I’m all about singing the praises of Liverpool and Mohamed Salah, especially after the superstar footballer and supporting cast somehow kept up with Man City in an exhausting sprint to the Premiership finish line.
Reds couldn’t catch Citizens but sure had a lot of fun trying.
And yes, absolutely, the 2nd-half comeback to beat Barcelona on May 7th deserves to live in Anfield (and UEFA) lore forever.
But – could you feel the “but” coming? – none of that makes Salah’s Reds a solid moneyline pick on Saturday.
I’ve been using some process-of-elimination while looking at standard game lines for the Liverpool vs Tottenham final at Wanda Metropolitano. While the betting action of the past week or so has favored the Premier League runners-up, there aren’t many narratives that have cropped-up since domestic league play finished-out which would make Liverpool an even larger favorite.
Reds’ injury issues aren’t looking any less severe than Spurs’ for instance. Except that such a key player as striker Harry Kane is sidelined in Tottenham’s case. Or is he?
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) May 22, 2019
Since Kane’s clod-hopping around the training pitch doesn’t seem to be making Spurs a popular wager to win the Champions League, let’s try to figure out what is causing the gambling trend.
Current Betting Odds for Liverpool vs Tottenham
After opening with an (Even) line-to-win at Bovada Sportsbook, Liverpool is now a (-105) wager to win without penalties, while Tottenham’s payoff line has grown fatter at (+305).
Other sportsbooks are leaning even further toward Jürgen Klopp’s club. GTBets.eu is offering (+320) payoff on a Spurs winner alongside (-111) for Liverpool.
That’s a line to consider, especially when you consider Klopp’s history in final matches.
I already liked Tottenham at the sportsbook’s original line of (+290), though we know more about the injury situations now. (+320) is a bargain wager on a spirited football club.
Salah is a superstar whom we know is healthy. Apart from that angle, it’s hard to see why the Las Vegas numbers would lean Liverpool’s way at this stage…except for the natural tendency of supporters to bet on the favorites in such a big event as a UEFA club final.
Will Harry Heal in Time?
It’s clear that the betting public is extremely skeptical of Harry Kane’s chances to play in the Champions League final in Spain, even though skipper Mauricio Pochettino is “optimistic,” and of course there’s that Twitter training photo aimed not-so-subtly at Liverpool.
Is it all a ruse? Maybe if each side has its own headaches and roster issues, a missing striker won’t matter as much. Hugo Lloris and Allison could always stare each other down behind stout backlines (Tottenham’s backline is, in my opinion, still underrated by pundits at times) and frustrate every opposing forward and midfielder for a half or 90 minutes.
Lasting injury problems are foreign to neither side. Prior to the miracle comeback against Barcelona, the 2nd leg of the Champions League semifinal resembled a demolition derby. Andrew Robertson was among those helped to the dressing room by medics.
With the final in Spain only about a week away, the Reds have announced that Guinean midfielder Naby Keita will miss the match, though things do seem a bit brighter for key attacker Firmino.
But is Tottenham being under-valued due to their last opponent’s modest reputation?
Don’t Forget 2019’s “Other” Semifinal Comeback
Liverpool’s die-hard victory in the semifinal was over a marquee opponent and an icon, Lionel Messi. Tottenham’s comeback win in its own semifinal was over a crazy upstart from the Dutch league.
Both victories were equally impressive in their own way.
Ajax, after all, had squashed Ronaldo and Juventus in a fabulous upset just 2 weeks prior to meeting Spurs in the 1st leg. Sons of the Gods stormed into Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on April 30th and took a 1-0 aggregate lead, led by tons of fresh talent from Africa and Dutch academy programs.
It was up to a side which had seen its Premiership hopes dashed when Kane fell in early spring to somehow find resolve to come back on hostile turf in Amsterdam.
But even the loss of Manchester City from the ranks wasn’t going to prevent an all-English final in the Champions League this time around. Unless the Dads of the Gods would have swooped down and took away Lucas Moura.
— JioTV (@OfficialJioTV) May 16, 2019
Liverpool’s rally at Anfield was a banner day for Kopites, but Spurs’ 2nd half in Amsterdam wasn’t any less noble or fantastic just because less supporters on-hand were cheering. Internally, you’ve got to think Pochettino’s club is enjoying a comparable vibe of confidence and momentum.
Handicapping the Best Bet in Madrid
Gamblers are giving a single 90+ minute match in Spain the same treatment as they might have given, say, Tottenham and Liverpool’s futures lines to win the competition back in April. This is a championship fixture that will occur on June 1st.
A quick handicapping hypothetical – suppose with Spurs still in the hunt for a 2018-19 Premiership title – and suffering from injuries even then – would Liverpool have been a (-111) wager to beat Tottenham at a neutral site? Or more like a (+125) wager?
This fish might be called Wanda, but the odds smell a little fishy.
Whether Harry Kane glories, sags, limps, labors or sits in the stands on June 1st, Tottenham has more than enough skill and veteran presence to knock-off Liverpool once in 3 tries in this event. The (+320) line at GTBets.eu is sorely mispriced.
I’m also liking Bovada’s (+0.5) spread on Tottenham in the Champions League final.
Spurs will be in the thick of it in Madrid…win, lose, or draw.
Kurt has authored close to 1000 stories covering football, soccer, basketball, baseball, ice hockey, prize-fighting and the Olympic Games. Kurt posted a 61% win rate on 200+ college and NFL gridiron picks last season. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.