It’s Red Sox-Yankees, Ohio State-Michigan, Bears-Packers. The May 27 UEFA Cup Champions League final between Manchester United and Barcelona pits the two best soccer teams in Europe.
"We handle more on the Champions League matches than any other club leagues that we offer," said Jeff Sherman, race and sports supervisor at the Las Vegas Hilton. "UEFA gets more play than Barclays Premier League, Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, MLS and the Mexican Premier League."
Sherman said the handle for the Champions League has increased as the competition has come down to the final, set for the famed Stadio Olympico (pictured) in Rome. "In recent years the handle for the final has been impressive," Sherman stated. "With the top two club teams in the world making it, this year’s handle is expected to be the largest we have seen at the Hilton."
The Hilton is offering a number of prop wagers on the final besides the overall winner. Currently the line is dead even with both Manchester United and Barcelona listed at -110 to win in the regulation 90 minutes. The prop for 90 minutes plus injury time has each side +170 to win with a draw at +220. If you follow soccer at all, betting the draw is always a smart play.
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Also listed is a halftime/fulltime double result. Manchester United and Barcelona are each 7-2 to lead after the first half and the conclusion. The longest odds are 25-1 that the first half winner and the eventual champion will be different. "We will be offering second half wagering on the match, which too has seen a tremendous response," Sherman said.
There is also a prop for which player will score first. The top three on each side are Cristiano Ronaldo 11-2, Wayne Rooney 7-1 and Carlos Tevez 10-1 for Manchester United; Lionel Messi 13-2, Samuel Eto’o 7-1 and Thierry Henry 7-1 for Barcelona. There’s also 8-1 odds that there will be no scorer in regulation and injury time. Any goals during extra time and penalty shots do not count for the prop.
ESPN will televise the final live on Tuesday, May 27 at 11:45 a.m. PT. Manchester United and Barcelona were the two favorites at the Hilton since the competition for the Cup final began last year.
The UEFA Champions League Cup has been competed for since 1956. Manchester United has won the title three times – last year, 1999 and 1968. Barcelona has won the title twice – 2006 and 1992. Real Madrid has the most titles with 9, including the first five years (1956-60).
Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Mark Mayer