Who'll reach the knockout stage?
At the halfway point of the Champions League Group Stage, let's take a look at each team's odds of reaching the knockout stage. We crunched the numbers by using 10,000 simulations of ESPN's Soccer Power Index, which predicts the outcomes of matches based on each club's results over the previous four seasons. The results for the matches that begin today can be found in the four tables below, in the column "Percent-to-Advance."
Not surprisingly, defending champion Inter Milan is a virtual lock to advance, needing only a win today to clinch a berth in the Round of 16. Tottenham's chances may seem high, but SPI says Spurs have a 64 percent chance of getting at least a point at home today against Inter. That, plus a home game against Werder Bremen and a road trip to Twente, the weakest team in the group, should be enough for Tottenham to move on. Despite being level on points right now, Werder has a sizable edge over Twente primarily because it is a 75 percent favorite in today's head-to-head matchup in Germany.
This group is cut-and-dry. Lyon is almost through already, needing only a win today over Benfica to advance. Schalke has a three-point advantage over Benfica, and Hapoel's hopes of getting through are virtually non-existent.
This is the only group in which the chances of advancing do not directly align with the current standings. As expected, Manchester United is a near certainty to reach the knockout stage. Despite trailing Rangers by a point right now, Valencia is favored to finish ahead of the Scottish champs as it is a 72 percent favorite to win its match in Spain.