Soccer Picks: Spanish Teams Likely To Reach Europa League Final

Jim Makos

Monday, May 2, 2016 10:21 PM GMT

Soccer betting markets reveal some strong trends for both Sevilla and Villarreal, which are set to reach Europa League final stage. Should we follow the trends?

Sevilla and Liverpool are hosting Shakhtar and Liverpool respectively for the second game of Europa League’s semifinal. Spanish teams have an edge, as they both got a positive result in the first leg. That led to bettors pushing their soccer odds lower at the Europa League Winner market. Is that betting trend strong enough to reveal the finalists?

 

Sevilla vs. Shakhtar
Sevilla will be looking to build upon the draw they got away with in Donetsk. As they managed to score two goals away, theoretically their task will be easier at their home venue. Besides, they need only a clean sheet to get past Shakhtar and see themselves into the Final.

Of course, the high-scoring game significantly increased volatility in betting markets last week, which is apparent on the probability charts below.

Sevilla’s chart reveals a strong uptrend for the Spanish team from the very early stages of Europa League. Although sometimes challenged, that trend continued and Sevilla is now posing as the big favorite to win the title. Their current odds (+160) are at their shortest price and will likely shorten even more, should they at least draw with Shakhtar.

Shakhtar’s odds on the other hand have drifted to +1000 (9% chance, or 11.0 decimal odds), despite hitting +300 (25% chance) momentarily during the first game. Their implied chance skyrocketed to 25% but very quickly collapsed to 10% following the 2-2 draw at home. That figure is in fact lower than 12.5%, the support level where the line had found support numerous times the past weeks. Here’s how their odds have moved in Bet365 and William Hill in the previous six months.

For that reason, I expect Shakhtar to be knocked out of the tournament and Sevilla to reach the final stage.


 

Liverpool vs. Villarreal
Liverpool will be hosting Villarreal after a 0-1 defeat in the first leg. The home advantage will probably lure gamblers to bet on the English team, hoping for a stellar performance against the second favorite for the Cup. Liverpool is currently running third in bettors’ preferences, trading at +300, while sportsbooks have priced Villarreal to win Europa League at +250.

Liverpool fans almost lost hope at some point, as the chart implies. But since Liverpool’s chance diminished to near zero, the Englishmen came back and their chance exploded up to 40% in a single night! Following a short pull back to 35%, which corresponds to odds of about +200, backers and layers fought each other out and odds remained unchanged until Liverpool’s visit to Spain.

As they conceded a goal in that game, their chance dropped quickly to 25% (+300) and has been there since the Semi-Final’s first game. That figure coincides with the resistance level that the uptrend had met a few months ago, before their chance dove in single digit territory. Technical speaking, that might be a sign for a likely uptrend resume. Yet, there is no confirmation for that, while at the same time Villarreal’s trend has shown no weakness, hitting new highs.

Therefore, we should not be fooled by the seemingly ‘strong’ downtrend Liverpool odds are following at Bet365 or William Hill. That’s why I am including the probability charts above, as they offer greater detail.

Even if Liverpool scores first, I doubt their probability would increase past 40%, as they will still need to score again to knock out the Spaniards. At the same time, time will work in favor of Villarreal, as the goalless draw would bring them closer to the Final.

Thus, their trend will keep on going up, further strengthening their chance to win the title. Obviously, in the event of scoring first, Villarreal’s chance will skyrocket while Liverpool’s chance will collapse way below the yet-unconfirmed support level.

Here’s the odds action for Villarreal at some popular sportsbooks.

Both Spanish teams look strong at the Semi Final stage going into the second game and I have no trouble including them in my current soccer picks. Their rivals will have their chance to turn the situation around, however, the betting markets show some powerful trends for Sevilla and Villarreal.

Even if one of them is knocked out, I bet the other one will be priced as the favorite in the Final game. Except of course, if both lose, in which scenario I’d pick Liverpool to beat Shakhtar. But that’s a longshot at this time and I’d trust my money to the Spaniards.