Champions League Betting: Dortmund and United the smart bets

The Champions League returns from its winter slumber this week, with the round of 16 set to wow fans around the continent. But where should your money be going? We take a look at the runners and riders...

The favourites

Barcelona (3.00) remain the team to beat according to the markets. Tito Vilanova's side is romping to another Spanish title, meaning they can afford to rotate to keep players fresh for European matches. Leo Messi's unstoppable form makes it hard to bet against them, but a couple of injuries could really harm what is a fairly small squad. There are no such problems for Real Madrid (5.50), who have an embarrassment of riches in all areas. Benzema not scoring? Chuck Higuain on. Ozil injured? Luka Modric comes in. The one issue for Los Blancos may be team spirit; the relationship between Jose Mourinho and his players is spikier than ever before. Bayern Munich (8.00) are also in good shape, and boast a squad full of experience. If Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery can stay fit, they could be real contenders.

The chasing pack

Borussia Dortmund (8.00) were superb in the group stage, going through above Real Madrid and at the expense of Manchester City. Their swift counter attacks and ruthless pressing make them a match for any side - and 8.00 could soon be made to look very generous. Juventus (11.50) also progressed at the expense of an English giant. The shine has come off the Italian champions slightly in the last couple of months, but they will be confident of seeing off Celtic (120.00) to reach the quarter-finals. Manchester United (15.00) face a much trickier tie - against Real Madrid - but have the luxury of a cushion at the top of the Premier League. Sir Alex Ferguson will be desperate to add one more Champions League trophy to his collection, and it would be foolish to write them off. Paris Saint-Germain (20.00) have some great players, but it may be too much to ask for them to translate potential into achievement just yet.

The outsiders

Arsenal (30.00) can compete with the best on their day, but their day simply doesn't come often enough. Schalke (50.00), who qualified from the same group, would have been delighted to draw Galatasary (100.00), but the Turkish side could be real wildcards with Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder. Porto and Malaga (both 50.00) both impressed in the autumn - whoever progresses from their tie might be worth consideration. Elsewhere, Valencia (60.00) and Milan (80.00) both have proud histories, but their current crops of players means that a title this year is unlikely.

Best bets

Back Dortmund to win the Champions League at 8.00.

Back Manchester United to win the Champions League at 15.00