Liverpool vs. Besiktas UEFA Europa League Pick: Can the Turkish Upset Soccer Odds?

Nikki Adams

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 9:00 PM GMT

Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015 9:00 PM GMT

Liverpool enters their highly-anticipated clash with Besiktas as firm favorites, but it's not going to be as straightforward as the odds makers suggest. Find out why as we serve up our soccer picks.

Should Liverpool Be Such Hot Faves
Liverpool are cornered on -175 soccer odds to win the first leg of their tie with Besiktas at Anfield, but the date with the Turkish side isn't going to be as straightforward as the odds makers would have it. In fact, the soccer betting odds feels a bit disingenuously skewed towards the hosts. An opinion that is underscored by many reasons, one of which is it ignores the fact they'll be facing the man who was almost singlehandedly responsible for ending their Premier League title bid last season – Demba Ba.

Demba Ba may not be of the Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo ilk, proven game changers that almost always are the difference between a win and a loss. But from time to time he's channelled those qualities to devastating effect (Liverpool fans know only too well).

The former Chelsea forward, who also enjoyed stints with Newcastle United and West Ham United, has found a new lease on life in Turkey's Super Lig. He leads the team with 13 goals in 16 appearances this season in domestic action, not to mention scoring five goals in the last four games ahead of Thursday's trip to Liverpool. He's also the team's lead scorer in Europa League with five goals (and one assist) in four appearances. Most famously, he denied Tottenham a victory with a late equaliser at White Hart Lane on match day 2, a pivotal share in the spoils that proved deciding. Besiktas wrapped up group play with an undefeated record (a win and a draw) against the highly favoured Spurs in Group C and, one could argue, the point they earned in London proved the difference between first and second place –  Besiktas finished winners with a 3-3-0 record and 12 points, a point ahead of Tottenham.

Punter's have to consider Besiktas a more serious threat than their +600 soccer odds would suggest they are. It follows, so too the draw, which looks misleadingly large at +300 soccer odds. Let's not overlook the other side of the coin that is Liverpool. Not to put a damper on the highly anticipated proceedings, but it wouldn't be grossly negligent not to point out that the Reds are nowhere nearly as good as they were last season without the services of Luis Suarez (gone to chomp on the greener pastures of Barcelona). Overall, they are seventh in the league with a 12-6-7 record, which includes a modest 6-5-2 record at Anfield and a 6-1-5 record on the road.

To be fair, recent form is encouraging with just one loss in 16 games across several competitions, a run of form (10-5-1) that dates back to December 17 3-1 win over AFC Bournemouth in League Cup.  Upon closer inspection, though, it can't escape notice that it's behind a collection of middleweights and (mostly) lightweights. We're not being funny, but they only faced three quality teams (ranked better) during this stretch: Arsenal, Chelsea (twice in League Cup) and Tottenham and managed just one win (a recent 3-2 win over Tottenham).  Against the other two, they settled on a 2-2 draw to Arsenal and lost 2-1 on aggregate to Chelsea in League Cup.  

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Soccer Betting Verdict:
Winning begets winning, so they say. In this case, both sides come into this pivotal European clash on good form, which means both sides will fancy their chances. It also puts into question whether there really is a clear-cut favorite for our soccer picks. Liverpool has home field advantage, which underscores their soccer odds to win outright at -175. But it's no reason to float out to the high seas Besiktas so, on +600 soccer odds. We expect a much closer affair between these two sides, which prompts us towards either a draw at +300 or a double chance bet of Besiktas or draw at +140.

Soccer Pick: Besiktas or draw at +140

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