Last season’s Champions League runners-up Manchester United are 7/1 via Paddy Power to go one better this season as they prepare to start their campaign with a trip to Benfica.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s men are odds-on at 10/11 (Totesport) to kick off with a victory in the Estadio da Luz and given the way they have started the season domestically, it’s difficult to oppose United in Portugal.
Admittedly, Benfica are decent on their own patch but the Red Devils’ form away from home in this competition last term was impressive, they didn’t concede a single goal on the road unless you count the final and they can prevail ‘to nil’ in this one, an outcome Ladbrokes rate at 12/5.
Rampant Wayne Rooney meanwhile, is a tempting 11/2 (William Hill) to follow up his consecutive Premiership hat-tricks with the first goal in this one.
Manchester City are making their debut in the competition in its’ current guise but Roberto Mancini’s charges are nevertheless as short as 11/1 with Boylesports to go all the way. The Premiership high-flyers have what on paper looks like the toughest group but Betfred make City just 2/5 to land maximum points in their opener against Napoli at Eastlands.
The Serie A side are no pushovers but they didn’t fare particularly well against the top teams domestically last season and doubts persist about their ability to mix it with elite opposition. The hosts are the pick then and like they’re neighbours they’re fancied to combine victory with a clean sheet (6/4, Ladbrokes).
Man Utd and Man City to both win ‘to nil’ – 15/2 (Ladbrokes)