The 2017/2018 Champions League starts on 27th June (qualifying), with the final being played on the 26th May 2018.
Real Madrid are the defending champions, having last year retained the title beating Juventus 4-1 in the final. Two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo provided a familiar ending. Having won it the previous two years, it is no surprise that they’re favourites to win it again for this campaign.
Here are all the important dates you need to get into your diary to make sure you avoid any clashes. Valentine’s day will be the tricky one for many.
- Group stages – 12th September ’17- 6th December ’18
- Round of 16 -13, 14, 20 and 21 February (first legs) and 6, 7, 13 and 14 March (second legs),
- Quarter Final – 3rd & 4th May (first legs) and 10 & 11th April (second legs)
- Semi Final – 24th & 25th May (first legs), and 1st & 2nd May (second legs)
- Final – 26th May 2018
This year there are some changes to how matches are shown. Last year there was two games that kicked off at the same time of 7:45pm. Going forward, one of the matches will kick off at 6pm, and the second match will kick off at 8pm to enable people to watch more of the games. The 6pm fixtures will be a challenge to get out of work on time in the UK to see. We’re sure pubs around the corner from the office will do well out of this.
How to Watch the Champions League Live on TV
BT Sports hold the broadcasting rights in the UK, requiring a subscription.
However, as part of the deal, BT Sport will make the final available free to watch, including on Freeview. In the past, when BT Sport have had free to view games, it has only been broadcast in standard definition, leaving people to reflect on how they ever coped watching live sport before HD rolled out.
There have been other, larger ‘issues’ with BT Sports holding the rights to the Champions League. Historically, when Sky held the rights in conjunction with ITV, it meant there were games available on terrestrial. That’s no longer the case. As a result, interest in the Champions League has been declining, and the amount of people watching it has reduced.
There was concerns at UEFA about this impacting the long term interest in the competition, so ahead of the most recent auction for rights, there was speculation that they would ensure some of the games was broadcast on terrestrial again. There was even a rumour that Channel 4 could show some games.
However, things have got worse for fans without BT Sport. BT Sport trumped everyone with a bid of £1.2bn to extend their right to exclusively broadcast Champions League football up until 2021. We’re sure as soon as UEFA saw the £1.2bn bid, any concerns about accessibility to watch the games disappeared.
Furthermore, BT also won the rights to show highlights, so there will be absolutely no coverage of the tournament on terrestrial TV at all. Some highlights will be made available on social channels.
Champions League Betting Odds
Real Madrid start as favourites. English teams have struggled a lot in this competition in recent years. It remains to be seen whether the injection of TV money into the Premier League will change this as early as this season, but the odds remain quite long. Here are the odds prior to the group stages starting:
- Real Madrid – 5.50
- Barcelona – 6.50
- Bayern Munich – 7.50
- Paris St Germain – 7.50
- Man City – 11.00
- Juventus – 13.00
- Man Utd – 15.00
- Athletico Madrid – 17.00
- Chelsea -17.00
Champions League Betting Offers
There are a loads of offers for the Champions League, and often new ones appear. See our football offers page for the latest ones, and we’ll continue to update this page each week.
- Hoffenheim vs Liverpool (15th Aug ’17) – Back a first goal scorer and correct score in this match, each with a stake of £5 and Boylesports will award you a £2 free bet which will automatically be placed on a scorecast based on your selections.
- Celtic vs Astana (16th Aug ’17) – Back a first goal scorer and correct score in this match, each with a stake of £5 and Boylesports will award you a £2 free bet which will automatically be placed on a scorecast based on your selections.
- Get paid out as a winner if your team goes two goals up – This offer is from Paddy Power and is available for all games. If your team goes 2 goals up, Paddy Power will pay you out as a winner straight away. There has been some great historic comebacks in this competition, including Liverpool in Istanbul so nothing is a given here.
- Accumulators on your champions league bets – We’ve written up an entire article on where it is best to place your accumulator bet so we’d recommend heading over here to check them all out.