Soccer Picks: Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Real Sociedad Champions League

Nila Amerova

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 4:39 PM UTC

Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013 4:39 PM UTC

Shakhtar Donetsk look to sweep the series against Real Sociedad. Join us as we breakdown this clash and serve up soccer picks for your consideration. 

Early Champions League betting markets are already in full swing and although we are a full week ahead of this clash getting underway, we couldn’t wait to start weighing in on the odds. Here goes.

Shakhtar Donetsk with dark horse credentials

Believe it or not, Shakhtar Donetsk are still considered a dark horse in Group A despite having lost some of their best talent – Fernandinho and Mkhitaryan – in the summer. They are just three-points adrift of Manchester United at the top of the table, two points behind Bayer Leverkusen – a position that gives them a plausible shot for the last 16 and earns them tempting +190 future odds to qualify. To steal Man U and Bayer Leverkusen’s thunder and clinch top spot they are a bit of a long shot at +1000 (or therein) across sportsbooks, but to merit a price tag is to still have a notional shot. A shot that would improve immensely should they win this bout and, in turn, should the top two favourites nullify each other out on a draw in the section’s second game.

Shakhtar Donetsk are unbeaten at home but have yet to win at Donbass Arena in Champions League this season. Then again, that’s understandable considering they faced off against the bookies short-odds-on favourites in the Group to reach the last 16. Put another way, draws against Man U and Bayer Leverkusen have to be considered positive results; certainly given the quality of both teams and when considering they leaked points they are still within touching distance of the knockout phases.

You can definitely expect Shakhtar Donetsk to face much less resistance this time around, a notion that bookies advance with favourable -163 soccer odds to win outright. Real Sociedad is to all intents and purposes done for the season on the European front – well, technically they could still make one final push but that rests on too many outcomes coming to fruition, too many of which are not in their hands and is quantified by +5000 future odds to qualify in group betting markets.

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We can’t know what Jagoba Arrasate’s decision will be but when European action seems to be more pipedream than realistic hope, domestic and Copa del Rey ambitions should begin take precedence. And they have a stretch of winnable games coming up that could see them advance their cause in both.

Of course this doesn’t mean that they will be throwing in the towel, giving Shakhtar a free pass so to speak. Just to be in the Champions League alone is an honour and so we can expect a respectable account. But when the odds are stacked against them, running as high as +280 on the draw and +450 on the outright win in Kiev, Arraste will be mindful of risking his players at the expense of other campaigns surely.

Soccer Betting Verdict: Before piling onto either side sports bettors should give pause for thought to what is at stake here and which team has the bigger stake in the result. The hosts who are motivated to win by a conceivable shot at advancing, or the visitors whose pride more than anything else is on the line? It’s obvious that the former trumps the latter, especially with home advantage underscoring said motivation.

Shakhtar Donetsk need this win to advance their bid for the last 16 and given that big incentive they do appear to be the better soccer pick at -163 to win outright. The last time these two sides met in San Sebastian, Shakhtar ran away 2-0 winners so they have to be confident of their chances to replicate that performance at home.

Soccer Free Picks: Shakhtar Donetsk to win outright at -163

Be sure to check out some of my other Champions League Picks:

Bayer Leverkusen vs. Manchester United

Juventus vs. FC Copenhagen

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