Europa League 2018 Round of 16 – Predictions & Betting Odds14th February 2018 / lee
The return of the Europa League begins with the Round of 32 knockout stage and now punters will have a clearer picture of the setup of the tournament. That is because the clubs dropping down from the UEFA Champions League will make their starts and it means that front-runner from the group stage of the competition, such as Arsenal and AC Milan may not ultimately look quite as strong now with the addition of more tough opponents joining the fray. Just Arsenal and Scottish champions Celtic are battling along for Britain in the tournament this season.
Since the start, Arsenal have been trading pretty well to get their hands on the title and they were 5/1 with Betfair before the Round of 32, with Celtic as big outsiders at 80/1 odds* (betting odds taken on January 13th at 5:30 p.m.). Just to highlight how much more difficult the tournament has gotten, Atletico Madrid, Napoli and Borussia Dortmund have all joined the ranks after failures in the Champions League. It is Spain’s Atletico Madrid who are 7/2 favourites* (betting odds taken on January 13th at 5:30 p.m.) as the Round of 32 gets underway.
Europa League Winner odds
Atletico Madrid 7/2, Arsenal 5/1, Napoli 10/1, Borussia Dortmund 10/1, AC Milan 12/1, Lazio 14/1, RB Leipzig 20/1, Lyon 20/1, Zenit 20/1, Villarreal 25/1, Sporting Lisbon 25/1, Real Sociedad 25/1, bar 33/1
Napoli v RB Leipzig
We saw plenty of Napoli in the group stage of the Champions League as they were up against Manchester City. The Italians finished third as they were beaten out by Shakhtar Donetsk too in the group. This is the sixth time in the last eight seasons that Napoli have been in action in the round of 32 in the Europa League. Napoli holds a W4 L3 record on home soil against sides from Germany, but have won just one of their last five such fixtures. Even though they didn’t get out of the group stage of the Champions League, Napoli are in good home form in Europe, winning three of their four home fixtures so far this term. They are unbeaten in 13 home matches in the Europa League as well.
Leipzig are battling along in their debut European season having finished second in the Bundesliga last season. That put them into the Champions League but they couldn’t get the better of either Bestskas or Porto to get through that tough test. They won just one of their three away games, a 4-1 trouncing of Monaco. Napoli are great value on home soil at 19/20 with Betfair* (betting odds taken on January 13th at 6:32 p.m.) and are justifiable favourites To Qualify.
Lyon v Villarreal
This should end up being a humdinger of a tie. These are two strong sides who look good enough to win the tournament outright. For Lyon, they should have their tails up because this season’s Final is at their ground. Anyway, this is not an easy draw for them after coming through in second place in their group behind Atlanta. This is their first-ever meeting with Villarreal but they are W6 D4 L5 at home from previous home fixtures against Spanish opponents. Lyon are unbeaten in their last eight European home games, with a W6 D2 record from that. They are on a four-match winning streak in the knockout stages of the Europa League. However what should give Villarreal a chance is that Lyon have one clean sheet in their last eight home games in the Europa League.
Villarreal are in good shape out on the road in Europe, winning their last two on their travels and going unbeaten in seven. In the history of the Europa League, no teams has won more games or scored more goals than Villarreal have done. For this first leg of the tie, over 2.5 goals at Betfair for 4/5 odds* (betting odds taken on January 13th at 6:32 p.m.) is a good place to start and overall in the tie, Villarreal are likely to shade things, especially with the second leg advantage back on home soil.
Copenhagen v Atletico Madrid
After their drop from the Europa League, Atletico Madrid are the favourites to get their hands on the Europa League title this season. They were pretty poor in the Champions League group stage it has to be said though, they were strangely noncompetitive for most of it. But they have been getting better and better. They are not in great European form overall though as Atleti are only W2 D5 L2 in their last nine European games home and away, drawing all three road games in the Champions League group stage (two 0-0 results and a 1-1 tie). However, they are the favourites to get through this tie against Copenhagen. The Danes have failed to win any of their ten previous games against Spanish opponents. Copenhagen got here as Europa League group as runners-up and took a clean sheet in each of their home games. Under 2.5 goals is the best way to cover the first leg, but ultimately Atletico are likely to qualify.
Celtic v Zenit
Celtic are going to be under pressure in this game as they are not in form in Europe at all. They lost all three of their Championship League home games and they have received a pretty rough draw for the start of their Europa League challenge. The Scottish Champions are on a huge eleven match winless streak of home form in Europe (outside of qualification matches) and have lost each of their last five. They have hosted Russian opposition three times before and hold a W1 D1 L1 record from those.
Zenit were pretty imperious in their Europa League Group stage, picking up sixteen points and netting seventeen goals along the way, which was better than anyone else managed in the stage. Their only previous meeting with a Scottish side was a triumph over Rangers in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup final. Zenit are undefeated in seven games in Europe at the moment (W6 D1) and just a nod towards their scoring threat, they haven’t taken a clean sheet in any of their last five. The Russians are actually nice value at 8/15 with Betfair To Qualify from the tie* (betting odds taken on January 13th at 6:32 p.m.).
Ostersunds v Arsenal
Arsenal will be pretty pleased with their draw here in the round of sixteen as they take on Swedish underdogs Ostersunds. The Swedes are in their first ever European campaign and it’s all credit to them for getting out of the group stage. It has been a fantastic run from and they have produced some home form too in Europe, remaining unbeaten in their six home fixtures so far, winning five of those with a clean sheet and holding out for a 2-2 draw in the one exception. They are also the first ever side from Sweden to make to this stage of the competition.
Arsenal are in their first ever Europa League campaign and made pretty light work of their group stage, topping the pile with a game to spare. Each season they have faced a Swedish side in Europe, Arsenal have gone on to reach the final (losing each of those finals though). Arsenal are W3 D1 against Swedish sides and even though they could have their hands full here away from home in the first leg, their experience in Europe is more than likely to see them win out in the tie overall.
Borussia Dortmund v Atalanta
This should be a great battle in this tie. Borussia Dortmund are just struggling along a bit in Europe will face a really tough challenge in this encounter with Italian side Atalanta. Dortmund holds a W10 D4 L17 record against Italian opposition but currently, they have suffered a loss in three of their last four home games in Europe. The Germans have not won any of their eight European games this season (D2 L6) in a really poor run of form. This will be their first-ever game against Atalanta and for the Italians, this is only the second time that they have faced a German side, after knocking out Cologne back in the 1990/91 UEFA Cup 2-1 on aggregate. Atalanta went unbeaten in their group in the Europa League to get to this stage and we’re pretty dominant against Everton in that group. With Die Borussia out of shape, Atalanta are great value to avoid defeat in the first leg and an Atalanta-Draw Double Chance at betfair is at 11/10* (betting odds taken on January 13th at 6:32 p.m.). The Italians are well worth considering to qualify from this tie.
The tip is based on the personal opinion of the author. No success is guaranteed. Please gamble responsibly. 18+
* All mentioned odds were valid at the time of writing. Betting odds are subject to fluctuations. Please check the current odds with the respective bookmaker!
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