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Betting on the Winner of the UEFA Europe League – Latest Odds and Free Picks

| September 14, 2018 12:00 am PDT
UEFA Europa League 2018

I must admit, I’m not the biggest fan of the UEFA as an organization, and I feel they make a lot of mistakes, deliberate or not. However, the decision to provide a place in the Champions League for the Europa League was absolutely brilliant.

It has revitalized the competition, because the teams from the top European leagues now have a lot more motivation. Europa League gets especially exciting once the knockout stages are reached.

However, it all starts with the groups, of course. The draw was conducted on August 31st, so we now have a good idea of what to expect at the start.

The timing is great to check the odds of the best soccer bookies and see if there are valuable betting opportunities for the most popular outright market – Europa League winner.

But before we proceed to that, let’s check the draw.

The Draw

Group A

  • Bayer Leverkusen
  • Ludogorets Razgrad
  • Zurich
  • AEK Larnaca

I feel that this group is trickier than it looks. Bayer Leverkusen is certainly the big favorite for a place in the next round, but all of the other teams have a shot, too, especially Zurich and Ludogorets.

If the Germans are not careful enough, they could get dumped early.

Group B

  • Salzburg
  • Celtic
  • RB Leipzig
  • Rosenborg

I would say that this group has a strong case to win the “Group of Death” tagline. At least three of the teams will be eager to progress and have some solid arguments for that.

Rosenborg is the underdog here, but the Norwegian side is hardly doomed.

Group C

  • Zenit
  • Kobenhavn
  • Bordeaux
  • Slavia Praha

I think Zenit won’t have any problems going through, but the second spot from this group C is wide open. All of the three sides have a chance to reach the knockouts.

I think Bordeaux has the best squad but also the tougher schedule because of the competition in the French league.

Group D

  • Anderlecht
  • Fenerbahce
  • Dinamo Zagreb
  • Spartak Trnava

This one is another close group on the surface, but I feel that Fenerbahce won’t have any issues going through the knockouts. Anderlecht is the other favorite, but Dinamo Zagreb can certainly surprise one of the favorites.

Group E

  • Arsenal
  • Sporting
  • Qarabag
  • Vorskla Poltava

If there is one group that looks quite easy to predict, it’s this one. Arsenal should win it easily, while Sporting should finish second. Of course, Qarabag and Vorskla Poltava may have other thoughts on the matter.

Group F

  • Olympiacos
  • AC Milan
  • Real Betis
  • Dudelange

The fact that Dudelange managed to qualify for the group stage of Europa League is nothing short of a miracle. The team from Luxembourg is a huge underdog in this group, but the other three teams are quite strong, and it will be a tough ride.

Group G

  • Villarreal
  • Rapid Wien
  • Spartak Moskva
  • Rangers

This other “Group of Death” includes three teams that have the potential for a deep run in the tournament. I think Villarreal will go through, but the second spot could go anywhere at this point.

Group H

  • Lazio
  • Marseille
  • Eintracht Frankfurt
  • Apollon

I believe that Lazio and Marseille are better prepared to cope with playing twice a week than Eintracht, which makes them the favorites to go through.

Still, the German side has the quality to fight for a place in the next round of the Europa League.

Group I

  • Besiktas
  • Genk
  • Malmo
  • Sarpsborg

The two Scandinavian teams will be in a tough position, as both Besiktas and Genk have stronger squads and will push hard for a place in the knockouts.

Group J

  • Sevilla
  • Krasnodar
  • Standard Liege
  • Akhisar Belediyespor

I will be watching group J of the Europa League carefully, as I feel that Sevilla is one of the teams that could go all the way. The Spanish side should have no issues in this group.

Krasnodar and Standard Liege are supposed to fight for second, but the Turkish Akhisar Belediyespor could upset the odds.

Group K

  • Dynamo Kyiv
  • Astana
  • Rennes
  • Jablonec

The Ukrainian Dynamo is the team to beat here, but the other three teams in the group have their own chances.

I’m not sure if Rennes will cope with the challenge of playing in Europe, as the side doesn’t have the deepest squad.

Group L

  • Chelsea
  • PAOK
  • BATE Borisov
  • Vidi

Chelsea is probably the favorite to win the Europa League at this point. They should go through with ease, while BATE Borisov and PAOK are the main favorites for the second place.

Still, Vidi surprised the soccer world during the Champions League qualifiers and shouldn’t be underestimated.

Winner Odds, Prediction, and Betting Picks

After quickly checking the groups, it’s time to look at the strongest teams that will most likely win the UEFA Europa League.

Before I proceed with that, I would like to say that the future winner of the competition might not be playing in it right now.

As we all know, the third-placed teams in the group stages of the Champions League continue in the Europa League, so this should always be on your mind. Fortunately, some bookies have figured this out, as you will see from the odds below.

AC Milan21.00
Any team from the CL2.5

Let’s take a look at each of these betting options in some more detail.

Chelsea (7.00)

Normally, a team of Chelsea’s quality should be playing in the UEFA Champions League, the strongest club competition in Europe. The competitive nature of the English Premier League is the reason why players like Eden Hazard, Willian, and Marcos Alonso will be part of the Europa League.

The club was in a rather tough spot last season, as the tension between Antonio Conte and the board reflected on the performance on the pitch. As a result, Chelsea was unable to get into the top 4, and the Italian is now gone.

He was replaced by countryman Maurizio Sarri, who’s had a flying start. Chelsea has yet to drop points in the English Premier League, and the team is playing very well. All the core players seem to be at their best, including Willian and Alvaro Morata.

Both were unhappy under Conte, especially the forward, who blames his former manager for the abysmal 2017-2018 campaign.

If I have to be honest, I’m not entirely sure about that. Morata has been rather inconsistent for most of his career, so he has to take responsibility for actions and improve.

