Europa League: Zenit Solid Defense Makes the Draw a Tempting Soccer Pick Over Sevilla

Nikki Adams

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 6:28 PM UTC

Wednesday, Apr. 1, 2015 6:28 PM UTC

Sevilla's European title defence will be tested by Zenit St. Petersburg. Can the Spanish hopefuls continue their bid for a 2nd straight title? Find out as we preview this tie & serve our soccer picks.

Sevilla Co-second Favourites With Napoli
With each knockout round, Sevilla's futures odds shorten. So much so, that once the R16 was put to bed, Sevilla emerged as co-second favourites with Napoli on the Europa League odds board, matched at +450 soccer odds.That's a jump from eighth overall favourites going into the R32 (or thereabouts) to second favourites in just two rounds of the knockouts.

By contrast, Zenit St. Petersburg's odds to win it all oscillated through the rounds. After an impressive 4-0 win on aggregate over PSV in the R32, Zenit St. Petersburg emerged as fourth favourites overall to hoist the coveted trophy at +800 soccer odds (or thereabouts depending on your choice sportsbook platform). Since the R16 was put to bed and the draw was revealed, however, Zenit's perceived merit has been downgraded to fifth overall favourites at +650 soccer odds. The crucial bit: they were trading ahead of Sevilla in the R16, but they are now, all of a sudden, for no obvious reason, trading behind Sevilla in market estimation. An interesting twist to Europa League betting, don't you think.

Drawing Sevilla in the quarterfinals is one explanation for the flip. Starting the tie on the road is another explanation for Zenit's demotion. This means these soccer odds aren't an absolute assessment or a reflection of a disparity in quality between Sevilla and Zenit. Rather they are a reflection of the current reality of this tie: with Sevilla starting on home turf, the subjective probability they'd assume a lead in the tie is greater than Zenit's. Hence, Sevilla nudge ahead on the Europa League odds board.

It's going to be incumbent on Sevilla to come through on this overarching outlook with a solid account at home. A win in the first leg, which can be backed at -125 soccer odds,  would go a long way towards underscoring this outlook. And depending on how big of a win they secure, Zenit's chances of turning this tie on its head will be assessed accordingly. Of course, there's always the possibility Zenit would spring a surprise on Sevilla in the first leg, in which case not only would the tie turn on its but so too would the UEFA Europa League Odds board.


Sevilla vs. Zenit Match Betting Tips and Picks
Soccer bettors looking to weigh in on this highly anticipated clash must not take the soccer betting lines at face value entirely. Sevilla are appropriately matched as the favourites with home advantage, but Zenit's +333 soccer odds smack of disingenuous. Surely, with all the quality and depth they have they warrant much shorter soccer odds?

Zenit's journey through the knockouts has been solid. They won three of their four matches (both home and away), the only hiccup a 1-0 loss to Torino on the away in the R16. The loss might have been disappointing, but it didn't cost them progression into the quarterfinals as they took the tie 2-1 on aggregate. Importantly, it marked the only goal they conceded throughout four knockout matches.

In fact, Zenit are proving one of the toughest teams to score against across all competitions. They have nine clean sheets in their last 14 games in all competitions.

Sevilla's form in Europa League has steadily improved over the rounds. Against Villarreal in the R16 they produced arguably their best account yet, taking a 3-1 away lead in the first leg at one of the toughest stadiums to win on the road in Spanish top-flight. Having gotten off to such a great start, finishing the job in the second leg appeared to be a mere formality with a 2-1 win (5-2 on aggregate) as Sevilla showed off their knack of closing out ties.

Scoring against Sevilla at Sanchez Pizjuan is no mean feat either. In Primera Division, Sevilla have scored 28 goals and conceded just seven through 14 home games. In European competition, they won all their home fixtures so far. In group action, they scored eight goals and conceded five overall, of which only ONE goal was conceded at home. In the knockouts, once again, they've conceded just once in two home games.

Soccer Betting Verdict
This matchup is shaping up to be closer than the odds makers would suggest in our opinion because both sides boast very strong defences. Sevilla are appropriately favoured as the home team at -125 soccer odds, but winning this fixture is going to be challenging when Zenit's defence is so solid. Zenit appear to be priced absurdly large at +333 soccer odds, but they too will find it hard to breakdown Sevilla's defence at Sanchez Pizjuan. It's quite possible, therefore, these two sides will cancel each other out, making the draw at +260 soccer odds the most tempting bet of all and as such our top recommended soccer pick.

Soccer Picks: Draw +260 at Bet365

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