EUROPA LEAGUE BET TIPS:
The Europa League group stage starts on Thursday as the 12 groups battle it out to see which 24 teams will progress to the knockout stage, where they will lose to the 8 third-placed Champions League teams.
Ahh well, the journey is fun whilst it lasts.
PSV Vs Ludogrets Razgrad. 6PM
Dutch side PSV are more familiar with the Champions League but will no doubt want to have a successful Europa League campaign and will see it as a competition in which they can go far.
Having been drawn against AC Milan in the Champions League Playoff round, Eindhoven unfortunately find themselves in Europe’s second tier competition after losing 3-0 at the San Siro (4-1 on agg). Whilst they would much prefer trips to the likes of Old Trafford and the Nou Camp, they’re fans will supportive as they embark on this challenge.
Qualification from a group that also includes Dinamo Zagreb is no foregone conclusion but the Dutch outfit will be confident of topping it and a win here will set them on the right track. In addition to their ambitions in this competition, they will equally be desperate to rediscover the feeling of a win as it has now been 5 games since they last tasted victory. Having said that, four of those were draws and that one defeat (away at AC Milan) is their only loss of the season so far as PSV sit second in the Erevidersie with
Like PSV, Ludogrets were also one of those unlucky sides that fell at the final hurdle on the road to the Champions League ‘proper’. The Bulgarian champions lost 6-2 to Basel over two legs, including a 2-0 defeat in Switzerland. They do however sit top of their domestic league and look set to defend their title. However, the difference between their domestic opponents and those that they face on the continental stage is telling.
PSV are not far from the standard of Basel. They have a strong defensive unit that includes Jorgensen and Bruma whilst attacking players like, club captain, Georginio Wijnaldum will always pose a threat; at just 22, the attacking midfielder has already played over 70 matches for his club as well as representing his national side at senior level. Eindhoven also boast talents such as Stijn Schaars and the infectious workman Ji-Sung Park.
Conversely, there is only one name within the Ludogrets squad that will ring any bells and that is Michel Platini – except, rather than being the French legend that now heads UEFA, the Brazilian namesake is a mediocre striker coming towards the latter stages of an uninspiring career spent in Europe’s less talented leagues.
The Ludogrets team will try to pose a threat but PSV’s superiority will shine through. Like Basel before them, the Dutch team should be able to win with relative comfort and in front of their home support would be disappointed with anything less than the three points.
BET TIP: PSV win to nil @13/10 with Bet365
Tottenham Vs Tromso. 8PM.
It’s not the competition he’d ideally want to be in, but AVB will be looking to have a real go at the Europa League this campaign and go even further than last season’s quarter-final stage. Tromso at home won’t even be a test for his new look multi-talented squad of international players.
Tromso came 4th in a pretty poor Norwegian Tippeligaen. There isn’t a single household name within their squad and their last game in England was a 7-1 defeat at Chelsea (although that was in 1997/98). They will pose no threat to Spurs and the only question to ask about this game is ‘how many?’.
Tottenham will rotate their squad when it comes to this competition but that is not to say AVB won’t take it seriously. He knows that a trophy will endear him to the Spurs faithful and, having seen his previous employers win the tournament last term, will see this as a potential honour to add to his growing CV.
It would be a surprise if Tottenham aren’t winning by half-time and equally shocking should they concede, but these things can happen even in a game where the 90 minute result is already set in stone. There is very little value in either of those markets and the handicaps are a bit of a lottery as Spurs simply need to win the game; it is very unlikely that goal difference will come into play and AVB’s team should qualify from Group K with ease.
The only market that appeals in this one is ‘total bookings’. With Spurs expected to dominate possession, Tromso players could get a little aggressive as they attempt to win the ball back. Tired legs could also lead to reckless challenges and the away side may well struggle to keep up with the tempo.
Everyone knows that soft bookings are a regular feature of European competition and hopefully that will be the case tonight.
BET TIP: Over 3.5 bookings @41/40 with Bet365.
SIDE BET: The side bet for the night is a 5 team accumulator. Remember, place it with William Hill in order to qualify for the Acca Insurance promotion. The teams are; Fiorentina, Lazio, Dnipro, Freiburg, and Rubin Kazan at 11.85/1.