Paris Saint-Germain are favored in Champions League odds, but should they be?

Profile Picture: Josh Powell

August 31st, 2021

Paris Saint-Germain have dominated French football in the last decade since being taken over by the Qatar Sports Investment group in 2011. They’ve won seven league titles, six French Cups, six French League Cups ad eight French Super Cups – but the one they really want, the Champions League, still eludes them.

This season, Mauricio Pochettino’s side are favorites (+400) to be crowned Europe’s kings after a busy summer in the transfer market. Real Madrid centre-back Sergio Ramos, Euro 2020 winning goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and of course, the world’s best player, Lionel Messi, have all joined PSG as the French side look to secure Champions League glory.

Champions League Odds

Paris Saint-Germain
Manchester City
Bayern Munich

Not only that, but PSG have rejected a £170 million bid from Real Madrid for Kylian Mbappe, even though Mbappe’s contract is up next year, and he could walk away for free. That’s a clear statement of intent from the French side that they simply will not sell to a team they see as Champions League rivals.

So, with a new goalkeeper between the sticks and an attacking trio of Messi, Neymar, and Mbappe, who can stop PSG?

Could the Blue Moon rise in Europe?

Manchester City will fancy their chances after a commanding victory over the Parisians in the semi-final last year. City won 4-1 on aggregate to reach their first Champions League final, but eventually came up short. Like PSG, City have dominated domestically, winning three of the last four Premier League titles, but all eyes are on European glory, and they are currently +425 in the betting.

Incredibly, we won’t have to wait log to see these two teams face off as they’ve been drawn alongside each other in Group A. Nothing is easy at this level.

If that group is tough, it has nothing on Group B. Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have tasted plenty of European success in the past, and at +1000 looked a tempting bet now that Virgil Van Dijk is fit again. But that bet lost a bit of its shine when the groups were drawn, and Liverpool have a tricky task in front of them alongside Atletico Madrid, Porto, and AC Milan.

The top tier of European football is changing

Bayern Munich (+800) beat PSG in the final in 2019-20, but are going through some changes with a revamped defence and a new coach in the shape of Julian Nagelsmann. PSG exacted revenge on the Germans last season, knocking them out in the quarterfinals, but Bayern will have more pressing concerns this time around, as they’re in a group with Barcelona.

Barca are coming to terms with life after Messi, and at odds of +2300 it's clear they are not the force of old. Neither are their Spanish counter-parts Real Madrid, who are +1400 in the betting. Madrid won an unprecedented three Champions League crowns in a row between 2016 and 2018, but since then have crashed out in the Last 16 twice in three years.

Tuchel’s magic touch at Chelsea could deliver more silverware

The best bet against PSG could instead be reigning champions Chelsea (+800). Madrid are the only side in modern Champions League history to retain their crown, but Chelsea look a great bet fresh off their win in the final against Man City.

The Blues broke the bank to bring Romelu Lukaku back to the club from Inter Milan for a whopping £103.5 million this summer, giving them a goalscorer they desperately needed. Under manager Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea navigated the knock-out rounds of the Champions League superbly last year, beating Atletico Madrid, Porto, Real Madrid and then Man City in the final.

Since taking over early in 2021, Tuchel’s side have kept 21 clean sheets out of a possible 34 (62%), and have now added one of Europe’s great goalscorers. In the league already this year they’ve swept past Arsenal and put in a huge battling performance to draw 1-1 away to Liverpool, despite playing 45 minutes with 10 men.

Chelsea won’t fear Group H, which includes Juventus, Zenit Saint Petersburg, and Swedish side Malmo, and qualification to the Last 16 should be a formality. Tuchel is a shrewd coach when it comes to knock-out ties, guiding Chelsea to an FA Cup Final and Champions League Final last season, and they look like a serious bet to retain the crown.