Top 5 Clubs Most Likely to Win UEFA Champions League, According to Latest Odds

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The 2014/2015 UEFA Champions League is halfway through the group stage and it is time to review the tournament to date. Are there any major surprises? What team is most likely to win the entire tournament? To find out the answers, simodds.com has simulated the tournament a few hundred thousand times.

The Champions League is an interesting, and complex, tournament. It starts with four qualification rounds of double matches, followed by a round robin group stage of six matches, and ends with a single elimination tournament composed of double matches. It is immediately clear that the Champions League will attenuate the poor teams more effectively than the World Cup, for example. Six group matches will cause fewer major surprises. Double matches instead of single matches during elimination is a further headwind for weaker teams.

The seeding for the tournament also favors the strongest teams, which is perhaps why UEFA has decided to change the seeding methodology for next season. The simulations use the ELO ratings found on http://clubelo.com. A description of the simulations can be found at http://simodds.com/Home/About. These simulations were run with ELO ratings for all clubs before the results of matches on 11/1/2014 were known.

So, enough introduction. What are the results?

The entire tournament, including the irritating qualification rounds, were simulated before the tournament began. At that time the top five teams most likely to win the tournament were:

Bayern Munich – 30.4%
Real Madrid – 28.6%
Barcelona – 17.8%
Atletico Madrid – 5.8%
Manchester City – 5.0%

Although rated, at the time, as slightly weaker than Real Madrid, Bayern won a greater percentage in part because the final is in Germany, thus providing a slight home field advantage to Bayern. Perhaps most interesting is the clear top three in this early simulation.

Taking into consideration the most recent results and ratings, the 5 teams with the best chance of winning the UEFA Champions League are:

1. Real Madrid 34%

2. Bayern Munich 31%

3. Barcelona 19%

4. Atletico Madrid 6%

5. Chelsea 5%

Now let’s look at the current results.

Group A

Team ELO Rating Points Diff Group Odds Win Odds
Atlético 1963 6 5 96.12% 5.75%
Juventus 1889 3 0 79.75% 1.17%
Olympiakos 1701 6 0 22.41%  
Malmö 1543 3 -5 1.72%

Both Atlético and Juventus had fortuitous group draws. However, Olympiakos achieved six points from their first three matches and this boosted their chances of advancing from the group stages from 13% to 22%. This is all at the expense of Juventus. If there is an unlikely win by Olympiakos over Juventus in Turin on Wednesday, these percentages reverse.

Group B

Team ELO Rating Points Diff Group Odds Win Odds
Real Madrid 2087 9 8 99.79% 34.17%
Liverpool 1832 3 -3 81.82% 0.29%
Basel 1633 3 -4 15.17%  
Ludogorets 1527 3 -1 3.22%

With the second easiest draw in the tournament, Liverpool would have expected an easy road to the round of 16. The draw by itself provided Liverpool with an increase in group success from 71% to 91%. In reality, Liverpool needed a 93rd minute penalty to avoid a draw at home against Ludogorets.

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