Europa League Picks & Tips for Valencia vs. Sevilla

Steven Suarez

Monday, April 28, 2014 5:41 PM GMT

The advantage is squarely in Sevilla's favor heading into the second leg of this Europa League semi-final, but Valencia will get the luxury of being at home. Will that support provide the impetus they need to overturn a two-goal deficit? Check out our soccer odds preview inside.

Odds Overview
Ranging from +115 to +120, Valencia is the firm favorite in the eyes of oddsmakers for Thursday's match. For those wanting to side with Sevilla to get another win and lock up their spot in the final, you can back them at +200 to +225. A draw is available at +250.

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Valencia
The first leg didn't go well for the Goats, as they gave up two first-half goals and couldn't recover. They'll have to overturn a 2-0 deficit in front of their own fans.

Just three days after the loss, Valencia was once again held without a goal, this time at home to Atletico Madrid.

The Goats actually had a majority of the possession and looked quite dangerous at times, but they couldn't find the necessary quality in front of goal. Raul Garcia's first half goal for the Mattress Makers was the decider.

As you can see, it's been a frustrating time for Valencia, who haven't tasted victory since a 2-1 home win over Elche back on April 13th. And, with only three league matches remaining, it would take quite the miracle for the Goats to make up the seven-point deficit behind Villarreal for the seventh spot in La Liga.

What that means is a triumph in the Europa League could salvage their disappointing season. They've had mixed form at home (domestically), winning nine times while recording three draws and six losses. Can they pull off the result against a team they know well? 

 

Sevilla
There's no other way around it: the Sevillistas have been in tremendous form over the past six weeks or so, regardless of their recent setback at Athletic Bilbao.

We've seen some terrific results out of this side, including a 4-1 home win over Porto in the Europa League and a wonderful 2-1 victory over Real Madrid in La Liga.

Their outstanding run of form has helped Sevilla climb into the fifth spot in the league, though they were missed a golden opportunity to put the pressure on Bilbao this past weekend. The Sevillistas were only three points back of that fourth-place spot and had their chance to move into a dead heat, but Athletic Bilbao held their nerve and won 3-1 at home. Kevin Gameiro scored the late consolation goal in a match that Sevilla was vastly outplayed in.

Even though they're likely to miss out on a Champions League place again, the Sevillistas are in a great position to lock up a spot in the Europa League finals and that's where their focus will shift to now.

Gameiro, Carlos Bacca and Ivan Rakitic have all been influential in this year's European campaign. Gameiro has six goals in six appearances, Bacca has seven goals to his name in 10 appearances and Rakitic has come through with three goals and three assists in 14 matches.  

 

Europa League Pick
Though being at home on a European night is obviously a massive advantage, we can't easily dismiss Sevilla as a legitimate soccer pick.

The Sevillistas have simply been playing much better recently, winning seven of their last nine matches in the league and looking strong in the first leg against Valencia. They're getting very effective play out of their attacking players and Juan Antonio Pizzi's side found that out first hand last week.

So while we do feel the Goats will represent themselves much better in the return leg, we think a draw may end up being the final result, which would see Sevilla advance to face off against the winner of Juventus and Benfica.

Soccer Pick: Valencia 1 Sevilla 1 

Aggregate: Valencia 1 Sevilla 3