The English Premier League season is done, but two English teams have their eyes on a greater prize: the UEFA Champions League title.
Liverpool and Tottenham have met 170 times in all competitions in a rivalry stretching more than a century, but only once in European competition. On June 1, these teams will meet on the greatest stage of all: the UEFA Champions League Final at Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano.
The Champions League is always a big match for neutral football fans around the world. It’s also a huge betting event, with hundreds of millions of pounds set to be wagered on the result.
Liverpool Clear Favourites to Win Champs League Final
Liverpool are the clear favourites in Champions League betting. All the top bookies are backing the Reds to lift the cup, with bet365 offering 1/2 odds and Paddy Power offering 4/9 odds. Tottenham are outsiders, with both bet365 and Paddy Power offering 13/8 for Spurs to become champions of Europe.
With that said, it’s less likely either time wins in 90 minutes. Bet365 is paying 19/20 for Liverpool to win in regulation time, 17/2 for them to win in extra time, and 11/1 for them to win on penalties. They’re paying 14/5 for Spurs to win in regulation time, 16/1 for them to win in extra time, and 12/1 for them to win on penalties.
This Champions League Has Been Full of Betting Surprises
The lesson from this year’s Champions League has been that anything can happen. After all, who could have possibly foreseen Liverpool’s comeback victory over previous tournament favourites Barcelona? And who would have believed Tottenham would outdo those comeback heroics the following night against Ajax Amsterdam?
If we’ve learnt anything from this tournament, there should be plenty of goals. Paddy Power is paying 3/4 for both teams to score, 9/4 for both teams to score in the second half, and an incredible 13/1 for both teams to score in both halves (i.e. the final result will involve at least two goals to each team, if not more).
Why Liverpool are Favourite (and Why Spurs Can Surprise)
Bookies usually look at recent history to determine the betting odds. In this case, the recent history all points to a Liverpool win.
The Reds won both matches in the Premier League season, winning 2-1 at Wembley (before Spurs move to their new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium) and 2-1 at Anfield on the back of a last-minute Toby Alderweireld own goal. Liverpool had arguably the best Premier League season ever for a team finishing second. They ended the season on 97 points, an excruciating one point behind winner Manchester City and 25 and 26 points ahead of third-placed Chelsea and fourth-placed Spurs respectively.
Looking further back at the head-to-head record, Liverpool have won 79 matches to Spurs’ 48 with 43 draws. These teams have met once in European competition, in the 1972/73 UEFA Cup semi-finals, which Liverpool won on away goals.
This will be Liverpool’s ninth appearance in European football’s most important title match and Tottenham’s first. The Reds have won five of their previous eight Champions League finals: in 1977, 1978, 1981, 1984, and 2005. They also have the benefit of recent finals experience, having lost 3:1 in last year’s final to Real Madrid in Kiev.
Can Spurs defy the odds and win the Champions League final? History says no, but the story of this tournament has been one of upsets and comebacks – and that points to a potential Tottenham victory.