Pandora Hughes brings us the latest betting moves in the Europa League betting predictions.
Analysis of the Europa League 2021/22
The first round of Europa League Group matches produced their share of surprises and entertaining football. Leicester City and Napoli played out an entertaining draw in Group C in the pick of the first-round games while West Ham United made a strong start on their return to European football. The tournament two Spanish entrants found things tougher, however, while a surprise defeat for Lazio has made their task of qualifying from Group E more difficult.
|Europa League Outright|
|Red Star Belgrade||50.00||51.00||50.00|
English Sides on Track
Premier League teams have a good record in the Europa League and bettors who backed Leicester or West Ham in the outright markets will be satisfied with the starts that they made. Leicester have struggled domestically, and they will be slightly disappointed to have let a 2-0 lead slip against Napoli, but the Italian side are their main rivals both in Group C and in the competition as a whole, so a draw is a satisfactory outcome in what looks like a straightforward section.
West Ham fans will be particularly pleased with their victory in Zagreb. This Hammers team has very little European experience but they produced a solid performance in Croatia that has put them on course in Group H, with two straightforward home fixtures to follow.
Mixed Fortunes for Spanish Teams
Spain has dominated this tournament over the last few years and their Europa League entrants are usually heavily backed. This time around, however, there seemed to be little confidence in the two La Liga sides, and early results suggest that might have been justified.
Real Sociedad were considered the better of this year’s two competitors by Europa League bettors, but they were held to a point against PSV Eindhoven. They have shortened a little in the Outright betting, perhaps after a run of three wins in La Liga, but those victories came against smaller teams, and the jury is still out on their ability to uphold Spain’s strong Europa League record.
Real Betis were not expected to challenge the top teams in the tournament but they have shortened significantly after an entertaining 4-3 win over Celtic. That result did at least showcase their resilience, but Celtic are not in great shape at the moment and Betis backers will be concerned that they were 2-0 down to the Scottish side and almost let the win slip from 4-2.
Lazio Lose Ground
Lazio were rated in the top five in the Outright market ahead of the first round of Group fixtures but their unexpected loss to Galatasaray has seen them slip down the rankings, although their uncertain domestic form may also have something to do with that. It is also worth noting that Galatasaray away is one of the toughest fixtures on the European calendar.
Fellow Italian hopefuls Napoli will be happier with their away form after securing a point at Leicester, particularly given that they trailed 2-0 at one point, and with a domestic victory over Juventus under their belt, this has been an excellent start to the 2021-22 season.
The two Bundesliga representatives had mixed fortunes. Bayer Leverkusen, rated by bettors as joint fourth favourites for the Europa League this season kicked off with a solid 2-1 home win against Ferencvaros, though they had to come from behind to claim the win, Eintracht Frankfurt were held at home by Fenerbahce, for whom Mesut Ozil scored a vital goal.
France has three teams in the Europa League this season, and their strongest hope, Lyon, began well with a 2-0 victory in Glasgow against Rangers. Monaco also began with a win, though only by a single goal, against Sturm Graz, while Marseille experienced a frustrating evening in Moscow when an 89th-minute goal by Tino Anjorin salvaged a point for Lokomotiv.
Few Changes in the Outright Betting
The first round of results has produced only slight changes in the Outright Market for the Europa League. Leicester and Napoli still top the list, but they are now joined by West Ham who have tightened things up thanks to their solid opening win.
The biggest movers are Betis, who have shortened after their win over Celtic, while Lazio have drifted, although that could prove to be an overreaction. It seems to take a few weeks for players to adapt to the Maurizio Sarri style of play, but he knows how to win this competition, as he showed with Chelsea. They have also now played their toughest game of Group E and have plenty of time to get their campaign back on track, so if you’re going to wager on them, now is the best time.
Games to Watch in Round Two
The Second Round of Group games will be played on September 30 and perhaps the pick of those games comes in Group B, where Real Sociedad entertain Monaco. Two dropped points in their first game means the Spanish side are under intense pressure and that could work in Monaco’s favour.
Elsewhere, we can expect fireworks, literally and metaphorically, when Fenerbahce of Turkey take on Olympiakos of Greece, but Ozil’s presence makes the home side strong favourites. Lazio, Napoli, West Ham and Lyon have apparently straightforward home games, but Leicester face a potentially tricky trip to Poland to take on Legia Warsaw.