. The group games will run until December 12 and 13 before having a winter break before knockout stages.

Fixtures Dates
1st round of group games 19 to 20 September 2023
Final round of group games 12 to 13 December 2023
Round of 16 13 to 21 February 2024 and 5 to 13 March 2024
Quarter-finals 9 to 10 and 16 to 17 April 2024
Semi-finals 30 April/ 1 May 2024 and 7 to 8 May 2024
Final 1 June 2024

Champions League Groups 2023/24

The groups for the 2023/24 Champions League are as follows:

Group A

  • Bayern Munich
  • Manchester United
  • Copenhagen
  • Galatasaray

Group B

  • Sevilla
  • Arsenal
  • PSV Eindhoven
  • RC Lens

Group C

  • Real Madrid
  • Napoli
  • Braga
  • Union Berlin

Group D

  • Inter Milan
  • SL Benfica
  • Salzburg
  • Real Sociedad

Group E

  • Atlético de Madrid
  • Feyenoord
  • Lazio
  • Celtic

Group F

  • Paris
  • Dortmund
  • AC Milan
  • Newcastle United

Group G

  • Manchester City
  • RB Leipzig
  • FK Crvena Zvezda
  • BSC Young Boys

Group H

  • Barcelona
  • FC Porto
  • Shakhtar Donetsk
  • Antwerp

Champions League Format Changes for 2024/25

The 2024/25 Champions League is set to change. UEFA confirmed they will move away from the 32-team group stage and incorporate four more teams to make a 36-team, Swiss-style league.

The addition of four more teams, and the change to league over group games, means that there will be 64 additional games across the whole Champions League compared with the old format.

Some important points to note for the UCL 2024/25 include:

  • Each team will be drawn into four pots and play teams from each of these pots.
  • There will be eight games in total (an increase from six) that all teams will play before getting ranked within the league.
  • The top eight teams in the league will automatically move into the last 16 knockout stages.
  • Places nine through 24 will enter a playoff for the final eight spots.
  • From the last 16, the tournament knockout stage will run as normal, ending with quarter-finals, semi-finals, and a final.

Why have these UCL changes come in?

The short answer to why the Champions League structure is changing in 2024/25 is money.

With 64 more games, this means almost 50% more revenue that UEFA and clubs can make on each game. With the change in how the initial draw works, there’s less protection for teams to avoid playing rivals in the early stages, creating more excitement.

Types of Champions League Betting Markets

To help you better understand how to bet on the Champions League and use UCL betting tips, we’ve listed a series of the best types of bets to place. Some bet types are generic to soccer, while others are exclusive to UCL betting.

Soccer Bet Types

You can place these types of bets on any soccer market, whether it’s a single match or a tournament like the UCL:

  • Match result (1×2) – Bet on the final result of the game after 90 minutes. This can be a home win (1), an away win (2), or a draw (x).
  • Double chance – Includes two possible results. This can be home win and draw, home win and away win, or away win and draw. Both winning results lead to the same payout.
  • Handicap betting Add or remove goals from the final score to level the playing field when one team has a higher probability of winning than the other. Use to create wider or smaller gaps, depending on the handicap applied.
  • Total goals (Over/Under) – Bet on the total number of goals scored in the game and choose the over or under line set by the sportsbook. Commonly used in ‘match combo’ bets, such as ‘both teams to score’ and ‘Over 2.5 goals’.
  • Correct score – Betting on the exact score at full-time.
  • First goalscorer – Betting on the player to score the first goal in the game. If the player you’ve picked does not start, your bet is void, and the stakes are returned. Own goals don’t count. This market stays live until a non-own goal is scored.
  • Match combos – Includes combined markets such as ‘match result’ and ‘both teams to score’, ‘total goals’ and ‘team to win’, and so on.
  • Anytime goalscorer – Betting on a player to score at any point in the match.
  • Run of play – Betting on teams to win after being behind at any point.

Champions League Bet Types

You might find these bet types more interesting if you’re betting on a tournament or league, such as the Champions League:

  • To qualify – A popular bet in the knockout stages where you bet on the team to qualify for the next round. This includes the cumulative score from both legs and any penalties or extra time needed. Basically, whichever team progresses wins this market.
  • Group betting – Group betting is picking a team that will finish at the top of the group. Some markets will include the top two or ‘to qualify’ from the group, but odds will reflect the increased chances of winning the bet.
  • Team to reach the final – Bet on a team to reach the final. It doesn’t matter if they go on to win, they just need to make it to the match.
  • Outright winner – Bet on the outright winner of the Champions League tournament. Most bets are placed pre-tournament, but the market is open until the semi-finals begin. Winner odds require your to reach and win the UCL final.
  • Top goalscorer – Bet on the player who scores the most goals throughout the competition. If two or more are tied, dead heat rules will apply.

Champions League Betting Tips – Strategy Guide

To provide you with the best Champions League betting tips, we need to highlight the best ways to profit from betting on the competition.

You might also want to review our guide on how to bet on soccer, as large parts of this guidance can cross over into UCL betting. However, the tournament plays differently than most leagues or cups, which means you need to adapt your strategy when betting on the Champions League.

Keep Up With Team News

One of the key Champions League betting tips surrounds team news – it’s arguably more important for this competition than betting on other leagues. The reason is that teams are managed in the competition to ensure they have the best possible chance of progression, so games are generally played with the best possible starting 11.

