Analyzing UEFA Europa League Groups D-F – Betting Odds and Predictions
Published on September 16, 2018
The second-most popular UEFA club competition, the Europa League, is about to start. I already shared my thoughts on the potential winner and groups A, B, and C.
It’s now time to move on to the next three as I continue with my previews and predictions for each group of the tournament.
As always, the main goal would be to evaluate the chances of each team and check our top soccer gambling sites for good betting opportunities. If there are none, I will restrict myself to only sharing my expectations for each group.
With that in mind, let’s move on and take a closer look.
The first group I will explore today is D. Here’s what the bookies offer when it comes to the potential winner.
Group D of the UEFA Europa League is one of the few that lacks a clear favorite, and the odds confirm that impression. According to the bookies, three of the teams will be in a tough fight for the top two spots and a place in the knockouts.
Fenerbahce, Dinamo Zagreb, and Anderlecht are teams with plenty of experience on the European scenery. Each has played in the Champions League as well, so it’s normal to expect a lot of them.
The only side that seems like an underdog is Spartak Trnava, and I agree with that. The team is simply at least a level below the other three. However, the Slovakians might be good enough to win some points and influence the final rankings.
Let’s check what each team has to offer.
Last season was rather disappointing for Fenerbahce, as the team finished second in the Turkish league and failed to qualify for the Europa League group stages. On top of that, the side lost the Turkish Cup final against Akhisar Belediyespor.
As a result, the board decided to appoint the Dutch manager Phillip Cocu and signed a bunch of players. There were a couple of incoming transfers from the local league, as well as loans of the likes of Islam Slimani from Leicester and Andre Ayew from Swansea.
It all looks good on paper, but the start of the season is far from impressive. Fenerbahce has won only 3 points after 4 games and is nowhere near the performance that the fans expect from the team.
The situation doesn’t look bright right now, and such a form in the Europa League might put an end to Fenerbahce’s adventure in Europe.
I expect more from the Turkish side, but the current state of the team means that backing it to win group D at the price of 2.30 would be foolish.
A quick look at the list of ongoing and incoming Anderlecht transfers shows that the club has been busy in the summer. A bunch of new players arrived, and it’ll be interesting to see how the head coach, Hein Vanhaezebrouck, will manage to build enough cohesion in the team.
The early signs are rather promising, as Anderlecht managed to win 13 points from the first 6 games and sits 3rd in the Belgian league. I think that the side could improve a bit more and fight for the title this season.
I also see some potential for a decent run in the Europa League. The price for Anderlecht to win the group is 2.75, which is decent, but I’m not quite convinced it’s worth it.
Dinamo Zagreb looked set for a place in the UEFA Champions League, but Young Boys stunned the Croatians by scoring twice inside two minutes to take their place in the tournament.
It was certainly a big shock for Dinamo Zagreb, but the Europa League represents a good opportunity for the team to redeem itself in front of the fans.
The problem is that the Croatian champion sold some of its best players. Filip Benkovic departed for Leicester City and the Celtic on loan, while Ante Coric, Borna Sosa, and a couple of other players left, too. This was a big hit for Dinamo Zagreb, but it’s not the first time the side has lost such talents.
After all, the academy of the club is known as a source of exceptional players, so the team should have some fresh blood coming up the ranks.
Dinamo is once again the favorite to win the domestic title, but I’m not exactly certain if the team will cope with the loss of such players when it comes to Europa League.
Still, teams from Eastern Europe are usually very motivated to perform in the UEFA club competitions. It brings a lot of pride to the fans, as well as potential transfers that benefit both the clubs and the players.
This is why I expect a strong run by Dinamo Zagreb. Considering the issues of the other two favorites, the price of 3.50 for the side to win group D of Europa League is certainly tempting.
Spartak Trnava won its first title in 45 years, and the celebrations were truly wild. The side is now ready to attack the Europa League, but the draw for the group stages was rather unkind. I don’t think the team has any chance of progressing to the next stage.
