Europa League Rundown: Must Have Bets For Thursday's Soccer Picks

Nikki Adams

Wednesday, April 6, 2016 8:59 PM GMT

Europa League picks up from where Champions League leaves off in midweek with a whole slew of quarterfinal action to spot on your soccer picks. Here’s a breakdown of all the fixtures.

Europa League Quarterfinals
It’s the highly anticipated Europa League quarterfinal round, featuring some blockbuster matchups namely between Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool, two sides that are considered the best bets to win it all amongst soccer betting circles.

Here’s a rundown of all the match betting odds and below we serve up previews for each and every fixture, complete with soccer picks.

 

 

Athletic Bilbao vs. Sevilla
Athletic Bilbao and Sevilla collide in an all-Spanish affair in the Europa League quarterfinals on Thursday. Two-time defending champions Sevilla look to continue their bid for a third straight title in Europe’s second-tier competition and, as it is, they are amongst the top favorites to do so. Europa League outrights price Sevilla at +500 to win it all, after top faves Borussia Dortmund at +163 and before third faves Liverpool at +600. All in all, Sevilla have what is deemed a favorable matchup – they did after all avoid the tandem of Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool. Sevilla edged Molde 3-1 in the R32 and then Basel 3-0 in the R16. Pivotally, they banked on home form in both rounds.

Away form in the knockouts leaves something to be desired for the defending champions with a 1-0 loss to Molde and a scoreless draw to Basel. Athletic Bilbao will be looking to capitalise on the less than convincing away form when they host Sevilla in the first leg as the +110 home favorites. Form is identical for both sides with two wins, two draws and a loss in their respective last five fixtures across several competitions. Sevilla won the last two fixtures over Athletic Bilbao and, similarly, Athletic Bilbao won the previous two. Crucially, each side has one the last two home fixtures.

By all accounts, this is one of the toughest fixtures to call in Europa League as it could realistically go either way. The stakes couldn’t be any greater with a spot in the semis on the line for the defending champions. Sevilla must appreciate the threat a familiar foe could pose to their campaign, which has us leaning towards Sevilla to win at the tempting price of +250 or a combined bet of Sevilla to win or draw at -133 for our soccer picks as any result would be welcome before the return leg in Andalucía.

That said home form has been key in recent meetings between this pair, which means backing Athletic Bilbao to win the first leg at +110 is worth the tickle. It’s worth noting Sevilla’s recent road form is conspicuously without a win in their last eight fixtures (five draws and three losses) while Athletic Bilbao have just one loss in their last eight home fixtures (four wins, three draws and a loss). That does tip the scale ever so slightly towards the hosts don’t you think?

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Soccer Picks: Athletic Bilbao to win at +120
Best Line Offered: at bet365

 

Borussia Dortmund vs. Liverpool
Borussia Dortmund look to underscore their favorable soccer odds to win the coveted title when they host Liverpool in the first leg of their quarterfinal clash. Considering the Bundesliga side are the team to beat, it’s no surprise they have the market cornered for their first leg at -200 soccer odds at bet365. Liverpool, however, can’t be taken for granted, not least because they’re currently managed by former Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp who knows the Black and Yellows better than anyone. They have the advantage of the return leg at home, which could prove deciding if they get a positive result in Dortmund.

It’s a dreaded draw for both sides, not to mention the competition as it’s sure to lose a quality side before the semi-final draw is made. Indeed, since the draw came out Liverpool have been pushed back in the sports betting exchange from second to third favorite, which is telling. Although the Reds eliminated Manchester United in the last round and, most recently, were buoyed by a 1-1 draw to Tottenham Hotspur in Premier League, the prospect of Borussia Dortmund does loom large. The hosts are riding a ridiculously impressive 20-game undefeated streak, which includes a five-game winning streak that is underscored by two clean sheets and outscoring opponents 13-4 combined. It’s almost impossible to look past a home win in this game, no disrespect to Jurgen Klopp and the Reds.

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Soccer Picks: Borussia Dortmund -171
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

Braga vs. Shakhtar Donetsk
Braga take on Shakhtar Donetsk in the quarterfinal, marking one of the more wide open ties in the last eight. The hosts are favored to win the first leg, but only just at +140 soccer odds. The Ukrainians enter as the dangerous floaters at closely tipped +190 soccer odds or thereabouts depending on your sportsbook of choice.

It’s easy to see why soccer bettors would be on the fence in this matchup: the market is rather coy and it has the markings of a right scrappy affair. That alone makes the draw worth considering on your soccer picks at +225 as the pair could cancel each other out.

Braga moved into the quarters after edging Sion 4-3 on aggregate in the R32 and then Fenerbahce 4-2 in the R16. Shakhtar Donetsk, meanwhile, overpowered Schalke 3-0 on aggregate in the R32 and then Anderlecht 4-1. Importantly, the Ukrainians won the away leg in both instances, which makes a good case for their chances against the Portuguese this week as the +190 road underdogs.

Most recently, Sporting Braga were decimated by Benfica 5-1 in domestic action, marking their third away loss in all competitions and fifth straight fixture without a win on the road. That poor away form is sure to put added pressure on the hosts to get a result on Thursday in the home leg of this tie before the long trek to Ukraine for the second leg where they’re in real danger of coming away emptyhanded. Of course, Shakhtar Donetsk could prove a difficult prospect, more so than the market would have it. They are riding a two-game winning streak on the road and they’ve won four of their last six away fixtures in all competitions, keeping clean sheets in all. Shakhtar to win or draw is also good value for your soccer picks at -175 soccer odds at bet365, an option for those soccer bettors that remain unconvinced.

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Soccer Picks: Shakhtar Donetsk to win at +200 or Shakhtar to win or draw at a-175
Best Line Offered: at bet365 

 

Villarreal vs. Sparta Praha
Villarreal appear to have received the sweetest draw of the quarterfinal round, drawing competition upstarts Sparta Praha. However, the Czech side proved they were a team to be reckoned with when they upset the highly-fancied Serie A hopefuls, Lazio. Most impressively, by winning the second leg on the away 3-0. Few soccer bettors expected that when the R16 draw was made, let’s face it.

In fact, Sparta Praha have gone through two rounds of the knockouts conceding just one goal. They beat Krasnodar 4-0 on aggregate and Lazio 4-1 on aggregate. That’s nothing to sniff at, really, but, in spite of their undeniable run, they enter the first leg with Villarreal as the quintessential long shot soccer pick at +600 to win. Villarreal pose a whole different challenge and quality of opponent to the Czechs. The Spanish side is enjoying a solid season in La Liga – sat fourth overall after Barcelona, Atletico and Real. Most recently, they held Barcelona to a 2-2 draw at Camp El Madrigal. Importantly, they’ve gotten the better of some quality European teams in Europa League, including Bayer Leverkusen and Napoli in the knockouts. On the strength of those convincing accounts, it’s really hard to look beyond the Spaniards at home in this tie for our soccer picks.

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Soccer Picks: Villarreal -185 to win
Best Line Offered: at WagerWeb