Europa League Tips – Thursday 9th December
I’m writing this before any of my Champions League tips are known, but after a very solid couple of weekends where I have posted plenty of profit, I am confident that we will land at least something in those games and that means I can turn my attention now to Thursday’s games in the Europa League.
The same caveats I mentioned in my Champions League tips will apply in the Europa League too. Some teams have already qualified as group winners for the Round of 16, a couple of others have qualified for the Preliminary Knockout Round, which comes before the Round of 16 and will feature the eight 2nd place Group Teams from the Europa League taking on the eight third placed teams from the Champions League group stages.
We also have some teams confirmed in third who will drop into the Europa Conference League after Christmas, and for those teams, they may well be tempted to play a weakened team ahead of a busy period for domestic fixtures and the Christmas and New Year schedule for teams in England and Scotland.
However, for a lot of teams, there is still plenty on offer including qualifying top or second in the group, or even securing a Conference League spot in the New Year. It is those games where teams still have plenty to play for that I will be focusing on for this set of tips.
There’s some groups where it is wide open, such as Leicester’s group where any of the four teams in it could qualify. In other games, it may the top spot in the group up for grabs, or second place and third place to be contested depending on how results go.
Whatever the case, it should be an interesting night of games and here’s my tips for Thursday’s action.
Europa League Betting Tips: Thursday 9th December
What a night lies in store in Naples as Leicester City seek to pick up the point they need to be assured of reaching the next stage of the competition. However Napoli, who are third in the group need nothing less than a win to progress.
That is dangerous for me especially against a Leicester City side that have been somewhat inconsistent of late. Napoli have some fantastic attacking talent in their team and I do worry that over time, they will pick holes in the Leicester defence and claim the win.
However, by the same token Napoli have also looked susceptible on the break against teams like Atalanta and that gives Leicester a fighting chance here. I can see a very tight first half giving way to a more open second half which is when I think the goals will be scored.
Unfortunately for Leicester, I think Napoli are the most likely to get the majority of goals and looking at the bets on offer, I think the HT/FT bet on draw/Napoli is the best option as it offers good value odds of 9/2 with all bookmakers.
The other game in Group B is likely to be equally as dramatic as the game in Naples. Spartak Moscow know that they must match or better Napoli’s result in order to progress ahead of the Italians, while if Napoli win then Spartak must also win in order to pip Leicester into second spot in the group.
However, Legia can also qualify with a win, which would potentially risk seeing Napoli or Leicester as well as Spartak Moscow being eliminated, so there is still almost all permutations available in this group.
What I would say here though is that Spartak Moscow’s best performances in this competition have come on the road. They beat Napoli in Naples and then earned a very good draw away to Leicester City. If they can match that kind of performance here then I think they will be ok.
Legia have been a little fortunate to land two 1-0 wins in this group which has kept them in it but I do feel they are the weakest team of the four and I think with that in mind, Moscow will land the win that will take them through.
Neither of these teams have anything riding on this game, but I also feel that this will make the game a little more predictable. I can see Betis resting some key players for this game as they have a few key matches in Spain coming up and they are in such good form, they won’t want to jeopardise that in a game that won’t benefit them any if they win, draw or lose.
You can also say the same for Celtic here, so I think that both sides are not going to be particularly committed to winning the game, although the home crowd will certainly be pushing their team on to try and achieve the win.
Betis will want to be careful though. If they play a completely changed team, they could be well beaten so I think Betis will rest key men, but play a strong team and that I think should be enough for them to get something here.
Celtic have found stepping up in class against the likes of Leverkusen and Betis tough in this group but I think that the home side will finish this campaign with a better result and they will do enough to earn a point here.
Given that there is a marked advantage for a team to finish in top spot in their group now in the Europa League, with them gaining a bye to the Round of 16 and having a rest on the Preliminary Knockout Round, I think both teams will be desperate to get the result they need in this game to top the group.
Given how things have worked out, although Lazio are three points behind Galatasaray, any win will still be enough for the Italian side to top the group as it will mean their goal difference is better, even if they only match the same 1-0 scoreline Galatasaray achieved against them on Matchday 1.
The Italian side have been a little inconsistent of late and have conceded a few goals at times, which makes me think Galatasaray will score here, but I also feel that Lazio have so much qualify in attack that they should be able to score at least a couple in reply.
Don’t get me wrong, Galatasaray are a decent side, but I think that Lazio will do just enough to claim the narrow win which will take them to the top of the table and a correct score bet of 2-1 does look appealing at the odds below. `
*Tips are exactly that tips (predictions) and do not guarantee success.