Europa League Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Our Projections & Best Bets, Featuring Lyon vs. Porto (March 17)

Europa League Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Our Projections & Best Bets, Featuring Lyon vs. Porto (March 17) article feature image

Jose Manuel Alvarez/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images. Pictured: Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.

After a number of chaotic first legs on the Europa League Round of 16 slate, the second meetings are bound to provide some quality entertainment.

West Ham United, Porto, Bayer Leverkusen and Real Betis will try and erase one goal deficits, Barcelona needs to break the deadlock in Turkey, while Braga and Red Star Belgrade have big mountains to climb.

A reminder that the away goals rule has been discontinued this season in the Europa League, so if teams are tied on aggregate after 90 minutes of the second leg, they go to extra time and then, if necessary, a penalty shootout.


First leg complete ✅ Best moment?

— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) March 10, 2022

If you'd like to read more about how I determine my projected lines and totals using an expected goals model, you can read about it here.

For the Europa League, my projections factor in UEFA Coefficients for every country represented in the competition. The projections also factor in the talent of each squad based on their total transfer value on Transfer Market.

That way, the projections can account for the strength of the domestic league each club plays in and the talent level of each club.

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Europa League Projections

Best Bets

Red Star Belgrade vs. Rangers 

Red Star Belgrade Odds+130
Rangers Odds+195
Over/Under2.5 (-135 / +100)
Day | TimeThursday | 1:45 p.m. ET
How To WatchParamount+ | fuboTV
Odds via BetMGM Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here

Rangers earned a 3-0 win in the first leg, but it was a pretty fraudulent scoreline. One of their goals came off a penalty and Red Star Belgrade missed one from the spot, so the final non-penalty expected goals was 0.94 for Rangers and 1.64 for Red Star.

The thing is, