Odds and Contender Analysis for the 2021-22 UEFA Europa Conference League
The first edition of the UEFA Europa Conference League kicks off this week. 32 teams from across the continent will battle it out for the inaugural trophy, with the final scheduled to take place in the Albanian capital of Tirana next May.
Of course, the Champions League is still the main focus in Europe, while the Europa League remains the secondary competition. But with teams such as Tottenham and Roma competing in the Europa Conference League, the tertiary tournament is bound to attract plenty of interest.
If you want to bet on the 2021-22 UEFA Europa Conference League, this betting preview will help. I look at the latest winner odds for the Europa Conference League and analyze all the leading contenders, as well as some potential sleepers.
Let’s start by checking out the UEFA Europa Conference League odds before taking a closer look at the favorites and outsiders.
2021-22 UEFA Europa Conference League Winner Odds
In the eyes of the bookmakers, there are two clear favorites to win the 2021-22 UEFA Europa Conference League – Tottenham and Roma. Tottenham is the current frontrunner, although Roma isn’t far behind.
French side Rennes is also expected to challenge for the title, as is Dutch club Feyenoord. Union Berlin, AZ Alkmaar, Gent, and FC Basel are in the mix, too.
They have both competed in the Champions League in recent years, making them logical sleeper options.
As you can see, I have only included the top 20 teams here. If you want to check out the full list of prices, head over to our top-rated sports betting sites.
Assessing the Europa Conference League Groups
The Europa Conference League follows the same format as the Champions League. The 32 teams are split into eight groups of four, with the top two from each group advancing to the knockout phase.
Before we analyze the favorites and sleepers to win the tournament, let’s take a look at each group.
|2021-22 UEFA EUROPA CONFERENCE LEAGUE – GROUPS A-D|
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D|
|HJK||Flora||CSKA Sofia||CFR Cluj|
|Maccabi Tel Aviv||Partizan Belgrade||Zorya Luhansk||Randers|
LASK Linz and Maccabi Tel Aviv are expected to qualify from Group A with relative ease, while Gent and Partizan Belgrade should occupy the top two spots in Group B.
Naturally, Roma is the clear favorite to win Group C. The battle for the second qualification place is likely to go down to the wire, though.
AZ Alkmaar should finish atop Group D, with CFR Cluj expected to claim the runner-up spot. That said, both Randers and Jablonec could push for a top-two finish.
|2021-22 UEFA EUROPA CONFERENCE LEAGUE – GROUPS E-H|
|Group E||Group F||Group G||Group H|
|Feyenoord||FC Copenhagen||Mura||FC Basel|
|Maccabi Haifa||Lincoln Red Imps||Rennes||Kairat|
|Slavia Prague||PAOK||Tottenham Hotspur||AC Omonia|
|Union Berlin||Slovan Bratislava||Vitesse Arnhem||Qarabag|
Group E is arguably the “group of death,” with Feyenoord, Union Berlin, and Slavia Prague all likely to challenge for the top two spots. You would be foolish to write off Maccabi Haifa altogether, too.
Over in Group F, PAOK and FC Copenhagen are the obvious frontrunners, while FC Basel and Qarabag should qualify from Group H without too much trouble.
Alongside Group E, Group G is arguably the strongest group in the competition. Tottenham is the favorite to lift the trophy, Rennes is the bookies’ third favorite, while Vitesse Arnhem is also among the frontrunners.
If you want to learn more about the Europa Conference League, feel free to follow the link below.
Why Tottenham is the Favorite to Lift the Trophy
It is obvious why Tottenham is the bookies’ favorite to win the inaugural Europa Conference League.
First and foremost, the English club boasts the strongest squad in the competition. Not only do Spurs have Harry Kane – one of the most valuable soccer players in the world – but they can also call upon stars like Son Heung-min, Cristian Romero, and Hugo Lloris.
The club has also competed in European competition in each of the past 11 seasons, most notably reaching the Champions League final in 2019.
|TOTTENHAM’S RECENT EUROPEAN CAMPAIGNS|
|2020-21||Europa League||Round of 16|
|2019-20||Champions League||Round of 16|
|2017-18||Champions League||Round of 16|
Of course, a lot has changed since 2019. Mauricio Pochettino left the club, Jose Moutinho came and went, and now former Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo is in charge. Even so, Tottenham has more than enough quality – and European experience – to challenge for the trophy.
It remains to be seen whether Nuno will field full-strength line-ups in the Europa Conference League, given the pressure on him to succeed in the Premier League.
The manager could choose to rest key players, keeping his top performers fresh for EPL action.
But even if Nuno does shuffle his pack, Spurs’ strength in depth makes them the obvious favorite for the title.
Can Mourinho’s Roma Get the Better of Spurs?
