Europa League: Back Napoli as Solid Soccer Pick vs. Trabzonspor

Nikki Adams

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 1:55 PM GMT

Napoli took the R32 tie by the scruff of its neck in Turkey last Thursday. As a result, the reverse leg appears to be a mere formality. So where are the value soccer picks to be had?

Trabzonspor Down, All But Out
Everybody loves a Cinderella story, but this particular Cinderella is as likely to make the ball as this article is to win the Pulitzer prize. The reality is, Trabzonspor's European sojourn is 90 minutes and some stoppage time away from reaching a likely end. That sentiment is nowhere more so evident than in the winners market for Europa League, where the Turkish side is trading at whopping +150000 future odds

On a day that started on an optimistic note for the Turkish hopefuls at Huseyin Avni Aker Stadium, ended in the most painful ways. As if it weren't bad enough to lose the home leg of the R32 tie – admittedly, the best shot at keeping their slim European second-flight club competition hopes alive – Trabonzpor's ultimate humiliation was left glowing on the scoreboard for all to see at the final whistle: 4-0 to Napoli.

In a blink they were down 1-0. By halftime, they were mournfully trailing 3-0. A mountain to climb back from in the beautiful game of football, which ultimately showed in a dispiriting second half account that culminated  in a gut-wrenching, last gasp goal by Zapata in stoppage time. Putting the tie firmly out of the Turkish side's reach for good measure, as if there were any need to, really.

Napoli descended on Trabzonspor with the marauding sense of adventure of a European conqueror. So merciless was Rafa Benitez's side in its destruction of the hosts, they left no doubt of their intentions: to secure a R16 place as quickly, efficiently and convincingly as possible. Let the record show: mission accomplished.

With a 4-0 lead in the tie, Napoli are practically assured advancement into the next stage. It would take a spectacular come-from-behind win by the Turkish side in Napoli to turn this tie on its head, something rarely seen in football competitions of this standard. Not to mention, highly unlikely, given the porous defending of the Turks on home turf last weekend.   

As it is, Napoli have this match firmly cornered on -275 soccer odds to win outright while Trabzonspor are trading at hallucinatory +750 soccer odds to win outright. Even the draw is priced large at +400.

There's an argument about having a virtually insurmountable 4-0 edge giving way to complacency. On the flip side, putting the horror show behind providing a catalyst to ignite better account in the second leg and, in turn, recover a dollop of self respect. Both are reasonable arguments, it must be said. And it's impossible to say which (if any) will rule on the day.

In this case, we'd rather make another bold prediction: surely, Rafa Benitez wouldn't let things unravel to the point where he'd threatened the security of the very tie they'd worked so hard on gaining in the first leg. That would be madness.

More likely than not, Napoli will continue in the same verve and swagger. Utterly dominate Trabzonspor before their loyal fans and use the final result to serve notice to the rest of the field of their high ambitions for this competition. To put it bluntly: Rafa Benitez and his ragazzi aren't going to be satisfied with just being 'also rans' in the competition. They are out to win it.

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Soccer Betting Verdict:
Backing Napoli at -250 to win outright is an almost sure bet on your soccer picks, which makes it worth a tickle. For better value on your soccer picks, look towards the double result market where Napoli are trading at much shorter -105 soccer odds to win both halves. As well, the Over 2.5 is trading at a tempting -138, which given Trabzonspor's threadbare defence is a steal soccer pick.

Top Soccer Picks: Napoli -250; to win both halves -105

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