2017/18 UEFA Europa League Outrights, Betting Tips, Predictions & Odds
48 European clubs will compete for the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League starting Thursday 14th September with the final set to be held at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais in France on Wednesday 16th May 2018.
There are many familiar names and some not-so familar in the draw this year. Don’t forget that eight clubs from the UEFA Champions League will join the group winners and runners-up in the round of 32.
The official result of the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League Group Stage draw!
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) August 25, 2017
With so many teams featuring in the tournament, we pick out the main ones to keep an eye on and offer our best UEFA Europa League betting tips.
UEFA Europa League Winner Predictions
When looking at the outright odds for the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League winner, you will see two sides dominating the market. AC Milan (7/1) and Arsenal (8/1) are the top two in the betting and they are so by a long way. After them, you will find Villarreal, Everton and Athletic Bilbao (all 25/1). That’s a huge difference in price, so you would have thought there would be some value with some of these teams. I’m not so sure.
You have got to remember that eight teams currently playing in the Champions League will drop down to the Europa League when the knock-out stages begin in February. The Europa League final has featured at least one team who transferred from the Champions League for nine out of the last 10 years with the 2011/12 final between Atletico Madrid and Athetlic Bilbao being the only one that didn’t. Of these finals, two were comprised fully of teams who transferred from the Champions League meaning only 9/20 teams to feature in the last 10 Europa League finals were actually in the competition from the start. In total, four of the last 10 winners had actually started their European journey in the Champions League. This means we need to be very thrifty with our Europa League winner bets.
The Big Guns
I already backed Arsenal at odds of around 9/1 before the draw was made (and before Milan caused havoc in the transfer market) and I expect the Gunners to justify this price in the UEFA Europa League this year. They have by far the best squad in the competition and they should be reasonably happy with their group draw as they face BATE, Koln and Red Star Belgrade. Of course, away trips to Belarus, Germany and Serbia aren’t easy for any team but the bookies have Arsenal at 1/3 to win their group and I have to agree with this price as they should walk it. I expect world-class players such as Alexis Sanchez, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil to be bringing exciting European knock-out football to the Emirates on Thursday nights this year and these guys should be key in taking the Gunners all the way.
My only issue with Arsenal in Europe this year is, how serious will Arsene Wenger take it? In my eyes, with the race for a top four finish in the Premier League more competitive than ever, Arsenal should be making the Europa League one of their main priorities this year as they look to recapture their impressive status as a Champions League club.
As previously mentioned, Arsenal and AC Milan are head and shoulders above the rest in the outright market and with the squads that these clubs possess, it’s easy to see why. Milan brought in no fewer than nine transfers this summer to help bolster their squad and with players such as Leonardo Bonucci, Hakan Calhanoglu and Andre Silva now representing them, the Italians should be competing for silverware this season.
Other than a 4-1 hammering at Lazio, they have started the year off well, winning all six of their other competitive games. They will face Austria Vienna, Rijeka and AEK Athens in the group stages which on paper, should be a breeze.
Splitting your money on each-way bets on these two clubs to win the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League at similar prices could be a wise move come May.
The Best of the Rest
After a strong transfer window, you will find Everton at a top price of 25/1 which is slightly tempting considering they now have the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Wayne Rooney and Jordan Pickford in their ranks. Despite these impressive signings, amongst others, I won’t be backing Everton this time around. I can’t see them being stronger throughout the tournament than the two teams we previously mentioned as well as the majority of the teams that drop down from the Champions League when the round of 32 draw is made in December. The group draw hasn’t exactly been the kindest to the Toffees either as they play Lyon, Atalanta and Apollon early on.
Villarreal seem to be ever-present in the UEFA Europa League in recent times but they failed to make it past the round of 32 last year and with a fairly unspectacular transfer window, it’s hard to see how they will improve on that effort. I can see them having a tough time in the group stages to be honest as they face Slavia Prague, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Astana, all of which represent tough match-ups both home and away.
