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Betting on the 2019 Europa League – Quarter-Final Update
It may not have quite the glamour and prestige of the Champions League, but the Europa League has had just as much excitement this season.
And with the quarter-final and semi-final draws now completed, we have more of an idea who might be lifting the trophy in Baku at the end of May.
Most round of 16 ties went as expected with only Sevilla’s exit at the hands of Slavia Prague a real surprise result.
There were some other big-name casualties, however. Inter was knocked out by a very good Eintracht Frankfurt side that was able to go to Milan and get a famous 1-0 victory in the second leg.
Salzburg is another club who has performed well in this competition in recent years. But it faced a tough task against Napoli. Being three goals down from the first leg was always going to make it difficult, and the Italian side could afford to lose 3-1 in Austria and still go through.
I’m going to take a look at the latest prices for the remaining clubs at the soccer betting sites before assessing the quarter-final ties and making some Europa League picks.
Latest Europa League Odds
With the quarter-finals and potential semi-finals now known, the bookmakers have updated their prices on the outright winner of the Europa League.
These are the latest odds, courtesy of Betway.
Chelsea remains the favorite to win the cup with their odds narrowing thanks to their extremely favorable draw against Slavia Prague. Although he is probably far too pragmatic to look past the Czech side, manager Maurizio Sarri must be very happy with that.
The Premier League club will face either Benfica or Eintracht Frankfurt in the semi-final — if they get through — and both of those sides should give the London side a sterner test.
An interesting thing to note after the draw is that while both Napoli and Arsenal’s odds lengthened slightly after being drawn against each other, it is Napoli that the bookmakers favor.
The first leg was switched due to UEFA rules forbidding Arsenal and Chelsea playing at home on the same night, so now the Italian side can look forward to a raucous home crowd cheering it on in the second leg.
Valencia and Eintracht Frankfurt are two clubs to keep an eye on. Both are attractively priced due to the caliber of clubs still left in the competition but could progress from their quarter-final ties feeling confident of being more than a match for whoever they face in the semis.
The 2019 Europa League Quarter-Final Draw
Much like the Champions League draw that took place slightly before the Europa League’s, the four quarter-finals are all intriguing matchups with some really good-looking games to look forward to.
- Arsenal vs. Napoli
- Villarreal vs. Valencia
- Benfica vs. Eintracht Frankfurt
- Slavia Prague vs. Chelsea
The obvious stand-out tie here is Arsenal vs. Napoli. Aside from drawing Chelsea, it is the toughest pairing that Arsenal could have gotten. This will be a real test for Unai Emery’s side that has lost the control and sheen that they were showing earlier in the season.
Napoli has just about conceded the Serie A title to Juventus and — knowing that it will definitely qualify for Champions League soccer next season anyway — will be desperate to win a European trophy for the first time since 1989.
Chelsea should have no trouble with Slavia Prague, although it should be wary of a side that managed to eliminate perennial Europa League winner Sevilla from the competition. Any kind of victory in the Czech Republic should make the home leg a formality for the English Premier League club.
The other two ties will probably attract less attention but are just as interesting in their own ways. The all-Spanish affair brings together a Villarreal side who is battling against relegation after a woeful season in La Liga and a club who used to be a Champions League regular and is only now getting back to its rightful position in European soccer.
Valencia will be the favorite to go through and may well cause some problems for either Napoli or Arsenal in the semi-final.
Eintracht Frankfurt is one of the in-form clubs in this competition and will have nothing to fear going to Lisbon for its first-leg game against Benfica. After dispatching Inter in the previous round, I expect the German side to repeat the performance at the quarter-final stage.
My Latest Europa League Picks
Chelsea may be the big favorite to win the Europa League, and I can’t see them having any trouble against Slavia Prague, but Maurizio Sarri’s side has been inconsistent recently in the English Premier League, and a few of the top players are being linked with summer moves. The price for a Chelsea triumph is far too short for my liking, so I’m going to look elsewhere for my outright winner pick.
Although I think that Valencia is underrated with odds of 9.00, I think either Napoli or Arsenal can beat them in the semi-final. A price of 5.50 for Arsenal is tempting, but I think, now that the legs have been switched, Napoli will be able to use the attacking talents of Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens, and Arkadiusz Milik to great effect in the Stadio San Paolo and progress.
A Maurizio Sarri final between his current club Chelsea and his former club Napoli would be a great ending to the Europa League season, and I feel that in a one-off game, the Italian club would be too strong in what would be a very attack-minded game.
A lot depends on how the first-leg games go, and the bookmakers have updated their betting markets now that the quarter-final and semi-final draws have been made. All the games have been priced fairly evenly except Chelsea’s fixture in Prague — but I can’t see Slavia winning either leg in that tie.
Although I fancy Napoli to go all the way and win the Europa League, Italian clubs are notoriously poor travelers, and Arsenal could get a result in the first leg. But the odds of a home win at the Emirates are just 2.25, and I would want a little bit more to attract my interest.
I do feel that Eintracht Frankfurt has the ability to cause problems for Benfica both home and away, and the stage is set for Luka Jovic to win the tie for the German club. The Serbian player is currently on loan at Frankfurt from the Portuguese club and is one of the top goal scorers in this competition and the Bundesliga.
A draw would be a fantastic result for the German club in the first leg in Lisbon, and as the odds are bigger than for an away win, that would seem to be the value bet here.
Although soccer traditionalists would have liked to see clubs with the stature of Inter and Sevilla still in the competition, the Europa League quarter-final stage is full of exciting teams and players and some very interesting-looking matchups.
With the winner of the Europa League automatically qualifying for next season’s Champions League, the stakes are even higher now, and the competition promises even more passion and heartbreak over the next few months.
I will keep you updated with the betting markets as the quarter-finals and semi-finals progress, but for now, let’s get ready for some more incredible Europa League action.