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Europa League analysis – including a 9/1 selection…

Thursday 29th October 2020

In Across the Leagues today:

  • Europa League tonight…
  • Scorers notebook…
  • 9/1 Treble…

Europa League analysis – including a 9/1 selection…

You can’t call every game right. I won’t lose much sleep over Man Utd hammering RB Leipzig, 5-0, when my pick was for the German side to get a result…

Until a functioning crystal ball gets patented, we’ll stick to the calm acceptance that it’s not actually possible to predict the future. (If anyone had 5-0 for that one, then I tip my hat to you.)

What we can do, though, is always do our homework. And only ever bet when we feel there’s a bit of value in the odds. In that respect, yesterday’s other featured match was a good example of both…

We focused on the discipline stats and form. Juventus 0 Barcelona 2 went Over 4.5 Cards (there were 8 in total, including a red).

And in terms of the highlighted match-day pick on that game, we successfully hit on the Penalty Awarded and Scored, at a top price 13/5 (3.6). Or 9/2 (5.5), if you took the Barcelona to Score a Penalty option.

The updated key stats to note after that outcome:

  • Over 4.5 Cards bets have now paid out in 9 of Barcelona’s last 11 Champions League games
  • 5 of Barcelona’s 7 games in all competitions this season have seen a penalty scored

Lionel Messi (of course) converted the late penalty kick for Barca last night. Leo has now got three goals in total this season, and they’ve all come from the spot.

In Wednesday night’s Champions League games overall, six of the eight matches featured penalties. The penalty markets – and players that take pens – will stay on our radar moving forward. In the age of VAR and dodgy handball rules, it seems no game is ever far away from seeing a 12-yard kick or two.

Going back to that Man Utd match, Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano didn’t land the Player to be Booked odds. But it’s fair to say he didn’t have a good evening, either. As one commentator put it, after substitute Marcus Rashford turned the French centre back and smashed in the second of his three goals – Upamecano was ‘destroyed.’

Rashford, Mason Greenford, and Anthony Martial might’ve knocked a few million off of Upamecano’s price tag there. Which might suit Man Utd nicely, seeing as they’re linked with signing the 22-year-old next summer.

Scorers notebook for tonight…

It’s Europa League day today. There are a whopping 24 games on the list, with half of them kicking off at 5.55pm, and the others at 8pm.

Earlier in the week we rounded-up four goalscoring midfielders that have featured in our analysis recently. Two of those men could be involved in front of goal again this evening…

Our midfield men…

Andreas Gruber has a home match in Austria (LASK Linz v Ludogorets, 5.55pm).

The 25-year-old midfielder has scored in four of eight appearances in all comps so far this term. He’s around 6/4 (2.5) to score Anytime in tonight’s game, and 5/1 (6.0) and 9/2 (5.5) to score First.

Since joining Linz this summer, two of Gruber’s four strikes have landed the First Goalscorer odds. And he had a knack of scoring first for his old club Mattersburg last season, with seven of his 10 scoring appearances in 2019/20 landing the opening goal of the game.

Linz are odds-on favourites for the home win, at 3/5 (1.6). At bigger prices, backing one of their standout players for the first goal looks a decent tactic here. Gruber’s first-goal record says he’s a better prospect than the odds suggest.

It could also pay to keep Celtic penalty taker Ryan Christie onside this evening (Lille v Celtic, 5.55pm)…

At the start of the month, I flagged Christie up as an Anytime Scorer prospect for Scotland’s game against Israel, at a top price 11/4 (3.75). After a teammate tested positive for coronavirus, Christie then had to self-isolate, and miss that game, and those that followed.

Ryan is back playing now, and found the net from the penalty spot in Celtic’s 3-3 draw at Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday. He could do something similar on the road again today, with Neil Lennon’s team travelling to Lille (France is due to go into lockdown from midnight tonight, but today’s match is still set to go ahead).

Price is key here. Christie is available at 4/1 (5.0) and 3/1 (4.0) to score Anytime. In comparison, he’s priced at just 13/8 (2.38) to score in the upcoming Scottish FA Cup game v Aberdeen this weekend.

