SOCCER

Champions League Final Betting Guide: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid (5/28/22)

Real Madrid have found a way to survive some perilous situations in this season's UCL. Should you bet on them to knock off Liverpool in Saturday's final?

Two of Europe's biggest clubs tangle Saturday for the most cherished trophy in club soccer as Liverpool and Real Madrid meet at 3 p.m. EST in the Champions League Final in Paris.

We've already covered the match from a DFS perspective, so let's take a look at some of the ways you can make a buck via the betting market.

Here are three bets to make on FanDuel Sportsbook.

Liverpool to Win (+100)

This number was +110 on Wednesday, and it might keep moving in Liverpool's favor if the injury news continues to be positive for Fabinho and Thiago. I'd grab this sooner rather than later.

This is pretty simple in my eyes -- Liverpool are a better team than Real Madrid.

Does that mean the Reds are a lock to win in regular time? Of course not. Anything can happen in one match, especially a cup final. Plus, I would argue Manchester City are definitely a better side than Real Madrid and PSG might be, too, but Madrid knocked out both on their way to this final.

It's difficult to compare team-wide stats for squads that compete in different domestic leagues and have very few common opponents, but when you look at the numbers for Real Madrid and Liverpool, it's hard to feel great about the chances for Los Blancos.

The Reds, playing in a Premier League that's likely a bit more stout than La Liga, averaged more points per match (2.42 to 2.26), scored more goals (94 to 80) and conceded fewer goals (26 to 31) than Real Madrid did. Going by FBRef's expected goals, Liverpool finished with an expected goal differential of +55.0. Madrid put up an expected goal differential of only +27.3. And, again, Liverpool did it in a better league.

Real Madrid have an incredible history in this competition, and they have overcome adverse situations so many times en route to the final. Maybe their name is on the trophy, and maybe their expected goal differential would have been better if they got pushed in a title race domestically.

But all signs point to Liverpool being the superior side, and I'd jump at this while it's still +100.

Luis Diaz to Score or Assist (+140)

Diaz joined Liverpool in January and immediately became an impact player for the Reds. He wasted no time earning a starting spot on the left-wing, and his emergence has pushed Sadio Mane into a central position while relegating Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino to substitute duties.

Diaz finished the EPL campaign with four goals and three assists in 11 starts, but he was a little unlucky in the goal department, per FBRef, as he tallied 4.5 expected goals. In Europe, he totaled two goals and an assist in six appearances (three starts). Once again, his expected stats were a smidge higher (2.3 goals and 1.1 assists).

Diaz will see a lot of Real Madrid right-back Dani Carvajal, and I think it's a matchup he can win. I like Diaz to contribute to a goal -- either scoring one or assisting one -- on Saturday.

Vinicius Junior to Score or Assist (+165)

Vinicius is another winger in a favorable one-on-one matchup.

In a breakout 2021-22 season, Vini racked up 17 goals and 10 assists in 30 La Liga starts, and he's added three goals with six assists in 12 UCL starts. He got an assist in both legs against Chelsea in the quarterfinals, and he posted one goal over two legs versus Manchester City in the semis. In the lone match in which he didn't score or assist over his past four UCL appearances (second leg against City), Vini amassed 0.5 expected goals and 0.2 expected assists.

In short, Vinicius has proved he can deliver the goods against top teams, and this is an advantageous matchup for him.

He'll get to take aim at Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, the weak link defensively on the Reds' back-line. For as good as Alexander-Arnold is going forward, defensive duties aren't always at the forefront of his mind. When Alexander-Arnold pushes forward on Saturday, which he'll likely do often, it will leave space behind for Vini to run into on counters.

All it takes is one break for Vini to get on the scoresheet -- as he showed against City -- and with how sharp Karim Benzema has been this season, especially in the latter stages of the UCL, Vini can notch an assist by just getting the ball to Benz around the box.

Liverpool are +215 to keep a clean sheet, and the match is -136 to go over 2.5 goals. We should see fireworks, and Vini will be heavily involved in Madrid's attack.