Europa League Outrights are updated as the quarterfinal line-up is drawn. We weigh in on the soccer odds market and analyse the field as it stacks up across sports betting platforms.
Europa League R16 Recap
Ahead of the R16 we previewed the Europa League Outrights across sports betting platforms (see Table 1), mapping how the field stacked up then. Borussia Dortmund entered the highly-anticipated R16 as the team to beat anywhere from +350 (at William Hill) to +400 (at Bet365) while two-time defending champions Sevilla were matched as the second faves at +600 to +650 in Outrights. The Premier League triplet of Tottenham, Manchester United and Liverpool followed behind in various order depending on your choice sportsbook.
Table 1: Europa League Odds Ahead of R16
Now with the R16 firmly in the books and the Outrights updated according to the quarterfinal draw, there are many talking points to be had, from the teams that were eliminated from the competition to the various upsets that occurred and the impact it has all had on the market.
Tottenham’s departure to Borussia Dortmund was to be expected, especially after they lost the first round so soundly in Germany. As was Man United’s exit to Liverpool following a 2-0 defeat at Anfield in the first leg. Similarly, Sevilla took care of business at home to Basel in the second leg, calmly beating the Swiss side 3-0 after a scoreless draw in the first leg left the tie theoretically up for grabs.
In the clash of the evenly matched Villarreal and Bayer Leverkusen it was the Spanish side that advanced with a 2-0 win on aggregate. Finally, Shakhtar Donetsk overwhelmed competition outsiders Anderlecht 4-1 on aggregate.
The surprise packages of the competition though were really found in the not-so-marquee clashes such as Sporting Braga coming-from-behind to win their tie over Fenerbahce 4-1 and Lazio’s untimely exit to the unheralded Sparta Prague, as the Czech side stunned the Italians 3-0 on the away in the second leg to win the tie 4-1. Few saw that those coming, you could say. As well, Athletic Club defied the soccer odds when they edged Valencia on the away goal rule after the tie settled on a 2-2 draw.
Europa League Quarterfinal Draw Is Out
On the heels of the thrilling closing leg of the R16, the Europa League draw was revealed and promptly odds makers went to work, re-evaluating the market where appropriate.
Table 2. Europa League Odds Ahead of Quarterfinals
One of the main talking points of the draw is the massive collision between the top favourites in the field, Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool in the quarterfinals. Mainly, for its significance to the competition, which is twofold: another stellar team is set to depart early from the proceedings and, in all probability, the winner of this clash would become the runaway favourite going into the semi-finals, if not the top soccer pick to win it all. Another reason is the underlying reunion it features between Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and his former club, where he spent seven years, enjoyed many notable successes and was much loved by the organisation, players, fans and city.
Sevilla, remain second favourites in the competition, but their pairing with La Liga rivals Athletic Bilbao does serve up the potential for intrigue seeing as the pair are 2-2 in their last four meetings in domestic action, each side winning at home. This tie is not a dead cert as a result and it wouldn’t surprise us if there were an upset here.
The beneficiaries of the quarterfinal draw are the remaining four teams, two of which are priced as the longshots (at quadruple digits) going into the quarterfinals. Villarreal have drawn plucky underdogs Sparta Prague in the quarterfinals, subsequently improving to +700 on the Europa League odds board. They would do to take a page from Lazio’s untimely demise and not take the Czech outsiders for granted otherwise they too might join the exit queue.
Braga, however, of the lot strike the most intriguing possibility for contrarian value on your soccer picks. Shakhtar Donetsk are no pushovers – they were crowned champions in 2008/2009 – and consequently are priced at +900 to win it all. Braga, however, have been flying under the radar despite winning their group in the competition and going about their business in the knockouts unassumingly. It helps their draw has been kind to them as well and when it comes down to it, drawing Shakhtar is a whole lot better than drawing either Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool or Sevilla would have been. They could go all the way.