This article is part of our Soccer Picks series.
The odds for Saturday’s Champions League final aren’t too different than the FA Cup final a couple weeks ago between Chelsea and Liverpool. Once again, Liverpool have a considerable edge in the odds, listed at +105 to win early in the week compared to +245 for Real Madrid. As a whole, the Premier League is viewed as the best league in the world, but Real Madrid already knocked out one English giant and expect to repeat that feat.
In addition to playing Sunday (compared to Friday for Real Madrid), Liverpool lost Thiago Alcantara to a possible hamstring injury, while Fabinho remains a doubt and Virgil van Dijk has not played in two weeks. As for Real Madrid, David Alaba is in a similar situation to van Dijk, though he’s been training for a couple weeks and is expected to be good for the final.
Real Madrid’s run to the Champions League final has been improbable, but it’s not like they don’t deserve it. When needed, they’ve been able to score and that’s all that matters. On one end, they were outplayed for almost 180 minutes in two legs against Manchester City, but on the other, they held strong and found a way to finish and come out on top. Things were a little easier against Chelsea and then they used the Bernabeu to their advantage to get past PSG.
There’s no doubt Liverpool had an easier run to get here, first topping an Inter Milan side Real Madrid already dealt with in group stages. From there, Benfica and Villarreal could not compete with the talent of Liverpool and while the ties had their moments, Liverpool’s advancement was rarely in question.
Given injuries and that Liverpool do not have many wins against truly elite sides this season, backing Real Madrid seems the logical route. For anyone thinking I’m a Liverpool hater, remember that they needed PKs to get past Chelsea in both Cup finals, as well as drawing Man City, Chelsea and Tottenham twice each in league play. Wins against everyone else are nice, but that one big win isn’t really on the resume… yet.
You can go a couple ways with this.
Real Madrid Double Chance -130
If you’re fine with a possible push, Real Madrid Draw No Bet is +145. As a reminder, these are all 90-minute bets. If Thiago and Fabinho both do not start, I think Real Madrid actually have an advantage because at that point, their midfield of Casemiro, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos would be better.
It makes sense that this game is as up and down similar to the Real Madrid-Man City tie, but playing in a Champions League final is much different than a semi-final. One team has failed to score in each of the last three finals, which has me looking at under 2.5 goals for +105. The downside is these teams are rarely held scoreless and Real Madrid allowed at least one goal in each of their knockout matches. David Alaba should be back but will that prevent Liverpool from finding the back of the net?
Karim Benzema to score +140
I think you either look at under 2.5 goals or take Benzema to score because if Real Madrid score, he’s going to be involved. He had 27 goals in 32 league appearances and more importantly he has 15 goals in 11 Champions League starts. If neither Thiago nor Fabinho start, I’d be on this bet more and possibly even Real Madrid to win at +245.
I think these teams are relatively even across the board and that’s not seen in the odds. Real Madrid can match Liverpool’s talent at every level and it’s a wonder if Liverpool being a Premier League team has something to do with the lopsided odds. They haven’t beaten an elite team this season and I won’t be taking them to beat one in 90 minutes Saturday.