Sports

Who Vegas Is Picking to Win the UEFA Champions League

Neymar celebrates with Champions League trophy
PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images

For most Americans, the start of the new NFL season is enough to get the blood flowing. However, in other parts of the world, our version of football isn’t even the most popular version. Not by a long shot.

Not only are the two sports contrasting in terms of the rules, but they don’t even take on the same spelling. Football is one thing. But fútbol — we’ll go with ‘soccer’ for the remainder of the piece — that’s a an entirely different animal. However, if we were hoping to find one similarity between these two pastimes, we could probably breaking it down in one all-encompassing word: Passion.

While the National Football League is totally unrivaled in its quality, the interesting thing about soccer is that the sport is made up of top tier leagues all over the world. From England to Spain to Germany, the best of the best from around the world play in these leagues — mostly in Europe — hoping to take home a domestic crown. Of course, if you were hoping to find out which soccer club was the best in the world, you don’t have to worry. There’s a tournament for that as well — the UEFA Champions League.

To win the Champions League is to know what it’s like to achieve European glory. And with the 2015-16 season having kicked off on Tuesday, we thought it would be a good idea to show you who the folks in Sin City were picking to be crowned champions at the end of the year.

If you’re a fan of the game, then you’re bound to recognize most of the clubs. If you’re not, this is a good place to gain a bit of knowledge. Therefore, with that in mind, here’s a look at who Vegas is picking to win the UEFA Champions League.

5. Manchester City

Manchester City celebrate winning the English Premier League
Alex Livesey/Getty Images
  • Odds: 14/1

Fives games into the 2015-16 English Premier League season and Manchester City already appears to be the team to beat. The club sits four points clear at the top of the table, it hasn’t lost a game, and it hasn’t conceited a goal yet. Of course, achieving domestic glory is not the same as tackling the rest of Europe. Man City learned this the hard way on Tuesday, losing their group opener 2-1 to last season’s runner-up Juventus. We have a feeling the Sky Blues will figure it out.

4. Chelsea

Chelsea celebrate after scoring goal
Julian Finney/Getty Images
  • Odds: 10/1

After winning last year’s English Premier League crown, Chelsea is off to an abysmal start this season. Currently, the Blues sit in seventh place and have only managed to net four points in five matches. Manager Jose Mourinho may be one of the best in the business, however, if he doesn’t find a way to get his team back on track, it could be a long season both domestically and internationally for Chelsea F.C.

3. Real Madrid

Real Madrid pose for a picture ahead of their Champions League clash
PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images
  • Odds: 9/2

The world’s most valuable soccer team is off to a roaring start on their quest for Champions League glory. On Tuesday, behind a hat trick from superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid cruised past Shakhtar Donetsk to the tune of 4-0. This is only the first match of the group stage. However, if Real was looking to come out and make a statement, the Spanish giants certainly succeeded.

2. Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich celebrate scoring a goal
THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP/Getty Images
  • Odds: 4/1

Any team that’s coached by Pep Guardiola has the chance to be successful both at home and abroad. But aside from that, Bayern Munich has already shown itself to be one of the most formidable clubs on the planet. They have won their league — the German Bundesligathree years in a row and also captured the Champions League title in 2012-13. When they’re firing on all cylinders, there are very few clubs in the world that can stick with Bayern Munich.

1. Barcelona

FC Barcelona celebrates its Champions League victory
LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images
  • Odds: 11/4

FC Barcelona is an absolute juggernaut. This club, with its fancy footwork, beautiful style of play, and rich history of excellence, finds itself as team to beat in Europe. Honestly, if you look at their roster, it’s hard to argue with the oddsmakers in Vegas. With Lionel Messi producing magic on the pitch, Neymar making defenders look silly, and Luis Suarez constantly putting balls in the back of the neck, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Barcelona win the Champions League for the second straight year.

Odds are courtesy of sportsbook.ag.

All statistics are courtesy of ESPN FC and UEFA.com.