UEFA Europa League Wolfsburg vs. Sporting: Highly Confident Germans are Solid Soccer Pick

Nikki Adams

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 6:52 PM GMT

Wolfsburg and Sporting Clube de Portugal collide in the R32 of UEFA Europa League action. Find out where the value soccer picks are as we preview the game and corresponding soccer odds.
 

Wolfsburg Home Faves
Wolfsburg are in the midst of a banner season in Bundesliga, their best run of form since winning the title six years ago (2008-2009 season). Sat second in the table behind league-leading Bayern Munich, they are the de facto second faves to win the Bundesliga title, albeit at staggering +3300 soccer odds it's a pipedream. Bayern Munich, at the absurd -50000 futures odds currently trading across sportsbook platforms, have the title practically in the bag.

Last year, Wolfsburg finished fifth in the table with an 18-6-10 record and 60 points. At the weekend, the conclusion of week 21 in German top flight, they are in second place with a 13-5-3 record and 44 points, eight points behind top of the table Bayern Munich and 8 points clear of third-placed Borussia M'gladbach. If they continue on this pace, their sure to sew up a second place finish and a spot in Champions League next season.

If there's one place Wolfsburg relies on, it's Volkswagen Arena. In other words, their turf. They are undefeated at home through 11 fixtures in Bundesliga action (9-2-0), a run of form underscored by three straight wins, the last two of which were a statement-making 4-1 win over Bayern Munich and a 3-0 win over Hoffenheim. Their last home loss dates back to November 27, a 2-0 loss to Everton in UEFA Europa League. Since then, they've gone 5-1-0 across all competitions.

Wolfsburg's surge in German top flight football has had a positive effect on their European bid where they are amongst the early favourites to win it all at +1200 futures odds (on par with Liverpool and Napoli). They finished second behind Everton in Group H behind a 3-1-2 mark and 10 points. They were the highest scoring outfit in their section with 14 goals, but they were also one of the most porous with 10 goals allowed, of which six were conceded to Everton alone across two fixtures.

 

Sporting Clube de Portugal Huge Underdogs
Sporting Clube de Portugal get a second shot at European glory after failing to advance into the Champions League knockouts. Falling into a relatively competitive Group H with Chelsea (eventual winners) and Schalke 04, Sporting de Clube could only muster up a 2-1-3 record and seven points. Although only a point separated Sporting and second-placed Schalke 04 in the table at the conclusion of the group stage, looking back at the 1-1 draw to competition lightweights Maribor on match day 1 proved to be the costly misstep that eventually decided where Sporting Clube de Portugal would be battling for European glory. Proof positive that the premium of a win can never be underestimated.

In domestic action, Sporting are third in Primeira Liga with a 12-4-5 mark and 44 points, which puts them five points behind Porto and nine points behind league-leaders Benfica. Most recently, Sporting have dropped points in their last two games: a 1-1 draw at home to Benfica and a 1-1 draw to sixth-placed Belenenses on the road. While home and road form in domestic action is relatively balanced, Sporting's road form in Europe leaves something to be desired after going 0-1-2 in Group H.

It's worth noting that Sporting's brief sojourn in Champions League hasn't impacted their Europa League futures odds. On the contrary, odds makers have priced them as middleweights. Also rans at +2500 futures to win it all.

 

Soccer Betting Verdict: Back Wolfsburg As Home Faves 
As far as the first leg of this tie goes, Wolfsburg are aptly priced as the -163 favourites to win straight up at home. Not only do they have good form in Europe's second-tier club competition, but they've got undeniable form at Volkswagen Arena. One defeat through the entire season is no mean feat.

To be fair, we can't say with absolute certainty Sporting don't have a notional shot in this tie. Anything can happen in the knockout stages, after all. And, more often than not, ties aren't won or lost in the first leg. If they can remain competitive through 60 minutes of football in Wolfsburg, they have the advantage of the return leg on their turf. Upset enthusiasts may well fancy Sporting on their tempting +500 soccer odds to win or, even, the draw, which can be backed at +320 at Bet365. Problem is there's very little to substantiate such a soccer pick, never mind the huge disparity in the soccer betting odds alone is a betting caveat soccer bettors should be mindful of before wagering. To borrow the words synonymous with the London Underground: Mind the Gap.

Unless otherwise indicated, it would foolhardy to recommend anything but shading Wolfsburg as the value soccer pick. The German side is solid at Volkswagen Arena, the very epitome of steadfastness and reliability (ironically, just as the auto their Stadium walls proudly bear). Let's also not forget one last thing: if Wolfsburg were confident before, consider how much more so they probably are now, only two weeks after beating Bayern Munich 4-1 and sending seismic shockwaves through sports betting circles.

Soccer Free Pick: Wolfsburg -163 to win

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