The the UEFA Europa League held its Quarterfinals Draw in Nyon, Switzerland today with the oddsmakers’ top two clubs—Wolfsburg and Napoli—drawing each other. Let’s look at the new Futures and Leg 1 odds and make some picks.
Europa League Draw Pits Oddsmakers’ Two Favorites in Round of 8
On Friday, at its headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland—where it was moved after previously residing in Paris and Berne (Germany)—the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) held an open draw for the Europa League (as well as the UEFA Champions League) Quarterfinals in a process (Open Draw) in which clubs from the same nation could possibly be drawn together. But, the Little Brother To The Champions League avoided that reality which actually did end up happening in The Big Tournament when holders Real Madrid and La Liga and city rivals Atlético Madrid saw The Luck of The Draw force them to meet some more this season (Los Rojiblancos have already defeated Real Madrid 4 times). And Spain’s La Liga has done very, very well in the Europa League recently, but will now have have just one club going to bat for them here (Sevilla), after the holders had to face leaguemates Villarreal in the Round of 16. The two countries with two teams still playing of the eight still alive here are Italy (from Serie A) and embattled Ukraine (from Ukrainian Premier League, or Miss? if you’re nasty), while Russia’s Premier League, the Belgian Pro League and Germany’s Fußball-Bundesliga all have on side remaining with defending champions Sevilla. Six of the last 11 winners of the Europa League have all been from Spain—Sevilla (3), Atlético Madrid (2), Valencia (1)—while two of those Finals were all-La Liga affairs (2006/2007, 2011/2012). The last non-Spanish club to capture the title here were Chelsea two years ago when the Blues defeated Portuguese side Benfica, 2-1 at the Amsterdam Arena in Amsterdam. Here is Friday’s Europa League Quarterfinal draw, Futures and Leg 1 game (and To Qualify and To Reach Finals) odds for the tournament, as well as a thumbnail sketch of the four coming series.
UEFA Europa League Quarterfinal Draw
Sevilla vs. Zenit St. Petersburg
Club Brugge vs. Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
Dynamo Kiev vs. Fiorentina
Wolfsburg vs. Napoli
UEFA Europa League Futures Odds (at Bet365)
Wolfsburg 3/1 (+300)
Napoli 9/2 (+450)
Sevilla 5/1 (+500)
Fiorentina 5/1 (+500)
Zenit. St. Petersburg 13/2 (+650)
Dynamo Kiev 10/1 (+1000)
Club Brugge 14/1 (+1400)
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 14/1 (+1400)
Three-Way Game Odds For Quarterfinal Leg 1 Matches (bet365)
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Sevilla -137, Draw +275, Zenit St. Petersburg +375
Club Brugge +100, Draw +240, Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk +275
Dynamo Kiev +150, Draw +229, Fiorentina +175
Wolfsburg -120, Draw +260, Napoli +320
Notes: Home teams first; Leg 2’s to be played on Thursday, April 23.
UEFA Europa League To Qualify (Advance to Semifinals) Odds (bet365)
Sevilla -154, Zenit St. Petersburg +115
Club Brugge -123, Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk -107
Fiorentina -178, Dynamo Kiev +138
Wolfsburg -133, Napoli +100
What to Look For in the Quarterfinal Knockout Round of 8’s Two Legs
Defending champions Sevilla (+210 To Reach Final, Boylesports) will try to hold Spain’s honor again, but facing Zenit St. Petersburg (+260) definitely won’t be an easy task, especially Leg 2 in St. Petersburg on April 23 where Vladimir Putin may mysteriously start at GK or annex the Sevillistas goal or something equally nefarious. One never knows with The Yellow King. Wolfsburg’s Future’s odds—from 20/1 to a tourney-favorite 3/1 over this last round of play— have dropped big time with the play of Bas Dost and Chelsea castoff Kevin De Bruyne (14 goals in 36 appearances in Fußball-Bundesliga, 5 goals in Europa League), but Die Wölfe (The Wolves) drew Serie A heavyweight Napoli (+225) and these two teams will dance for the first time ever in both club’s rich histories in what should be this round’s best matchup with Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuaín (6 goals) tied with Club Brugge’s Lior Refaelov for the leading scorer left in the tournament. Refaelov and Club Brugge (+475) and Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (+475) will meet in the closest series in this Quarterfinals in the Europa League soccer odds makers eyes, with both being given equal chance—though still the highest odds on the betting board—to make it to the championship game of Europa League. And, red-hot Fiorentina (+210)—fresh off an upset of Series A rivals AS Roma with a 3-0 win in Leg 2 in Rome on Thursday—will take on Dynamo Kiev (+475) in the series in which the favorite, the Viola, have the highest odds (-178, bet365) to advance to the Europa League Semifinals.
The Draw for the aforementioned Semifinals will be held on Tuesday, April 24 with Leg 1 matches being played on Thursday, May 7 and Leg 2’s scheduled for the following Thursday, May 14. This year’s Final will be held on Wednesday, May 27 at National Stadium (Stadion Narodowy) in Warsaw, Poland.
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE LEG 1 PICK: Wolfsburg -120 (bet365)
UFA EUROPA LEAGUE TO QUALIFY PICK: Sevilla -150 (Bwin, William Hill)