There is often that moment when a team is deemed to have finally arrived as a true force in European football. It’s probably a bit of a stretch to say that it happened for Tottenham Hotspur for the first time on Wednesday night.
After all, they have had some stunning European nights in recent years, including the 3-1 defeat of Real Madrid last season.
However, the 3-0 hammering of Borussia Dortmund, which all but guarantees a quarter-final place for Spurs, was nevertheless a reminder of how far Spurs have come along under Mauricio Pochettino. Make no mistake about it: this team is a contender for the Champions League crown.
Indeed, with all the talk of Liverpool and Manchester City riding high in the Premier League this season, it’s easy to forget the fact that Spurs are in the mix. In fact, Manchester City (21 wins) are the only team in Europe’s Big 5 leagues to have more wins than Spur’s tally of 20 this season. They are a force in England, and they should be increasingly thought as such in Europe.
Spurs have generous odds for Champions League win
In terms of the betting odds for the Champions League, Spurs are still surprisingly big odds. The general price seems to be about 14/1, although they are as high as 17/1 with 888sport and Unibet, two bookies who are covered with these online betting offers.
The point is that Spurs, with one foot in the quarter-finals, are almost double the odds of, for example, Liverpool, who have yet to play their first leg against Bayern Munich. The Reds clock in at 9/1 with most bookies, with Bayern further back at 14/1.
Moreover, if you look at the odds of Manchester City, 3/1 with Bet365 and others, it feels like Spurs are really something of a value bet. Sure, City, Barcelona, and PSG have much better squad depth, but this Spurs team, despite a lack of additions in January, are capable of beating any of those sides on their day.
It’s also probably worth remembering that Spurs’ best player will be back in the starting line-up in the next few weeks. He has been out of action since the defeat to Manchester United in January, but his return should coincide with the most pivotal part of Spurs’ season.
Kane will boost a side doing well in his absence
While the England captain will give a boost to the side, it shouldn’t take away from how others have stepped up in his absence. Son Heung-min already had claims to be one of the most underrated players in Europe, but Tottenham fans know his worth already. His performances have been crucial in recent weeks – 11 goals and 5 assists in 12 appearances.
In the end, the biggest worry for Spurs is that they haven’t quite got the knack of winning – or drawing – in the ugly games. Famously, they are the only team in the Premier League without a single draw this season, but they might have to learn how to play for a result in some of the later fixtures in this competition.
Can Spurs go all the way? Of course, but there are arguably better-equipped teams left in the competition. In saying that, bookies and some pundits have probably underestimated their chances. Those odds mentioned above should likely be 20 or 30% lower than they are. Mauricio Pochettino will probably prefer things as they are for his Tottenham Hotspur boys – slipping nicely under the radar.
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