If major players are missing, the opposition has an advantage. For example, if Haaland is missing for Manchester City, this removes their biggest goal threat. Granted, they have great replacements, but losing star players like Haaland will have an effect.

Team news for games is released one hour before kickoff. We suggest waiting until this time to place any match bets, so you can assess both starting lineups to get a better idea of how games might play out.

Match Importance

Match importance will change as the tournament progresses. At the start of the group stage, all teams aim to get off to a fast start and play their best possible team. But in later games, some teams have less riding on them, so might play with weakened teams.

For example, if PSG won five out of five in the group stages. As group winners, the team has a guarantee to qualify for the knockout stages. Given that they have nothing to play for (essentially) in the last game, they aren’t going to risk star players and instead field a much-weakened team in this less important match.

It’s worth watching league games leading up to the Champions League games to get an idea of who has rested and who has started. If teams have rested players leading up to the UCL, then there’s a good chance they will play in it.

Don’t just look at teams at the top of the group, either. Teams at the bottom might not have a chance to progress to the knockout stages, but still might be able to make third place, which gets them a Europa League spot.

Prepare to Line Shop

Whether you prefer shiny new betting sites or more established operators, the majority of sportsbooks will offer in-depth coverage of the Champions League. The likes of BetOnline, Everygame, and Bovada have hundreds on markets for each game.

Line shopping is where you look for the best possible odds on the market to get a little more value from the bet. The competition between sportsbooks and depth of coverage means that some sportsbooks offer better prices than others. Even small increases in odds will add significantly to your bottom line in the long term.

Analyse Team Form and Head-to-Head Data

Traditionally, team form and head-to-head data is key when researching Champions League betting tips. However, given that the teams can often have very little data on both fronts, it makes it harder to utilize in the UCL.

That said, you should still try to use team form data. See how they’ve played in previous group games and then expand this to league and domestic cup form. The latter is a key component as the Champions League is essentially a combination of cup games spread out across the season.

However, you also need to consider the quality of the opposition. The image below shows the form of Barcelona and Royal Antwerp are both good, with Barcelona just shading it.

The difference here is the caliber of the opposition, with most of Antwerp’s games being played in the Belgian domestic league and Barcelona’s in the much higher-ranked La Liga.

So, when we talk about form, don’t forget about the standard of opposition, which can have huge gulfs in competitions like the Champions League. That’s why Barcelona is priced at -500 and Antwerp at +1400 to win the game.

Home Advantage Can Level the Playing Field

Home advantage can make a big difference in soccer, regardless of the competition. However, in the Champions League, it’s even bigger. All teams that qualify may feel very familiar with winning, and most have formidable home records. For bigger teams, this makes visiting away grounds tougher than usual.

You can find value in taking on teams that are shorter priced based purely on the fact that it’s a home game. There is value to be found in opposing over-reduced prices for home teams.

Most Successful Champions League Teams in History

The tournament was originally known as the European Cup, dating back to the 1955-56 season. The 1992 season saw the formation of the Champions League as we know it today, which was still the same competition.

By far, the most successful team has been Real Madrid, who’ve won the trophy a staggering 14 times. This is double the amount won by the second-most successful team to date, AC Milan.

Real Madrid’s first win came in 1956, with their most recent in 2022, beating Liverpool in the final. They also had three runner-up finishes in that period, taking the total number of appearances in a final to 17, another record.

There have been 22 tournament winners over the years, with 13 of those teams winning it on more than one occasion. Notable winners include:

  • AC Milan (seven)
  • Bayern Munich (six)
  • Liverpool (six)
  • Barcelona (five)
  • Ajax (four)
  • Inter Milan (three)
  • Manchester United (three)

The most recent Champions League winner was Manchester City in the 2022/23 season.

Champions League Titles

Champions League Team Number of Title(s) Number of Runner-up Title(s)
Real Madrid 14 3
Milan 7 4
Bayern Munich 6 5
Liverpool 6 4
Barcelona 5 3
Ajax 4 2
Inter Milan 3 3
Manchester United 3 2
Juventus 2 7
Benfica 2 5
Chelsea 2 1
Nottingham Forest 2 0
Porto 2 0
Celtic 1 1
Hamburger SV 1 1
Steaua București 1 1
Marseille 1 1
Borussia Dortmund 1 1
Manchester City 1 1
Feyenoord 1 0
Aston Villa 1 0
PSV Eindhoven 1 0
Red Star Belgrade 1 0
Atlético Madrid 0 3
Reims 0 2
Valencia 0 2
Fiorentina 0 1
Eintracht Frankfurt 0 1
Partizan 0 1
Panathinaikos 0 1
Leeds United 0 1
Saint-Étienne 0 1
Borussia Mönchengladbach 0 1
Club Brugge 0 1
Malmö FF 0 1
Roma 0 1
Sampdoria 0 1
Bayer Leverkusen 0 1
Monaco 0 1
Arsenal 0 1
Tottenham Hotspur 0 1
Paris Saint-Germain 0 1

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Champions League Betting FAQs

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Champions League Betting Resources

Jonathan Askew
Sports Betting and Casino Expert
Jonathan Askew
Sports Betting and Casino Expert

Jonathan is a freelance writer working with Techopedia. He has been working within the gambling sector for over 15 years and has been fortunate enough to work with brands that include Gambling.com, CheekyPunter.com, BasketballInsiders.com and Betfair. He specializes in US and UK-based sports and casino content for Techopedia.