Lines on the Move in Thursday’s Europa League Action
Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images Europe
Fans and bettors don’t have to wait long for more European cup action after four exciting Champions League quarterfinal matches Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET, all four Europa League quarterfinal games will be played and the betting market indicates there’s value to be found in each.
- Sporting Lisbon at Atletico Madrid
- Red Bull Salzburg at Lazio
- Marseille at RB Leipzig
- CSKA Moscow at Arsenal
We’ve seen considerable line movement in three matches so far and there could be an upset brewing. Below we break down the line movement, public betting percentages and sharp money indicators to find the best bets in the opening legs.
Arsenal and Atletico Madrid are big favorites to advance to the semifinals, and both start the quarterfinals at home. Lazio (-158) and RB Leipzig (-138) are smaller favorites, and there could be some upsets in those 1st/2nd legs.
Odds to Advance to Semifinal
Atletico Madrid -495 vs. Sporting Lisbon +395
Lazio -158 vs. Red Bull Salzburg +138
RB Leipzig -138 vs. Marseille +118
Arsenal -390 vs. CSKA Moscow +320
Keep in mind that each matchup consists of a home-and-home series with the away goals as the tiebreaker. Now on to the value plays in the opening legs.
(Odds via 5Dimes; Betting Percentages via market average of multiple offshore sportsbooks)
Sporting Lisbon at Atletico Madrid
Moneyline Odds: Atletico -320, Sporting +1250, Draw +425
All line movement has been toward Atletico Madrid since opening, now -320 from the opener of -265. Some sportsbooks even list the home side as high as -350, which has enticed public bettors to go big by betting the Sporting Lisbon moneyline (+1250). Despite around 30% of the tickets on the large upset, books still aren’t worried and have instead moved the line toward Atletico. Instead of risking the Atletico Madrid moneyline (-320) on its own, they provide a great option to include in a parlay.
Marseille at RB Leipzig
Moneyline Odds: RB Leipzig -140, Marseille +417, Draw +303
Oddsmakers opened RB Leipzig -105 in the opening leg at home but sharp money has moved that line up to -140. Public bettors have had different ideas, as more than 60% of tickets have come in on Marseille to pull off the road upset at +417.
RB Leipzig have loads of attacking talent including Naby Keita and Timo Werner, and are coming off back-to-back wins in the Bundesliga with victories over Bayern (2-1) and Hannover (3-2). Marseille have had a solid season in France’s Ligue 1 but have only won one of five away matches in the Europa League.
Martin Laurence also wrote about how dangerous RB Leipzig were, and liked their chances to make the Europa League final. Fortunately I was able to grab RB Leipzig to win the opening leg at -115 when that was written and still firmly believe there’s value in the odds. This is a great opportunity in the opening leg to back a home side that the public is avoiding (and that the sharps are backing) so go with RB Leipzig -140.
Red Bull Salzburg at Lazio
Moneyline Odds: Lazio -130, RB Salzburg +400, Draw +285
Another one of Martin’s value plays to win the Europa League title was Red Bull Salzburg, and I’m sold on them getting a result in the opening leg at Lazio. They’re coming off 2-0 and 5-0 victories in the Austrian Bundesliga and have yet to lose a game in the Europa League tournament this season. Lazio have conceded goals in four straight games at home, and may not be able to keep Salzburg off the scoresheet either.
This is the only quarterfinal match that hasn’t seen much line movement, but that usually changes before kickoff. Lazio are getting the majority of moneyline tickets, yet the odds haven’t really budged around the market. I could see the line moving toward Salzburg so taking them at +0.5 goals (+115) is where the value is here.
CSKA Moscow at Arsenal
Moneyline Odds: Arsenal -309, CSKA +1118, Draw +433
Again, public bettors are wagering on the big upset, but the line movement has been toward heavy favorites Arsenal. The Gunners opened -236 and are up to -309, and need to shift all their focus on Europa League to salvage this season. The sharper money believes they’ll take care of business at home, and I agree, so including Arsenal -309 in a parlay should be safe.
All the second leg matches will be played simultaneously on Thursday, April 12th at 3 p.m. ET, and we’ll break down any potential value plays for those games next week.
Cover photo features RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner, Kevin Kampl and Yussuf Poulsen