The budget and the players of Spartak Trnava are simply too far behind the rest of the teams. Still, the passion of the fans will make the away games against this club a tricky test for the others.
I think that Spartak will win some points, but ultimately, the side will probably finish in the last place.
Spartak Trnava aside, all three teams in group D of the UEFA Europa League have a solid chance to qualify for the knockout stages. On paper, Fenerbahce and Anderlecht are better than Dinamo Zagreb, but I don’t think the Croatians are that far behind.
In fact, the odds of 3.50 for Dinamo to win the group represent the only sensible option, in my opinion.
It’s time to move on to group E and see what the bookies have prepared for us in terms of odds for the winner.
It’s no surprise to see one of the best teams in the Europa League priced rather low to win its group. Arsenal is head and shoulders above most of the sides in the whole competition, let alone this particular group.
The Portuguese Sporting Lisboa is the only opponent that has a realistic chance of actually finishing above the Gunners, while Qarabag and Vorskla Poltava will be cursing their luck when it comes to the draw.
The odds for both to finish in the top spot are super high and rightfully so. But let’s try to see if there’s an angle I might be missing here.
One of the biggest English clubs is going through a long-awaited transition. With Arsene Wenger gone, Arsenal is trying to build a new identity under Unai Emery. The early signs are a bit controversial, as the defense has hardly improved.
However, even a top specialist like Emery needs time to install his ideas. The good news is that the Arsenal squad is so much better than the rest of the group E that it should be able to comfortably beat everyone for the top spot, even if the manager rotates a lot.
This is exactly what I expect to happen. Quite frankly, I’m surprised the price for the Gunners is 1.33. I expected a lower one, which is the reason I feel tempted to actually back Arsenal.
Especially if you consider the fact that Unai Emery is one of the most successful coaches in the Europa League.
Sporting Lisbon would probably be considered a favorite for the first spot in most of the other Europa League groups, but the presence of Arsenal means that simply qualifying will be a success for the Portuguese club.
The good news is that Sporting is much better than the other two teams in the group and should have no issue achieving this target. In fact, if Arsenal slips up, the side is the one that could top the group.
Sporting lost some solid players like William Carvalho and Cristiano Piccini but brought replacements in the summer. The price of 4.00 might seem tempting to many, but it does reflect the gulf in quality between the two favorites of the group.
The champion of Azerbaijan, FC Qarabag was one of the pleasant surprises in the UEFA Champions League last season. The side managed to win a place in the group stage and even earned 2 points. This doesn’t seem like a special achievement until you look at the competition.
Qarabag had to face Chelsea, Roma, and Atletico Madrid. Each of those teams is light-years ahead. The performance during the last campaign gives the side hope of achieving something in the Europa League.
Unfortunately, the best I can see for the team would be to finish in the 3rd place. Both Arsenal and Sporting Lisbon are way too strong. The Azerbaijani champions could win a point or two, but finishing above any of those is mission impossible.
The situation is similar when it comes to Vorskla Poltava. The side finished 3rd in the Ukrainian league, which was a great success, but the squad consists mostly of local players and foreigners with doubtful qualities.
I don’t think that Vorskla has any chance to go through to the next stage of the UEFA Europa League. The best the team could hope for would be a dignified performance and the 4th place.
I think it’s safe to exclude both Qarabag and Vorskla Poltava from the list of potential winners of this group E of the UEFA Europa League. This leaves only two options.
Sporting Lisbon is certainly a strong team for this competition, but Arsenal is way stronger. The squad of the Gunners has plenty of world-class players, and the quality is from another planet, even if Unai Emery rotates the whole starting eleven.
I wouldn’t normally recommend a bet on a price like 1.33, but this is an exception. I actually feel there’s a lot of value, as such odds suggest a probability of 75%.
I think that Arsenal’s chances to win the group are much closer to the 80%-85% mark, and I will take the price offered.
