Champions League Group D betting preview
Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC / Juventus FC / Getty

Atletico Madrid have to be sick of Cristiano Ronaldo by now.

The superstar's hat trick in Turin sent Atletico packing from the Champions League last season, his hat trick in Madrid denied them a place in the final in 2017, and he scored the winning penalty against them in the 2016 final.

At this point, Ronaldo is living rent-free in Atletico's heads. He and Juventus will get another crack at them in Group D, which also includes Bayer Leverkusen and Lokomotiv Moscow.

Team To win group To qualify Not to qualify
Juventus 5-8 1-8 5-1
Atletico Madrid  3-2 2-9 3-1
Bayer Leverkusen 12-1 9-4 1-3
Lokomotiv Moscow 66-1 10-1 1-18

Group winner

Scheduling could prove to be a driving factor in which side finishes top of the group. Atletico will have the Madrid derby just days before their trip to Moscow, a date with Valencia ahead of their visit from Leverkusen, and then a trip to Sevilla a few days before their return fixture against the Bundesliga outfit.

Juventus' fixture list is even more daunting. They'll visit Fiorentina and Atletico in a five-day span, contest the Turin derby days before a trip to Moscow, visit Atalanta ahead of their return fixture with Atletico, and travel to Lazio just before visiting Leverkusen.

The depth of both of those sides will be tested. Juventus have the tougher schedule but they also boast a deeper squad. Maurizio Sarri has no shortage of quality to select from in midfield and attack, and while Giorgio Chiellini's injury is a setback in defense, the signings of highly touted young center-backs Matthijs de Ligt and Merih Demiral will help soften the blow.

Atletico brought in a number of reinforcements over the summer, but the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Diego Godin, Juanfran, Filipe Luis, Lucas Hernandez, and Rodri left the club over the summer. They did well to replace them, but lost a wealth of experience, especially in defence, which can't be replicated right away.

Juventus have certainly been prone to Champions League upsets in recent years, but Atletico have not won their group since 2016-17, and they will take some time to get going with all the new faces in the squad. That should be the difference.

Pick: Juventus to win Group D (5-8)

To qualify

Leverkusen had an excellent transfer window that built off last season's momentum, bringing in Kerem Demirbay, Moussa Diaby, Nadiem Amiri, and Daley Sinkgraven to fortify the squad ahead of their Champions League return. This was already a capable team that features Jonathan Tah and Panagiotis Retsos anchoring the defense, Lars Bender organizing things in midfield, and an embarrassment of riches in attack with Kai Havertz and Leon Bailey leading the pack.

Lokomotiv were equally active, managing not to sell anyone while bringing in Grzegorz Krychowiak, Luka Djordjevic, and Joao Mario, among others. With the Miranchuk brothers - Anton and Aleksey - and Fedor Smolov already leading the attack, this is a very strong squad that will make life difficult on opponents that make the long trip to Moscow.

Leverkusen are back in the Champions League for the first time since 2016-17, when they beat Tottenham to place second in their group behind Monaco. Meanwhile, Lokomotiv's return to the competition did not go as planned last season, as they lost five of six matches en route to a last-place finish. Perhaps with a year under their belt, they can make some more noise this time around.

But while Leverkusen boast plenty of experience in the competition, there's just too big of a gap between these two sides and the clear top two in Group D. There's an outside chance Leverkusen can beat Atletico to second, but it's not high enough to put your hard-earned money on it.

Pick: None

Alex is a sports betting writer for theScore. A journalism graduate from Guelph-Humber University, he has worked in sports media for over a decade. He will bet on anything from the Super Bowl to amateur soccer, is too impatient for futures, and will never trust a kicker. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.

Champions League Group D betting preview
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