Europa League Picks: Juventus vs. Benfica

Steven Suarez

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 12:07 PM GMT

Benfica holds the advantage heading into the deciding leg, but Juventus will now be at home and must fancy their chances of turning things around. Check in with us to see who the soccer betting odds are favoring for this Europa League semi-final.

Odds Overview
No surprise at all to see Juventus favored in the -160 to -185 range to win Thursday's match. Benfica is available for action at roughly +525, while a draw (which would see the visitors advance on aggregate) can be found at approximately +315 at the sportsbooks.

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Juventus
After losing 2-1 in the first leg at Benfica, with Lima's late winner settling the tie, the Old Lady was able to bounce back with a comprehensive Serie A victory on Monday.

Though they were widely expected to win, it was still impressive to beat Sassuolo in the manner they did. This is a side that had been playing much better as of late and is doing everything in their power to avoid relegation. It wasn't an easy fixture, to say the least.

But Juventus showed their title credentials in the win, overturning an early 1-0 deficit through goals from Carlos Tevez, Claudio Marchisio and Fernando Llorente.

Some thought that coach Antonio Conte was going to rest some key players in preparation for this Europa League match, but that certainly didn't happen. It was Juventus' strongest available side, and they came through with a great overall performance, and didn't suffer any injury setbacks.

Now, not only is the Serie A title within sight, but the Old Lady has a great opportunity to make the finals in Europe as well. Considering how dominant they've been at home this season, you don't want to count these guys out regardless of what happened in the first leg. 

 

Benfica
The Eagles have already wrapped up the Portuguese Liga championship, as they're seven points clear of Sporting Lisbon with only two matches remaining.

They've enjoyed another outstanding season, posting 23 wins, four draws and only one loss in 28 fixtures so far. Their overall goal differential was +41 and they've yet to lose at home (12 wins and two draws) either.

We saw what that home support can do in the team's first leg triumph over the Old Lady and now they'll try to match that intensity in a tough environment at Juventus Stadium.

The Eagles have done well away from home in the league, recording 11 wins to go along with two draws and only one loss while scoring 27 goals and surrendering 10. The step up in competition this Thursday is huge, however.

If anyone's going to provide the inspiration for Benfica going forward, it'll be Oscar Cardozo, Rodrigo or Lima. Cardozo has yet to score in the Europa League campaign but is a big talent, while the latter two have combined for seven goals in the competition thus far. 

 

Europa League Pick
The Eagles have already passed some tough tests away from home this season, but we're not confident in their chances against a top-tier squad in Juventus.

This is a team that was a real Champions League contender. It would be surprising if they didn't win the Europa League. They've got true match-winners in Tevez and Llorente;the likes of Arturo Vidal, Paul Pogba and elder statesman Andrea Pirlo are hardly slouches either.

With Juventus having performed so well at home all season long, we're not about to go against that momentum here. We're on the lookout for the Old Lady to prove their superiority on Thursday and will back them with our soccer picks. 

Free Soccer Pick: Juventus 2 Benfica 0 

Aggregate Soccer Prediction: Juventus 3 Benfica 2