Europa League Predictions Matchday 2
Group C - Ludogorets Razgrad vs TSG Hoffenheim
Hoffenheim were just one match away from an appearance in the Champions League this season, losing their second-leg qualification fixture at Anfield to confirm their appearance in Europe's second-tier competition. They now find themselves last in a reasonably strong group after a opening week home loss to Portuguese side Braga, and will need to turn things around in a hurry if they want to progress to the second round.
Ludogorets will prove to be a stern test for the Germans. The Bulgarian champions have a short but impressive history in Europe; they finished third in their Champions League group last season and also won their Europa League group in 2012/13 without losing a match. At home, they will be very difficult to break down. So can Hoffenheim get the result that they sorely need?
The odds are with them - they are currently favourites to win the match at +105 on Bet365. To do so they will need to mirror their early season form in the Bundesliga where they currently sit second, notably defeating Bayern Munich 2-0 at home. We believe that the German side can get the W here, and the price makes this one a worthwhile wager.
Group H - BATE Borisov vs Arsenal
BATE Borisov have had a decent amount of success in European football over the last few seasons. In spite of hailing from Europe's twenty-fourth placed nation in terms of their UEFA country coefficient, the Belarusian side has featured in the Champions League group stage five times in the last ten seasons and notched up wins against the likes of Roma and Athletico Madrid. Oh and let's not forget their 3-1 victory over Bayern Munich in 2012!
They will prove to be a difficult proposition for an Arsenal side that has experienced mixed form during the opening weeks of the 2017/18 season. Domestically, they sit seventh on the Premier League table, with ten points from a possible eighteen, while they won their opening fixture in the Europa League reasonably comfortably, beating FC Koln 3-1.
BATE will come into this game as heavy underdogs, paying +550 for a home victory which is very unlikely. Arsenal are far too good on paper, and should not need to rest any players given that they host EPL newcomers Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday, meaning that their -188 favouritism is apt. We actually see this as a decent price for a game that should result in a Gunners win.
Group I - Red Bull Salzburg vs Marseille
Austrian champions Salzburg will have a chance to improve on their opening round draw against Portuguese side Vitoria when they host Marseille, 1-0 winners in their opening match against Turkish club Konyaspor. Red Bull have started off their domestic season in reasonable form, losing just once in their opening nine fixtures and averaging two goals per game, however their three early season draws see them sitting in second on the Austrian Bundesliga table.
Marseille have impressed in France's League 1 to date, and will come into this fixture following two consecutive 2-0 victories in their domestic league. They won their opening fixture in the Europa League, although narrowly, and are a good chance to continue their winning form away from home. They will also be aware that a win over their closest rivals away from home will leave them with one foot in the knockout stages.
According to Bet365, the spread here is extremely close. Red Bull are paying +140 for the win, with +250 available for the draw and +210 on offer for the away side. We definitely see Marseille as the best option here, and their price makes them one of the better betting options available this week.
Group L - Zenit St. Petersburg vs Real Sociedad
This fixture showcases the two strongest teams in Group L, and both will be looking to put one foot in the second round with a win over their nearest rival. Zenit currently top the group on goal difference after a commanding 5-0 victory over Macedonian side Vadar, while Real Sociedad also dominated their first fixture, beating Norwegian champions Rosenborg 4-0.
However Sociedad's win over Rosenburg was their last competitive victory in all competitions; the Spanish outfit failed to capitalise on a 3-0 start to the season by losing their last three consecutive matches in La Liga. While domestic form doesn't always transfer over to the European stage (Real Madrid's win over Dortmund in the Champions League followed a poor run in La Liga), we are worried that the trip to Russia may have come at a poor time.
St Petersburg go into this match as favourites, however the split is very even across the win and draw markets. At +120, they offer good value, particularly at home, and although we believe that Real Sociedad are the better side on paper we don't think they can turn their current slump around on the road. Go for the home side here.
All the action kicks off Thursday, 28th September. Don't forget to join the discussion on Facebook to tell us whether you agree with our picks, and chat to other fans about your top betting tips.
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