Of the three teams priced up at 25/1, Athletic Bilbao are the side that I am most interested in. Spanish teams have a good pedigree in this competition and after a disappointing round of 32 exit to APOEL last year, Bilbao will want to accomplish a similar season to that of the previous year where they made it to the quarter-finals before an unfortunate knock-out by Sevilla on penalties. The influential Aritz Aduriz will score goals in this competition and Bilbao have always been a strong side at home but it is their away performances that seem to let them down and for this reason I cannot bring myself to back them, even at 25/1. They should progress to the knock-out stages along with Hertha as they face Zorya and Ostersund in their group but I can’t see them performing well enough away from home in the later stages of the competition to justify a bet.
Last year’s semi-finalists, Lyon could be ones to watch should they make it through their slightly tricky looking group featuring Everton. They have the likes of Memphis Depay, Nabil Fekir and Bertrand Traore in their ranks and an added incentive of perhaps featuring in the final in their own stadium. Even at a top price of 28/1, I can’t back Lyon to win the Europa League until they adequately replace Alexandre Lacazette. They made it to the semi’s with him last season as he scored 6 goals in the competition so we surely can’t expect them to go further this time without him.
UEFA Europa League Group Winners Betting Tips
With 12 total groups in the competition, we pick out the best bets for your UEFA Europa League group winners betting tips.
Group C – Hoffenheim
Hoffenheim were a surprise package in the Bundesliga last season as they finished fourth, just two points behind Dortmund. They put in a valiant effort in their Champions League two-legged qualifier versus Liverpool and most recently beat Bayern Munich 2-0. They have a young, smart manager in Julian Nagelsmann who should be able to navigate his way through Group C and come out on top. Odds of around 6/5 look great as they face Basaksehir, Braga and Ludogorets.
Group F – Copenhagen
Copenhagen came into the competition from the Champions League last year before being knocked-out in the round of 16 by eventual finalists Ajax and it’s their Champions League experience alongside their very impressive record at home that leads me to believe they will win Group F ahead of Lokomotiv Moscow, Zlin and Sheriff. As long as they start the group stages with a win at home versus Lokomotiv, they should win this one.
Group G – Hapoel Beer Sheva
Some crazy odds for the side from Israel here. Steaua and Plzen may be ahead of them in the betting but both of them failed to qualify from their groups last year whilst Hapoel managed to qualify…ahead of Southampton and Inter! Steaua and Plzen are no longer the talented European teams that they used to be and I can’t see Lugano being solid enough defensively to get through this one. The value is certainly on Beer Sheva to win Group G.
Group J – Hertha Berlin
The matches between Hertha and Bilbao should decide the winner of Group J but as previously mentioned, I do not trust Bilbao away from home. Odds of 7/4 on Hertha look promising before the opening group game between the two in Berlin. With some young talented players and an impressive strong record at home, I am going to predict them to win the group ahead of Bilbao, Zorya and Ostersunds.
Group K – Nice
Another surprise package of last year, Nice finished third after an remarkable season in Ligue 1 and they managed to keep hold of most of their star players including Jean Michael Seri, Mario Balotelli, Alassane Plea and this season they have added Wesley Sneijder. Their Group K opponents, Lazio, had a very lively transfer window but I do not feel they adequately replaced the stars they sold. The games between the two sides should be very entertaining to watch but I feel the value has to be with the French to win this group as they face Vitesse and Zulte early on.
Group L – Zenit
My favourite pick of the groups. Zenit qualified from their group last year winning 5 games and scoring 17 goals, only second to the flawless Shakhtar. The meetings against Real Sociedad will provide their biggest threat but Mancini’s side certainly look to be the better of the two on paper. Odds of evens are very appealing on the Russian side who sit top of their domestic league and are the only team there yet to lose a game.
UEFA Europa League Betting Tips
Our football tipsters will offer you their best Europa League betting tips for every gameweek. Just head to our Europa League page for accumulators, correct score doubles, anytime goalscorers and much more!
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Source: Football News