The good news for Chelsea is that the experienced Olivier Giroud will be waiting for his chance, so the team does have two solid strikers. Both could partner the likes of Hazard, Pedro, and Willian, so the attack looks set.

The situation is similar when it comes to defending, as Chelsea managed to keep its core. The only notable loss was the departure of goalkeeper Courtois, but he was replaced by the promising Kepa from Athletic Bilbao.

Overall, I can easily see why Chelsea is among the main favorites.

This team should have no problem reaching the last 16, and this is where the tournament begins for them. I think the price of 7.00 is not bad at all.

The only problem with English teams is the gruesome competition in the domestic league. Still, Chelsea has a lot of depth and shouldn’t have to rely on its best players until the spring.

Arsenal (9.00)

The other London superclub in the Europa League, Arsenal, is the second favorite, according to the online bookies. The side is in a transition after the departure of long-time manager Arsene Wenger.

His successor, Unai Emery, has a tough task at his hands, and the first impressions are mixed. I feel that he addressed the right positions during the summer transfer market, but I’m not sure if he got the right personnel.

Arsenal is looking exceptionally strong in attack so far. The likes of Aubameyang, Ozil, Lacazette, Ramsey, and Mkhitaryan are certainly one of the strongest offensive units in the Europa League, if not the strongest one.

At the same time, Arsenal has familiar issues at the back. I’m not entirely sure if the reason is the new system that Emery is trying to install or the long-standing bad habits that were part of the Wenger reign. I would assume that both are true to an extent.

The good news for Arsenal is that the team is too strong to have any issues in this tournament, at least until the phase of the last 16.

The relatively easy group Arsenal finds itself in will allow Emery a lot of time to work with his players and probably even add a couple of more signings in January before any serious opposition is faced.

The price of 9.00 is exceptional, in my opinion, especially if you consider Unai Emery’s record in the Europa League. The guy certainly knows how to win this tournament.

Sevilla (15.00)

Since we mentioned Unai Emery’s record in the competition, it’s time to take a look at Sevilla. The side has won the Europa League multiple times under their former manager, and new boss Pablo Machin will be hoping to do the same this year.

The problem is, I’m not sure that Sevilla has the quality to compete with the two London clubs and possibly some of the teams that will arrive from the Champions League. Especially since the squad took a hit in the summer.

Sevilla lost Clement Lenglet and Steven Nzonzi, which will affect the defensive performance of the side, as both were essential. I don’t think the new boy Ibrahim Amadou could do the same job immediately.

On the positive side, the club did buy Quincy Promes in one of the few big deals on Deadline Day. The creative winger will add some spark to the Sevilla attack.

Overall, the side is decent, but can it really compete with Chelsea and Arsenal? With a lot of luck, it could in the knockout stages, but I don’t think that’s enough to justify a bet, even if the price is 15.00.

AC Milan (21.00)

I must admit that I’m adding AC Milan to this analysis mostly out of respect for the club’s traditions and history. You should never underestimate a team that has done so well in UEFA competitions in the past.

The problem is similar to Sevilla, though, as I don’t think that Milan has enough to compete with the best teams in Europa League.

Still, I can’t deny that Milan had a solid summer in terms of deals, and I think the squad is stronger than last season. The club got Higuain and Caldara, as well as players like Pepe Reina and Fabio Borini that will add some much-needed depth.

It probably could’ve been better, as the new owner, Elliott Management, was eager to invest in the club. However, the company had to wait and see if the side would be playing in Europe. Fortunately for Milan, the UEFA ban was overturned.

I think that Milan has the potential to complete a deep run and reach the last 8, at least.

The big question here is if the Rossoneri are strong enough to beat the best. I think they will come up short, and the price of 21.00 is tempting but reflects the objective reality rather fairly.

Any Team from the CL (2.50)

Some bookies actually managed to solve the problem that some of the potential favorites in the Europa League are not yet part of the competition by adding this market.

If you decide to go for it, you basically bet on all of the teams that finish third in the Champions League group stage.

This is a strong move, as they will join directly for the knockouts, and some of them will be much better compared to the current teams. In fact, last year’s Europa League was won by such a team in Atletico Madrid.

The possibility of that to happen shouldn’t be underestimated, but there is one big problem. Unless a team of Europe’s top 8 doesn’t finish third in the UCL group stage, it won’t be stronger than either Chelsea or Arsenal, and you can get exceptional prices for those two.

This is why I simply don’t like the odds of 2.50 and recommend you stay away.

Final Picks

You can probably guess with ease what I’m going to recommend this point. Realistically, there are two teams that are way stronger than anyone else at this point – Chelsea and Arsenal.

The London giants are my two picks, as they should be able to beat everyone in the competition.

Even the sides that will join after the UCL group stage won’t be at their level. Considering the prices of 7.00 and 9.00, respectively, I simply can’t resist the option to back both teams. So, I have to make two picks here.

PICKChelsea to Win Europa League7.00
PICKArsenal to Win League15.00

Final Words

You won’t usually see me back the favorites in a certain competition, as they are underpriced most of the time. However, the new format that gives the Europa League winner the opportunity to play in the Champions League was a true game-changer, especially for English teams.

I honestly think that it is easier to win the Europa League than to get into the top 4 of the English Premier League. This is the reason the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal will push hard.

Of course, there is always the potential for a CL team to mess things up.

Who is your favorite in the Europa League? Do you believe there’s a side that could upset the odds?

Jerry Summer

Jerry Summer has a wide-ranging interest in gambling and the gambling industry. He's made a living out of both playing poker and betting on sports.

The English Premier League and the NBA are among Jerry's primary areas of expertise. He's knowledgeable about many other sports, too, along with poker and several casino games.

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