Sports Betting Guide

How can UEFA coefficient help with Champions League betting?

If you are a big UEFA fan, then you should be quite familiar with coefficients this football association assigns to all the teams based on their recent performance and whatsoever. While it has been proven to be an imperfect method to assess teams’ winning chances, how, in reality, can it help make successful Champions League predictions? Read on.

uefa chamions league betting guide

What are UEFA coefficients & how do they work?

Long story short, UEFA coefficients are nothing else but the evaluation system of the teams competing in the Champions League, Europa League, and starting this year - Europa Conference League. There is a list of points assigned to each team based on their current and previous performances. Basically, those points are awarded for individual match results and how far those teams progress within each tournament.

UEFA Champions League 2021/2022 points

Events Points
All wins from group stage onwards 2
All draws from group stage onwards 1
Group stage bonus participation 4
Round of 16 bonus participation 4
Each round clubs reach from the Round of 16 1

For more information about how the points are calculated for the UEFA Champions League & other competitions (Europa League & Europa Conference League), please visit the official UEFA website.

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In short, this system uses the results of the clubs taking part in any of the association’s tournaments from the five previous seasons. It helps to determine the seeding of each club for the upcoming UEFA draws. The system also uses the highest of the two rankings (sum points from the most recent 5 seasons & association coefficient).

Does a higher coefficient mean higher winning chances?

The common opinion about the UEFA coefficient is that it is quite useless. However, there is only one way to find that out. Thus, let’s show you the results of the top-ranked (based on the UEFA coefficient) teams during the group stage & the knockouts from the last 5 seasons. 

Season Top 2 teams to advance from the group Knockouts won
2016/2017 14/16 11/15
2017/2018 9/16 11/15
2018/2019 12/16 5/15
2019/2020 12/16 8/15
2020/2021 10/16 8/15

Based on the data from the above table, we can clearly see a positive ratio of the teams with a superior coefficient producing better results against their less coefficiently-favoured rivals. Speaking in numbers, the top 2 group coefficient teams have advanced from their groups into the Round of 17 in over 70% of the cases. However, that number decreases quite a bit when knockouts come about, corresponding to less than 60%. Having that in mind, you can genuinely say that the UEFA coefficient is not that useless as the majority of society would think.

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Well, there is one «IF», the above statement is 100% correct only if you do not consider the coefficient difference between the teams & the teams themselves. In order to find that out, you must review & analyse the results of all the matches during the last five seasons. Based on the data provided by one of the leading betting sites, the teams were divided into three groups based on their coefficient difference:

  • Group 1 - teams with 0.5 - 19.5 points over their opponents
  • Group 2 - teams with 20 - 39.5 points over their opponents
  • Group 3 - teams with 40+ points over their opponents
Coefficient Group Win Draw Loss
1 36.84% 28.07% 35.09%
2 45.57% 23.28% 30.15%
3 61.70% 19.15% 19.15%

As you can see for yourself, the ratio shows a positive tendency of a coefficiently superior team winning the Champions League matchup. What is more, the bigger the difference between the teams, the more likely they were to win. If you take a look at Group 1 & Group 3, you can see that UEFA favourites won twice as many matches against the UEFA underdogs. Another good observation that can be made is that while all the groups won more matches than they lost, Group 1 teams ended up winning just slightly more than losing (36.84% to 35.09%). Overall, all the teams won just 54.41% of their fixtures compared to the 45.59% when they ended drawing or losing, which does not provide substantial evidence of the higher UEFA coefficient teams being more favourable to win.

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Let’s move on and get even more specific with the data we have & take a look at how those groups perform on the home & away grounds.

Coefficient Group Home Away
Win Draw Loss Win Draw Loss
1 41.37% 34.48% 24.15% 34.48% 27.58% 37.94%
2 58.97% 15.38% 25.65% 33.33% 33.34% 33.33%
3 66.10% 15.25% 18.65% 57.80% 22.02% 20.18%

Looking at the same data from a different angle, we get somewhat different results. While the tendency of higher-ranked teams being more favourable to win at home remains, the majority of cases fail to represent the same results when it comes to playing at the away ground. As you can see, both Group 1 & 2 did not manage to win more away matches with Group 2 teams producing even fewer wins than Group 1 sides. The only thing that remains constant, is Group 3 teams producing possessive results both home and away, however, still being a bit less productive away from home.

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In order to have an even better understanding of whether or not higher-ranked teams perform better against lower-ranked opponents in the Champions League, let’s have a look at their performances during the group stage & the knockouts.

Coefficient Group Group Stage Knockouts
Win Draw Loss Win Draw Loss
1 37.36% 34.09% 28.55% 28.57% 21.43% 50.00%
2 45.44% 31.48% 23.08% 47.62% 0.00% 52.38%
3 66.30% 18.23% 15.47% 45.65% 19.57% 34.78%

The results are quite straightforward. As it appears to be, higher UEFA ranked teams perform substantially better during the group stage than during the knockouts. It is quite interesting that Grop 2 clubs have won more knockout matches than group stage ones, however, drawing none & losing more at the later stages of the tournament.

Another thing that stands out the most is that all the groups lost almost twice as many times during the knockouts than during the group stage. What is more, Group 1 & 2 got an L in 50%+ matches, which shows that coefficient superiority provided no identifiable advantage.

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How useful are the UEFA coefficient for betting?

So, it is time to answer the main question - does the UEFA coefficient appears to be a good tool to help your betting? According to the data we have above, the method of using the UEFA coefficient to predict Champions League matches only proves to be reliable to predict the outcomes of the UCL home group matches.

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While it would be quite risky to rely solely on this information when betting on the Champions League, the method shows us that it is much easier to predict the outcomes of the group stage matches rather than the ones taking place further in the tournament.

Obviously, using the UEFA coefficient as one of the sources will surely provide you with some extra information, however, the method itself comes with obvious limitations due to its very nature. A true football expert and/or experienced bettor will tell you right away that a lot can be changed in a span of five years, which is the criterion that lies at the base of this ranking system. In other words, the coefficient system used by UEFA is likely to suggest a more consistent performance in the Champions League than it is in reality.

Overall, it could be a great add-on to your already existing betting toolset, however, bear in mind that it lacks such information as current form, injuries, head to head history, etc. Please, be extra careful, and always bet responsibly.

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