Backing the Brits?
English sides dealt tough European draw while Celtic face Juve
By Jamie Casey - Twitter: @skyjamiecasey. Last Updated: December 21, 2012 3:25pm
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Thursday's second-round draw for the UEFA Champions League proved unkind on British teams, with Sky Bet going 7/5 that there'll be no UK representative in the last eight of the competition.
Manchester United, who were 10/1 to win the tournament for a fourth time prior to the draw, drifted out to 14/1 after being dealt their most difficult pairing possible in Real Madrid (9/2).
Being pitted with the reigning La Liga champions hasn't put off punters taking up our 14/1 offer, though, with over 1000 bets placed at that price within hours of the draw. Barcelona, incidentally, remain the favourites at 2/1.
Fellow Premier League side Arsenal have been pushed out from 25/1 to 33/1 in our outright betting having been tasked with ousting last season's finalists Bayern Munich, the tournament's joint-third favourites at 13/2.
Meanwhile, Celtic are flying the flag for Scottish football and have been rewarded with a tough tie against European heavyweights Juventus (9/1 for the tournament), with the Bhoys 4/1 to progress through the tie.
However, Neil Lennon's men have the longest outright odds of any team left in the competition at 125/1, along with Turkish champions Galatasaray, who must overcome a slick Schalke side (33/1).
The difficult outlook for British teams prompted Sky Bet to open a knock-out specials market, with Celtic 10/1 to be the only UK club in the last eight, while both Arsenal and Man Utd to qualify for the next round is 13/2.
Bundesliga champions Dortmund, joint-third favourites with domestic rivals Bayern, have received enormous backing at 9/2, with many feeling this year's campaign could be dominated by German clubs.
We go 11/4 that the nationality of the eventual winners will be German, a valuable price considering there's three representatives. Spain also has three teams remaining, but at 5/6 it'd be tempting to opt for a German winner instead.
Later on Thursday saw the draw for the Europa League, Europe's secondary club competition, in which the Premier League has four representatives.
Despite winning the Champions League last season, Chelsea are only second favourites (13/2) behind holders Atletico Madrid (6/1) to win the Europa, with the Blues facing Sparta Prague in their first test.
Liverpool (14/1) will be less than satisfied with another long trip to a big-spending Russian side, with Zenit St Petersburg sure to provide Brenden Rodgers a stern test - but they're 4/5 on to progress through the tie.
Tottenham, meanwhile, are 16/1 to win the tournament after being paired with experienced Ligue 1 side Lyon, while Newcastle (28/1) also travel to eastern Europe to face FC Metalist Kharkiv.