Europa League Picks & Tips for AZ Alkmaar vs. Benfica

Mike Richardson

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 7:47 PM GMT

Tuesday, Apr. 1, 2014 7:47 PM GMT

Some might say that the EPL & the Champions League are the only footballing competitions to get excited about nut your Humble Handicapper knows that there is plenty of money to be made from the Europa League for your soccer picks if you just know where to look.

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One place you’ll find money is Benfica who were drawn against the Dutch side AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League quarter-finals after progressing past Tottenham.

When you’re down to the last eight of any competition it’s everything to play for and each and every side still in the Europa league, will think that they can win it. The last-eight ties of the Europa league will be held on 3rd and 10th April, while the final will be on 14 May at the Juventus Stadium in Turin.

Therefore now is the best time for your Humble Handicapper to let you know the long form odds on the winner of the Europa League. Juventus are the bookies favourites at 13/10, Benfica are second favourites at 7/2, then comes Porto at 8/1, Valencia at 9/1 and Sevilla at 14/1. Sevilla could be seen as the first of the long shots and it is true that after the top four, the odds do tend to spike. Basel are 20/1, Lyon run as high as 25/1 and AZ Alkmaar are the bookies least favourites at 33/1.

Free Soccer Picks for Basel vs. Valencia

Enough with the odds on the winner WHERE’S THE MONEY MIKE?
With the above I mind and the fact that Benfica, the side that lost to Chelsea in last season's final will tell you who I fancy to progress. The bookies seem to agree and they have Benfica at favourites to win the first leg, even though they are away at 8/11, the draw is at 11/4 and an AZ Alkmaar win is at 4/1. Good odds on a home victory but I do feel that a draw is the best they can hope for, but stay away from 0-0 at 11/1 as I smell goals in this match.

The bookies think this is a done deal in terms of qualification as Benfica are 1/7 to go through and Alkmaar are 9/2. Pretty comprehensive odds don’t you think.

I also think as we approach the final both sides will be firing on all cylinders and we’ll see the first game go Over 2.5 goals, available at 4/5, but you can pick up odds as high as 22/23 on the game going Under. Your Humble Handicapper says back Over for your soccer picks!

AZ Alkmaar have only one win from their last five (with two draws and two defeats) and have been outscored by their opposition 5-2. Their one victory in that run was at home, but as Benfica are undefeated in their last five (four wins and a draw) and have won their last three away games I can only see one winner.

The bookies even like the game being drawn across both halves (at 5/1) before they like AZ winning any half and as the bookies have Benfica winning both halves at 7/4, I doubt that the AZ fans will have much to smile about come the final whistle.

Soccer Prediction: Benfica win 2-1 at best soccer odds of 8/1 with BetVictor.

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