Soccer Picks: Porto vs. Sevilla in Europa League

Nila Amerova

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 8:17 PM GMT

FC Porto and Sevilla collide in UEFA Europa League quarterfinals with the hosts having the significant edge in the first leg. Does Sevilla have what it takes to turn this tie on its head? Find out as we breakdown this matchup and deliver our soccer-betting verdict.

FC Porto advance into last eight

FC Porto advanced into the last eight at the expense of a highly fancied Napoli side in the R16 (second overall favourites at +700 behind Juventus to win it all), beating the Italian side 3-2 on aggregate.

On the back of that upset in UEFA Europa League action, FC Porto have graduated in market estimation, now on +600 futures betting odds to win the competition outright, which makes them the third overall favourites behind Juventus (matched at +120) and Benfica (matched at +333).

Indeed, the Dragons punched above their perceived weight class. They kept Napoli off the scoreboard in a 1-0 victory in Estádio do Dragão and then pulled off a 2-2 draw in Naples to advance into the quarterfinals. In so doing FC Porto also successfully denied Rafa Benitez his chance to win this coveted title with three different clubs, having already enjoyed the success with Valencia and Chelsea (last season).

FC Porto enter the quarterfinals as the firm favourites at -120 to win outright at Bet365. They take on a solid side in Sevilla, one that is enjoying a good season in La Liga. But also one that remains unproven in Europe’s second-tier club competition, having fallen into a winnable group H (which they did win) and then drawn lightweights Maribor in the R32 and compatriots and La Liga bottom stragglers Real Betis in the last 16.

 

Sevilla have a lot to prove
Unquestionably, on paper, Sevilla had one of the easiest paths into the quarterfinals with Maribor and Real Betis strewn in their way. In reality, they had all to do to get this far, a happenstance that takes the shine off their soccer odds against FC Porto, which are being matched at +320 or thereabouts to win outright across sportsbooks.

The Slovenian side put forward a valiant effort but Sevilla edged past them 3-2 on aggregate in the R32. Much of the same happened against city rivals Real Betis, who transcended their relegation form in La Liga and rose to the occasion by winning the first leg 2-0 on the away. On their heels so, and in their rival’s kop, Sevilla needed a heroic effort to comeback in the R16 tie and advance into the quarterfinals. Tale told they won the second leg 2-0 to force extra time before advancing 4-3 on penalties.

It was both a heroic and dramatic effort in the last lap, indeed. But also it marked the second time Sevilla got away by the skin of their teeth only because they allowed their opponents to get on top of them too quickly.

In FC Porto they face their toughest challenge yet. A matchup they certainly would not want to fall behind in because it would almost surely spell disaster. It’d be the proverbial mountain to climb, which only the bravest of brave soccer bettors would contemplate backing.

As it stands, the prognosis isn’t encouraging for the first leg, a market stance probably down to their less than convincing run in the competition’s knockout stages. Still Sevilla know exactly what they are up against in Portugal. What’s more, the pressure is off them this time as they aren’t the favourites to win or advance. So one would assume they’ll head to Portugal not only prepared and focused but also they can’t possibly make the grievous mistake of underestimating their opponents.

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Soccer Betting Verdict: FC Porto are a difficult side to beat at home when playing in Primeira Liga. That isn’t necessarily the case however in European competition – having gone winless in Champions League with a 0-1-2 record and 1-1-0 at home in two rounds of Europa League knockouts. On the merit European form at home alone, FC Porto aren’t exactly a sure bet at -120 to win outright.

By that same token, Sevilla have wiggle room for the upset. In fact, form in the last five matches tips the scale towards the visitors who boast a 4-0-1 mark to their host’s 2-1-2 mark. What’s more, one can’t help but be impressed by Sevilla’s comeback from behind win over Real Betis in the last round, a dramatic turnaround that has given them a second lease on life in Europa League action. One that they could appreciate more than they ever did before and that could see them start this quarterfinal tie much better than expectations would have them. 

The soccer betting trends reveal a conspicuous lean towards the hosts at -120 and more likely than not they’ll come through on their odds. But if you are feeling brave then take Sevilla for the outright win at +320 or the draw at +240 on your soccer picks. It’s quite possible more great things are on the horizon from Sevilla.

Soccer Free Picks: Sevilla to win outright at +320