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A meeting of the best football clubs in Europe and the entire world, the UEFA Champions League may be the best football competition in the world bar none. In this guide to betting on the Champions League with William Hill, you will read about the history of this great tournament as well as find out about some of the betting you can do at William Hill during Champions League play.
UEFA Champions League History
The UEFA Champions League was first started in the mid-1950s. It was known at the time as the European Cup and featured 16 teams from around the continent. The early stages of the tournament were dominated by Spanish giants Real Madrid, who won the European Cup multiple times in the first few years of its existence. The tournament later rebranded as the European Champion Clubs Cup, which put league champions into a tournament to determine the best team in Europe.
Over the course of the Champions League’s history, Real Madrid has continued to be the most successful team in the tournament. They have won the Champions League an astounding 12 times. From those early European Cup titles to their modern era wins led by Cristiano Ronaldo, Los Blancos have been incredible in continental competition.
Other clubs have had massive successes in the Champions League as well. AC Milan has won the title seven times in their history, putting them second to Madrid’s total. Bayern Munich, Barcelona, and Liverpool have all won five European crowns. Bayern and Barca have seen most of this success come in the modern era. The two clubs have combined for six titles since the year 2000.
The Champions League in general has been a competition where a limited number of teams have had success. Less than 40 teams have ever qualified for the Champions League Final in over six decades of competition. The big clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona frequently stack up those accolades, while a very select club of other teams have had the honor of getting there.
UEFA Champions League Format
The format of the Champions League helps the event last the majority of the club football season. The first round of the tournament is the qualification rounds, where teams who have won lesser leagues play to determine who will qualify for the group stage. These matchups usually culminate with teams that finished a little lower in high-profile league tables battling it out for the final spots in the group stage. However, teams from smaller leagues like Bulgaria’s Ludogorets have been known to sneak into the tournament as well.
Once the qualification period is complete, the Champions League group stage draw takes place. Here, the 32 participating teams are separated into four pots. The first pot is reserved for the defending champions and champions of the top seven leagues in Europe. Pots two through four are filled based on each team’s UEFA club coefficient score. One team from each pot is drawn into each group. Teams from the same country cannot be drawn into one group.
After the groups are drawn, the group stage gets started. In the group stage, teams play one home match and one away match against each of the three teams in their groups. In total, a team will play six matches against the three teams in their group. At the completion of six group stage rounds, the top two teams in each of the eight groups move onto the knockout rounds. The third place team in each group are sent into the Europa League knockout round. If a team finishes in fourth place in their group, their season of European competition is over.
For the teams that advance to the knockout stages, they are randomly drawn against a new opponent in each round. To advance through each round, teams have to outscore their opponent in a two-legged tie, with each team hosting a leg. If the teams are even on total goals after two 90-minute matches, the number of away goals serves as the tiebreaker. If that is also even, teams will play an additional 30 minutes of extra time. If things are still even after that, penalty kicks will decide the winner.
Once the knockout stages produce two remaining teams, they play in one match to determine the UEFA Champions League winner. That match is played at a neutral location that is predetermined before the beginning of the tournament. Of course, it is possible that the site of the final is the home of a team participating in it. However, that is rare.
What Champions League Betting Markets Are Available at William Hill?
Fortunately for fans of Champions League football, William Hill has a ton of betting markets to choose from. Given how much attention is paid to the Champions League every year, the bookmaker provides options to cover every angle of the action. Whether you just want to wager on who you think will win the game, or you want to get into more intricate wagers, William Hill has the Champions League action for you.
Full match betting markets are posted well in advance for Champions League games, especially during the group stage where match schedules are known in advance. As it gets closer to match day, players can wager on who they think the first goalscorer will be in matches, along with other prop bets. Some of those additional prop bets include whether or not a red card will be shown during the match or what the exact score of a match will be.
You can also use a William Hill promo code to get some extra funds for betting on the Champions League. Those funds can also be used on in-play wagers, which there are many of during every Champions League game.
No matter what kind of football betting you like to do, William Hill has something for you during the Champions League. Betting on the Champions League is the ultimate way to add even more intensity to one of the world’s most intense athletic competitions.