Familiar names…

Elsewhere in the Europa League scorer markets today, familiar names like Zlatan Ibramimovic (AC Milan v Sparta Prague) and Edin Dzeko (Roma v CSKA Sofia) are both odds-on favourites in the Anytime Scorer betting.

And with Gareth Bale in line for a start (Antwerp v Tottenham), the Welshman is 6/5 (2.2) across the board to get his first goal since returning to Spurs.

Rising star…

A lesser-known name is Benfica’s new record signing, Darwin Nunez. The 21-year-old Uruguayan announced himself on the European stage last week, scoring a hat-trick in Benfica’s 4-2 win at Lech Poznan. The young forward followed that up with another strike in a 2-0 win in the Portuguese league at the weekend.

Nunez might have only just arrived, but Benfica coach Jorge Jesus sounds like he’s fully expecting to have to sell the rising star once the cat is out of the bag…

“He will be a top world player. Unfortunately I might lose him in the near future."

Bet365 are sticking their neck out with the best prices on Nunez today (Benfica v Standard Liege, 8pm). With 5/4 (2.25) for him to score Anytime, while all other firms are slight odds-on, at around 4/5 (1.8).

In the First Goalscorer betting, Bet365 are an industry-best 5/1 (6.0), with 7/2 (4.5) and 3/1 (4.0) elsewhere.

I’d say let’s strike while the iron’s hot, and take the best price on Nunez tonight.

9/1 Treble…

It’s not often I go for a Match Result combo in this competition, but these three sides all stand out at decent prices for the win this evening, with recent form in their favour. And with the rolled-up odds paying 9/1, that makes it worth getting involved for a win treble:

(All 8pm kick offs)

  • Granada to beat PAOK Saloniki – Granada have started the season well, sitting 3rd in La Liga in Spain, and with 4 out of 4 home wins in all comps. PAOK Salonika are 6th in the Greek league, and have won just one of their last 7 games overall

Last week, Europa League match-day one produced more away wins (12) than home wins (9), with half of the 24 matches seeing the visiting team take all three points. These two could continue that trend on the road tonight:

  • Bayer Leverkusen to beat Slavia Prague – Leverkusen have also made a bright start to 2020/21. The German side are 4th in the Bundesliga, and unbeaten in 7 games in all comps. Leverkusen travel to Prague on the back of 6-2 and 3-1 home wins, and their scoring power could do the damage again this evening
  • Rapid Vienna to beat Molde – continuing the theme, Rapid Vienna are 2nd in the Austrian Bundesliga, and have won 7 out of 10 games overall in 2020/21. That includes 3 straight away victories, with score-lines of 4-3, 5-1, and 2-1. Molde are 2nd in the Norwegian league, but only escaped with a 2-1 Europa League win at Dundalk last week thanks to two late goals, having trailed for much of the match

Today’s picks

Europa League

LASK Linz v Lodogorets

  • First Goalscorer: Andreas Gruber @ 5/1 (6.0) with Boylesports, 9/2 (5.5) Bet365, Betfred, 4/1 (5.0) in general

Lille v Celtic

  • Anytime Scorer: Ryan Christie @ 4/1 (5.0) with Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook, 16/5 (4.2) BetVictor, 3/1 (4.0) Skybet, William Hill, Betfred

Benfica v Standard Liege

  • First Goalscorer: Darwin Nunez @ 5/1 (6.0) with Bet365, 7/2 (4.5) Boylesports, 3/1 (4.0) Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook, Betfred, Betway

Granada v PAOK Salonika
Sparta Prague v Bayer Leverkusen
Molde v Rapid Vienna

  • TREBLE: Granada, Bayer Leverkusen & Rapid Vienna to win @ 9/1 (10.0) with Bet365, Betfred, BetVictor, William Hill, Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook, Betway, Boylesports

I’ll be back tomorrow with angles and analysis for the weekend.

Enjoy the football…

Best wishes,

Oliver Upstone

Oliver Upstone

Across the Leagues