With soccer back all over the world, this summer should be big for New Jersey fans
Take a look at the betting sites this weekend, and a majority of the action will be on soccer from around the world.
The return of the Premier League, and the EFL Championship, in England will get many headlines, as will the race in La Liga between Barcelona and Real Madrid.
But many fans around the state of New Jersey will also have their eyes focused on late July and August, when one domestic league, and two UEFA competitions, will be back on the pitches.
This week, UEFA announced that the Champions League will return on August 7 and 8 with the second leg Round of 16 matches, then will head to Lisbon for the rest of the tournament. The quarter finals will be played from August 12-15 at the home of Benfica and Sporting Clube de Lisbon, two teams known very well in the Ironbound neighborhood in Newark, with the semifinals on August 18-19. The final will be played on August 23 at the Estadio de Luz.
This season, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the quarterfinals and semifinals will be one game, instead of two-legged ties.
Manchester City is the current betting favorite (+300) with the bet365 NJ to win its first Champions League title (even with its second leg against Real Madrid still to come (City leads 2-1 after the first game in Madrid), and with the specter of a two-year UEFA ban hanging over it pending its CAS appeal. Bayern Munich, which is up 3-0 over Chelsea after the first leg, is also +300.
Of the teams that have already advanced into the quarterfinals, Paris Saint Germain (PSG) is +550, with RB Leipzig +1400 at SugarHouse sportsbook & casino.
The defending champion, Liverpool, was dumped out by Atletico Madrid (+1200) on the last day of the competition back on March 11, setting up a wide open final eight. Right now, the best bets look to be Manchester City and Bayern Munich, especially considering the odds for City will shorten if it ends up knocking out Real Madrid. If you think Real Madrid (+3300) can overturn the deficit, which is a distinct possibility, Zinedine Zidane’s club is well worth the flyer, since Los Merengues odds will drop drastically if they advance to the quarterfinals.
Closer to home, the MLS is Back Tournament is set to kickoff on July 8 in Florida (hopefully). This one-off mid-season tournament, thought up due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will have all 26 MLS teams playing in six pools (five with four teams, one with six) before the knockout rounds start with eight Round-of-16 matches on July 25.
Group E has the New York Red Bulls, heroes of the Ironbound, as co-favorites with Atlanta at +200, with Columbus just behind at +240. NYCFC, which has a budding rivalry with the Red Bulls (although the Red Bulls will mention DC United and Philadelphia), is the favorite in six-team Group A at +333, ahead of Philadelphia +350. But five teams are +450 or under, so the group has value no matter which team you take.
To win the tournament, all three NJ area teams are inside the top seven. LAFC is the favorite at +400, with the Red Bulls fourth choice at +1400, NYCFC joint fifth choice at +1600 with the Union and four other teams.
Talk about betting value: with the teams coming back from a long break right into the action, this could be a decent spot to take a chance on a long shot.
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