The first round of the UEFA Europa League knockouts is done and most favorites did as expected. I believe now it’s a good moment to take a look at the outright winner betting odds and evaluate what the best wagers are.
Let’s take a look at the main favorites.
Most bookmakers have Inter Milan as the top favorite for the Europa League crown. The Italian team is one of the strongest left in the competition and took a comfortable 2-0 away win against Ludogorets yesterday. I don’t think that Inter will have any problems in the second leg either.
What bothers me about Inter is that the Serie A title fight might affect the side. At some point of the season, Antonio Conte will have to rotate his squad and that could cost the side in Europa League.
I’m still not convinced in Inter’s depth and while the club is certainly among the best out there, the price of about 6.00 offered by most bookmakers simply doesn’t make sense at this point.
It’s hardly a shocker that Manchester United is among the favorites. The Red Devils have invested a lot of money in the squad and they should have a deep run in the Europa League. Let’s not forget it might be their only chance to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
That’s a powerful motivator for the players and the manager. On the negative side, Manchester United has been wildly inconsistent this season.
Impressive victories against strong opponents have been mixed with disappointing defeats against modest sides. I wouldn’t rely on Manchester United to lift the trophy when the odds are around the 7.00 mark.
It’s hard to ignore the most successful team in the history of the Europa League. Sevilla has the quality to go all the way and earned an important 1-1 draw against Cluj on Thursday. The Spanish side dominated most of the match but failed to convert many of its chances.
It’s still a favorite result before the second leg and I expect to see Sevilla in the round of 16. The question is if the side can combine the top 4 battle in La Liga with the engagements in Europe.
I think it will be tough and that could be an issue in the late stages of the season. That’s why I don’t like the price of 9.00 for the Spaniards.
I was worried about Arsenal because Olympiacos is no joke. The Gunners had a tough first leg in Greece and the hosts had opportunities to open the scoring. They failed, though, and Arsenal took full advantage after a late Lacazette goal which was enough to win.
The side’s confidence is growing and the Europa League remains the most obvious path to the Champions League next season. Arsenal is too far behind in the Premier League, so I believe Arteta will focus on Europa.
That puts the Gunners in a good position, but they still have too many problems on the pitch. I’m not sure that a price of 9.00 or so is worth a wager.
I love what Nuno Espirito Santo is doing with Wolverhampton and the 4-0 victory against Espanyol was impressive. However, let’s not forget that the Spanish side is last in La Liga, so I wouldn’t draw too many conclusions from this match.
The bookmakers and certain bettors obviously did, as the price for the Wolves to win Europa League right now has now dropped to around 9-10.00.
With all due respect to the club, that’s a joke and I even won’t bother explaining why. Just don’t back Wolverhampton right now. I believe that the team can win, but you should wait for a better moment to bet in the future.
The Dark Horses
As you can see, I don’t like the odds for any of the favorites right now. The prices of less than 10.00 at this point of the competition and with so many contenders simply lack value.
Instead, I believe some of the underdogs are worth considering. Roma struggled against Gent but still won 1-0 at the end. That’s a decent result before the second leg and the Italians will most likely focus on the Europa League by the end of the season.
They are six points behind Atalanta in the Serie A, so the top 4 seems out of reach right now. The price of 15.00 for Roma to win is decent.
The same can be said about the 17.00 or so you can get for Getafe. The team has been excellent all season long and sits third in La Liga. Most people expected to see the Spaniards out against Ajax, but they took a 2-0 lead after the first leg.
The Dutch side is a shadow of the monster that reached the last 4 of the Champions League last season and I don’t think that Ajax has a big chance to progress.
The only teams that make sense right now, in my opinion, are Getafe and Roma. They are strong enough and could afford to focus mostly on the Europa League. On top of that, you can get double the prices compared to the favorites.
If you want to back some of the big guns, I would advise you to wait for a while. The odds for some of them might rise if the draw for the next round is unfavorable and that’s when you can get better value.