Group F is the last one I will cover in today’s post. Here are the odds for the potential winner.
You don’t see the team from pot 1 to be the third favorite for the win, but that’s exactly the case in group F of the UEFA Europa League. The supporters of the Greek side Olympiakos must be cursing their luck, as playing against AC Milan and Real Betis is one of the worst-case scenarios.
The only bright side seems to be the presence of Dudelange, as the team will most probably be the punching bag of this group.
This leaves two spots for the legendary Milan, Real Betis, and Olympiakos. In my opinion, each team has the chance to snatch one of them, but let’s take a closer look.
AC Milan is one of the sleeping giants of European soccer. The side has been in a dark place for years now, but there are some signs of improvement. The most important among them was the change of ownership.
Elliot Management acquired the club, and the company seems eager to bring back the glory days. It was essential for the team to play in Europe this year, and the UEFA ban was lifted, so Milan will be part of the Europa League.
I’m not quite sure if Gattuso’s squad is ready to battle the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal for the trophy, but a deep run in the competition should be possible.
Milan lost a couple of influential players but was capable of replacing them. The likes of Caldara, Higuain, Bakayoko, Reina, and the other signings will provide a lot of quality and depth.
Gattuso will need both if Milan is going to compete both in Italy and in Europe.
I expect a solid season from the Rossoneri, and they are certainly the favorite in this group. And still, with so many new players on board and against decent opposition like Betis and Olympiakos, the price of 1.83 is too short for my taste.
The 6th place in the Spanish La Liga last season is a testimony of the strength of this Real Betis squad. The team did a great job in one of the strongest domestic leagues in Europe.
The big question is if Betis can compete on two fronts. I don’t think the side has the strength in depth to rotate without hurting the quality of the starting eleven. It will be interesting to see how Quique Setien will handle this, as the manager will have a lot of questions to answer.
This is the reason I have my doubts about the chances of Betis to actually win the group. The quality is there, but the tough competition in La Liga means that the team will suffer from playing twice a week.
I don’t think that the price of 4.00 is good enough under the circumstances, as both AC Milan and Olympiakos will be strong foes.
The start of the season for Olympiakos has been bright under the new manager, Pedro Martins. He is expected to lead the side to the title and managed to win his first two games.
Unfortunately for the Greek club, the draw in the UEFA Europa League was abysmal. When you’re in pot 1 and face the likes of Milan and Betis, you can certainly feel unlucky. Still, Olympiakos won’t go down without a fight.
The home crowd is one of the strongest weapons of the team, as any game in Greece is a complete nightmare. We’ve seen some of the best sides in Europe struggle there, which would certainly help.
In my opinion, Olympiakos will be able to reach the knockout stages, probably at the expense of Real Betis. Winning the group would be tough, so I don’t think the price of 5.00 justifies a bet.
Honestly speaking, I don’t have much to say about Dudelange. The fact that a team from Luxembourg has reached this stage of the UEFA Europa League is an absolutely monumental success. I wish them all the best, and I’m sure the whole club will simply enjoy the experience.
I’m not sure if Dudelange will be able to win a point, though, but I don’t think that will be such a problem. Playing the mighty Milan, as well as Betis and Olympiakos, is more than enough.
I already mentioned that I won’t be sharing any betting picks if I’m unable to recognize a valuable opportunity. This is the case here, as I feel that AC Milan will go through as the first team, while Betis and Olympiakos will be battling for second.
This is my prediction, but the odds for the Italian side are too short. A slip or two could be enough for some of the other teams to take advantage. At the same time, neither Betis nor Olympiakos seems solid enough to be worth a bet.
Expect the next portion of analysis and betting picks soon. Simply check our blog to find out what my expectations are for the rest of the UEFA Europa League groups.
In the meantime, feel free to share your own thoughts. Do you agree with my betting picks, or do you have some other ideas?