UEFA Europa League Soccer Picks: Trabzonspor vs. Napoli in Knockout Stage

Kevin Stott

Sunday, February 15, 2015 2:16 PM GMT

Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015 2:16 PM GMT

Read this preview before betting on Trabzonspor AS vs. Napoli, as Leg 1 of their UEFA Europa League Round of 32 series in a match begins on Thursday.

Trabzonspor vs. Napoli, Thursday 18:00 (FOX Soccer 2 G0, ESPN3, WatchESPN (US), 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT):
The oddsmakers’ second favorite to win the UEFA Europa League—Napoli (9/1)—heads to Hüseyin Avni Aker Stadium in Trabzon, Turkey on Thursday to face Turkish Süper Lig side Trabzonspor in leg 1 of their series. This is the first time that the two clubs are playing in a UEFA competition.

On the extremely popular Three-Way Line, Soccer odds makers have visitors Napoli healthy +100 favorites (bet365), with hosts Trabzonspor +275 underdogs and the Draw priced at +240. The Total Goals is 2½ (Under -125, Over +100, bet365) while the Both Teams To Score prop bet lined at Yes -125 and No +110 (Skybet). The Team To Score First odds see Napoli lined at -162 and Trabzonspor set at +150 (No Goals, +900, bet365) Some other Prop bets: Napoli To Win To Nil, (+250, BetVictor; Trabzonspor To Win To Nil +550); and, Asian Handicap Napoli -1 (+185, bet365).

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Trabzonspor A.S.
Trabzonspor (+15,000, 150/1 to win UEFA Europa League, 888sport) and head coach Ersun Yanal love to push the pace but pushing the pace in the Turkish Süper Lig at home is a whole lot easier than it is pushing the pace at home against an emerging talent like Napoli in the Europa League, Susie. But you can sure bet the Karadeniz Firtinasi (Black Sea Storm) will give it a try. Trabzonspor are winless here at home in Trabzon in its L6 against Italian sides (0-3-3) and have lost all 4 of its Spring UEFA club competition matches, being outscored by a cumulative 10-2 in process, by Juventus (twice) and PSV Eindhoven. In its 5 home games in Europa League play this year, the Black Sea Storm is 4-0-1 with that lone loss coming to Legia Warszawa (0-1). Black Hole Sun, won’t you come and wash away the Sun.

Besides being outclassed here, Trabzonspor also has its share of Suspension and Injury problems. MFs Kévin Constant and Mehmet Ekici are both suspended, while D Essaïd Belkalem (hamstring), RB José Bosingwa (thigh), striker Abdul Majeed Waris (groin) look like they will all be missing this crucial matchup because of injuries. And Trabzonspor teammates, striker Óscar Cardozo (back; +175 Anytime Goalscorer, bet365) and MF Yusuf Erdogan (ankle), are both also hobbled heading in, so, the homeboys could be in much better shape for this party heading in than they are. Hey, we all have issues, Trabzy. Striker Mustapha Yatabaré (+275), striker Abdul Majeed Waris (+350) and MF Sefa Yilmaz (+450) will have to try to make things happen on offense for Trabzonspor.

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SSC Napoli
Napoli (9/1 to make it all the way to the Europa League final, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) will be playing its first game against a Turkish opponent in a UEFA competition. La Beneamata and manager Rafael Benítez—who won the Coppa Italia last year—have won only one time on the Road in 4 European games this season but Napoli—which won this tournament in 1989 when it was still called the UEFA Cup—and and underappreciated GK Rafael have not allowed a goal in its L3 UEFA Europa League encounters (2-1-0). So, Napoli should be the favorite here, and should be able to find a way to win with Trabzonspor decimated by Suspensions and Injuries and with skipper Benítez—who led Chelsea to this tournament championship just two years ago—proving he knows how to advance in Knockout Stage play.

As always Napoli—which usually lines up in a 4-2-3-1 tactical formation—will look to ace striker Gonzalo Higuaín (12 goals Serie A, +120 Anytime Goalscorer, bet365), José Callejón (9 goals, +200), striker Duran Zapata (4 goals, +162), Manolo Gabbiadini (+175), Dries Mertens (2 goals, +240), Marek Hamšík (2 goals, +240), Jonathan de Guzmán (3 goals, +350) and Jorginho (+500) for scoring here in Turkey. La Beneamata will be without the services of striker Lorenzo Insigne (knee), wing back Giandomenico Mesto (thigh) and defender Zuniga (knee), but there is no comparison between Napoli’s injury woes to those of Trabzonspor. One looks to have a broken leg, the other just a broken toe.

 

Best Betting Approaches
With Rafael in goal and an underrated defense, which includes two incredibly solid LBs—Ivan Strinic and Faouzi Ghoulam—Napoli is capable of both trying outscore opponents just as much as it is with trying to shut them down. And it won’t be easy in front of a raucous crowd in Trabzon, but third-place Napoli—which is currently losing 3-0 in the Second Half at Palermo—knows that it probably won’t catch defending Serie A champions Juventus in the league (42-53, 11 points back), so, getting off to a good start here in Leg 1 on the road at Trabzonspor will be imperative toward trying to bring at least one piece of silverware back to Turin this year. And laying a goal on the Asian Handicap seems appropriate here in a match that may not have the kind of scoring despite the number of talented scorers likely to be on the pitch despite the aforementioned personnel issues for Trabzonspor. A Prop Soccer Pick on Napoli To Score First (-137, Skybet) also sounds like pretty sage advice here in Turkey on Thursday on the historical Silk Road. So you thought you might like to go to the show.

Prediction: Trabzonspor 0 Napoli 2

Free Soccer Picks: Napoli -187, Napoli -1 +185 (bet365)

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