Needless to say, there is lots of uncertainty surrounding the Europa Conference League. Considering this is the first edition of the tournament, there is bound to be plenty of surprises this year.
However, one thing is certain – Mourinho will be desperate to outshine former club Tottenham and guide Roma to glory.
If Mourinho’s European record is anything to go by, he is certainly the right man to help Roma achieve continental success. You only have to look at his trophy haul to understand why he calls himself “The Special One.”
- 2002-03 UEFA Cup (Porto)
- 2003-04 Champions League (Porto)
- 2009-10 Champions League (Inter Milan)
- 2016-17 Europa League (Manchester United)
Since arriving in Rome, Mourinho has led the Giallorossi to five straight wins. The team secured a 5-1 aggregate victory over Turkish side Trabzonspor to qualify for the Europa Conference League before cementing top spot in the Serie A table.
With homegrown stars such as Lorenzo Pellegrini and Nicolo Zaniolo beginning to fulfil their potential, Roma boasts a seriously strong roster. Throw new signing Tammy Abraham into the mix, and it isn’t difficult to imagine the Italian giant winning the tournament.
Could Rennes, Feyenoord, or Union Berlin Triumph?
After the two obvious favorites, there is a group of teams that stand a genuine chance of not only reaching the latter stages of the competition, but potentially going all the way.
In this section, I discuss the chances of three realistic contenders – Rennes, Feyenoord, and Union Berlin.
Will Rennes Struggle Without Camavinga?
After finishing third in the 2019/20 Ligue 1 standings, Rennes competed in the Champions League last season. They failed to make it out of their group, though, taking just one point from a possible 18.
The French club has a number of top-class players, with guys like Jeremy Doku and Serhou Guirassy more than capable of causing opponents problems. That said, the departure of Eduardo Camavinga to Real Madrid has undoubtedly weakened the squad.
The gifted teenager was pivotal to Rennes rise over the last few years. Without him, Bruno Genesio’s side could struggle to compete with the top teams in the tournament.
Don’t Write Off Feyenoord
In terms of history, Feyenoord is one of the biggest clubs in the Europa Conference League. The Dutch giant has won 15 Eredivisie titles over the years, along with one European Cup and two UEFA Cups.
Although Feyenoord’s most recent top-flight triumph came back in 2016-17, it is worth noting that the club has clinched two Dutch Cups and two Johan Cruyff Shields in the past six years. This suggests they know what it takes to win silverware.
If Arne Slot’s men can make it out of a tricky Group E, they will likely have a favorable route through the knockout phase.
Union Berlin Will Give Their All
Union Berlin has consistently upset the odds in recent times. “The Iron Ones” gained promotion to the Bundesliga for the first time in their history back in 2019 and finish seventh last season to book their place in the Europa Conference League.
Led by Swiss coach Urs Fischer and back by a passionate fanbase, the German side has gone from strength to strength over the past couple of years.
Having established themselves as a genuine force in European soccer, don’t be surprised to see Union challenging the likes of Tottenham and Roma for the inaugural Europa Conference League title.
Other Europa Conference League Teams to Monitor
Now that we’ve looked at all the leading contenders for the 2021-22 UEFA Europa Conference League title, it’s time to check out some less-favored teams that could prove to be good outside bets.
I have put together a list of five Europa Conference League sleepers below, along with their prices.
- FC Basel (26.00)
- Slavia Prague (34.00)
- CFR Cluj (51.00)
- FC Copenhagen (51.00)
- Qarabag (81.00)
FC Basal has competed in the Champions League as recently as 2017-18, making it all the way to the last 16 on that occasion. The Swiss side also reached the quarter-finals of the 2019-20 Europa League, underlining their strength.
Slavia Prague has also enjoyed success on the European stage lately. After featuring in the 2019-20 Champions League, the Czech champions beat the likes of Bayer Leverkusen, Leicester City, and Rangers on their way to reaching the Europa League quarter-finals last term.
CFR Cluj, FC Copenhagen, and Qarabag have all competed in both the Champions League and Europa League in recent years, so they will fancy their chances of going far in the Europa Conference League.
Betting on the Europa Conference League in 2021-22
Although some soccer fans aren’t too keen on the idea of a third UEFA competition, I can’t wait for the Europa Conference League to get started.
With tons of lesser-known teams involved in the tournament, betting on the Europa Conference League in 2021-22 should be fun.
With the Champions League and Europa League taking center stage, the bookies aren’t likely to invest as much time and effort into pricing up the third-tier competition. As a result, we should get some great Europa Conference League odds throughout the campaign.
Spurs should win the tournament with their unrivalled squad depth, but Roma could easily go all the way, too.
I also recommend backing one or two outsiders to lift the trophy. After all, this is the first-ever edition of the competition, so anything could happen!
If you need more general advice about picking the winner of a tournament, check out our guide to futures and outright wagers in soccer.