This Saturday, Manchester City has the chance to put the final touches on a mighty fine treble. Already in possession of the Premier League title (finishing eight points clear of archrival Man United) and the EFL Cup (overcoming Tottenham 1-0 in the final in April), the Citizens will meet Chelsea in an all-English finale to the UEFA Champions League season.
The match will take place at Estadio do Dragao in Porto, Portugal, on May 29th at 3:00 pm ET (8:00 pm local time).
According to Champions League odds from sportsbettingdime.com, City is heavily favored to add a third trophy. On average, Man City is a -225 favorite to lift the trophy, with Chelsea a +169 longshot.
Reached for comment, sportsbettingdime.com’s lead oddsmaker, Sascha Paruk, said that the betting market gives City a 65.1% chance to win the UCL crown and Chelsea a scant 34.9%.
The betting public may be underselling the Blues, however.
The website understat.com tracks the expected number of goals for and against for all teams in the EPL (and other top leagues around the world). Their numbers are based on the quality of chances created and surrendered, not on the actual number of goals scored. By their calculations, Chelsea was a close second to Man City in expected goal differential in the Premier League. Chelsea’s had a +37.76 expected goal differential. City was at +42.11, better, yes, but not in a different stratosphere.
Additionally, fivethirtyeight.com keeps an updated ranking of roughly the top 640 teams in the world. Their rankings are based on both in-game-performance data and individual-player data (i.e. roster construction). Fivethirtyeight ranks City as the top team in the world at 92.8, with Chelsea fourth at 90.0, ahead of Liverpool, Real Madrid, Man United, and PSG.
To put their ranking points in perspective, the 2.8-point gap between City and Chelsea is considerably less than the gap between Chelsea and Real Madrid (86.5), Man United (85.5), and PSG (84.6). Both understat and fivethirtyeight rank City and Chelsea’s defenses as nearly identical, while both also have City’s offense as slightly more potent.
It’s possible that recent injury news – make that, health news – will lead to Chelsea’s odds shortening before the match, as well. Edouard Mendy and N’Golo Kante were both able to train this week. Kante missed Chelsea’s final EPL match with a hamstring injury while Mendy suffered an in-game injury that led to him being subbed off.
Fortunately for the Blues and fans the world over, it looks as if we will get battle between two relatively healthy superpowers for the biggest prize in club football.