Earlier this week, UEFA confirmed a number of changes to the Champions League. These changes will come into affect for the 2018/19 season meaning nothing will change for the current season.
UEFA have altered the kick-off times and allowed more teams to enter straight into the group stages of the tournament.
These changes could have a seriously positive impact on Champions League matched betting.
Altered kick-off times
One of the main changes to 2018/19 season will be the kick-off times. Group games which have all traditionally kicked off at 7.45pm will now move to 5.55pm or 8pm slots. There will be two games in the first slot and the remaining 6 games will take place in the later slot. Here’s what UEFA said about the changes.
‘The new kick-off times will offer more viewing opportunities for fans while maximising media value.’
As we’re talking about UEFA it’s probably more of the latter – they’re seemingly only concern is the amount of money they bring in.
Granted, more people will be able to watch two games (one in each slot) rather than changing between channels as is the current method.
Increased teams in group stages
The number of teams entered directly into the group stages of the Champions League will go up to 26 instead of the current 22, an increase of 4 teams. The top 4 teams in the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga and Serie A will all automatically qualify for the group stages of the Champions League.
This is a change from the current system where the top 3 teams automatically qualify and the fourth goes into a round of playoffs. This is obviously good news for teams who currently sit in fourth position – Tottenham in the Premier League.
The Europa league will see similar changes with 17 clubs now heading straight into the group stages with a further 10 dropping in from the Champions League.
These two changes will only affect the group stages of the tournament. The competition and timings will remain the same from the group stages onwards.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) February 27, 2018
Champions League matched betting: How is it affected?
This is great news for matched betting. With more teams in the group stages for both the Champions League and the Europa League, there are more events to place our matched bets and potentially more promotions offered by the bookies.
For free betting previews I recommend checking out Football-Bookmakers.com.
In terms of the later kick-offs, this will also have a beneficial impact on matched betting. With two different time slots, there is more potential for us to place more matched bets. This will also significantly help in-play betting. Here’s what Alistair Gill from Kindred Group said about the changes.
‘Back to back matches should certainly open up the possibility of additional revenue. In-Play will be absolutely key here, as the staggered kick off times will allow our players to bet Live on more than one game per match round.
Currently with all group stage matches kicking off at the same time, cannibalisation is an issue we struggle with as one individual game takes fans away from betting on other games that are on at the same time.
Unsurprisingly, a huge driver of In-Play betting is the ability for a punter to be able to watch, follow or fully engage in the match they’re betting on. When they’re all on at the same time this will restrict a lot of players to Live betting one game, but this change will open that up to allow them, in practice, to do so on 2.’
All in all this is great news for the betting industry and specifically matched betting. It’s hard to find a downside to these upcoming changes other than the increased time people will spend watching football games.