Champions League Semi-Final Spread Betting Preview
Champions League Semi-Final 1st Leg Spread Betting Preview
The endgame of this season's European schedule is now upon us, and in just four short weeks, one of four teams will be crowned the undisputed kings of Europe.
According to the current Champions League Outright Index, Tottenham and Ajax are joint-third favourites by a much smaller margin, with a spread of 65-68. They contest the first semi-final, having both acquitted themselves excellently in the earlier knockout rounds, and caused massive shocks in the quarter-finals.
Tottenham v Ajax - Will Spurs Strike First Against Champions League Surprise Package?
This is the furthest Tottenham have ever delved into the Champions League knockout phase, and even without the services of Harry Kane, they look like a force to be reckoned with.
After dispatching Borussia Dortmund with relative ease in the round of 16, Tottenham faced their first `real¿ test in the quarter-finals, christening their new stadium in Europe with a 1-0 win over Manchester City.
The second leg was Tottenham's opportunity to demonstrate their ability to negotiate the away leg of a European tie. They did so in what was ultimately desperate fashion, but their relentless self-belief and fearless counter-attacking mentality yielded a just reward.
Unlike bitter rivals Arsenal and West Ham earlier this century, Tottenham have settled well into their new surroundings. Prior to their 1-0 defeat at home against West Ham on 27 April, Mauricio Pochettino's men had won all of their competitive matches at their new ground, without conceding a single goal.
Additionally, seven of their nine goals in those matches had come in the second half, implying strongly that Ajax need to stay switched on until the final whistle.
Ajax are still viewed as the tournament underdogs, and only winning the Champions League will finally earn them the respect they deserve. Despite eliminating the (now deposed) European champions Real Madrid, and the serial Italian champions Juventus with a brace of away wins, Ajax would still be underdogs against any potential opponent in the final.
If nothing else, Ajax's domestic away form is a sign that they live to defy expectation, and play for the win. Given that they are yet to draw an Eredivisie game on the road this season, the Amsterdammers will not see a `good draw¿ in London as a particularly helpful result.
Barcelona v Liverpool - Away Goal Could Be Crucial for Liverpool's Hopes
This is, without question, the biggest coming of age that Liverpool will have under Jurgen Klopp. Regardless of which club progresses from the semi-finals, Liverpool's successful negotiation of this tie would lead to them becoming red-hot favourites in a major European final, for the first time since 2001.
Away from home, Liverpool's defence still has some degree of fallibility, and prior to their 2-0 win over Cardiff on Easter Sunday, Liverpool's preceding four competitive away matches had seen both teams score. As a result of this, only two of Liverpool's last nine away matches have seen the Reds lead at the break, and this could potentially work to Barcelona's advantage.
Whether they keep a clean sheet or not, this Liverpool team boasts bags of stamina, which gives them the ability to stay strong until the very end of matches. This priceless trait is evidenced by the Reds scoring in the final fifteen minutes, in each of their last five competitive away games.
Amongst the Reds' chain of five consecutive away wins are Liverpool's blistering performances on foreign soil in the earlier knockout rounds. Memories of galling defeats at Red Star Belgrade and Napoli are now distant memories for Liverpool, who chose the start of the knockout phase to turn on the style.
First fell Bayern, who were firmly second-best as Liverpool won 3-1 in Bavaria, showing huge character following a 0-0 draw at Anfield. Then there was the Reds' trip to Porto, which always carried an air of formality after a 2-0 win for Liverpool on home soil in the first leg, and ultimately, the eventual 6-1 aggregate scoreline could have been much bigger.
For their part, Barcelona are on the verge of sealing another La Liga title, and have a formidable record versus English opponents in European competition.
They were certainly galaxies away on the last occasion a Premier League club visited the Nou Camp stadium, running out 3-0 winners against a Manchester United team packed with so-called stars, that had a collective value of around three-quarters of a billion GBP.
Overall, Barcelona are unbeaten in thirty-one Champions League games in Catalonia, averaging more than three goals a home match in the competition this season alone.
Who are the Favourites to Make the Champions League Final?
The 'Champions League (Name the Finalists)' market - in which points are awarded per correctly-guessed finalist - has each possible Champions League final two combination. An all-English final currently commands a spread of 25-28, making it the unlikeliest combination. Any final involving Barcelona takes the top two slots, with 'Barcelona and Ajax' currently commanding the high spread of 32-35.
Will we see an all-English final? Will the Champions League trophy return to Spanish shores? Or can Ajax get their hands on the trophy for the first time since 1995?...You can find all the latest Champions League spread betting markets as these four teams look to book their place in Madrid.