Atletico MadridWhen the 2013-2014 La Liga season started, there were very few punters who would have suggested that fans should place bets on Atletico Madrid to emerge as winners. Madrid’s second club have a huge following in Spain, and they were much improved under Diego Simeone, but were still viewed as perennial losers. The loss of Radamel Falcao to Monaco was seen as the beginning of the end for Simeone’s Atletico, especially after they failed to spend money to replace the Colombian hit man.

However, Atletico Madrid proved that season starting odds of 25-1 on their success were fantastic value. With a huge percentage of punters placing money on either Real Madrid or Barcelona, those that stuck their neck out on Atletico were handsomely rewarded.

Football is a sport where the winner often comes from a group of three or four teams who are considered pre-season favorites. However, recent events have shown that unpredictability is still possible. Atletico Madrid of 2013-2014 are a prime example, with their progress in La Liga and the Champions League coming as a surprise to all pundits, betters and fans.

There were similarly impressive successes for Borussia Dortmund in recent years, with the German club winning two league titles in 2010/11 & 2011/12 and reaching the Champions League final last season. They were rank outsiders when compared to their richer and more illustrious rivals Bayern Munich.

Liverpool had a very impressive 2013/2014 season, with no one expecting that they would finish in the top four of the league, let alone mount a serious challenge for the league title. Liverpool are a historically significant club, but their recent spending and achievements meant that they were at long odds to get in the top four. Betters may have felt they were making a safe choice by picking Manchester United over them, but their performances proved many people wrong.

The success of these teams has come against expectation and logic, but it shows that there is still a lot of room for outside betting success in European football. Think an outsider can win next year’s Premier League? Click here for the latest odds.