The UEFA Champions League begins again this week in Europe with Real Madrid as the defending champions. It is hard to believe, but Real has added some top names to their already strong lineup from last season.
The defending Champions League champions brought in James Rodriguez from Monaco. The Colombian striker won the Golden Boot in the World Cup this past summer.
Real also was able to sign strong midfielder Toni Kroos from Bayern Munich and Germany the World Cup champions.
Despite all the new additions, Real the defending champions are not the favorite to win this year’s Champions League title, according to the current futures on Bovada and sportsbook.com.
At this point, the top honor on the futures board going to the champions from 2012-13 and the reigning champions of the Bundesliga Bayern Munich.
The Bavarian opened on topbet and betonline at 3 to 1, just ahead of the 7 to 2 odds for Real Madrid.
Madrid knocked Bayern out last season during the semifinals.
Bayern’s biggest signing during the offseason was Robert Lewandowski, the striker who played for Borussia Dortmund, Bayern’s bitter rivals.
However, Bayern lost star midfielder Kroos to Madrid.
Nevertheless, Bayern over the past four seasons has been one of Europe’s most successful soccer clubs and has many of the players who played for Germany and won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil in July.
Those players include Philipp Lahm, Thomas Muller, Mario Gotze and Bastian Schweingsteiger. The Bavarians also have other international stars such as Holland’s Arjen Robben and France’s Franck Ribery.
Third in Champions League odds is Barcelona, led by the talented Lionel Messi. The club will have Neymar back for his second year of European soccer. The club also added Luis Suarez and Thomas Vermaelen.
The 2014-15 playoff round for the Champions League starts Tuesday August 19. Group stages will start in September and on June 6, the two finalists will meet for the title in Berlin.
Atletico Madrid the runner up last season is 20 to 1. The champions of La Liga, the topflight Spanish league, lost two top players. Both Diego Costa a striker and Thibaut Courtois left to play for Chelsea in England. Courtois played the past three seasons for Atletico on loan from the North London club.
Chelsea has the lowest odds of any club from England at 10 to 1. English Premier League champions Manchester City are 12 to 1. Arsenal must qualify to earn a spot in the group stage, but is 20 to 1. Liverpool is 25 to 1.
Paris Saint-Germain the French Ligue 1 champions are 12 to 1, while Juventus the champions of Italy’s Serie A are sitting at 25 to 1.
The longest odds of any club listed are Zenit St. Petersburg from Russia at 150 to 1.
ODDS for UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL
BAYERN MUNICH 3 to 1
REAL MADRID 7 to 2
BARCELONA 5 to 1
CHELSEA 10 to 1
MANCHESTER CITY 12 to 1
PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN 12 to 1
ARSENAL 20 to 1
ATLETICO MADRID 20 to 1
LIVERPOOL 25 to 1
BORUSSIA DORTMUND 25 to 1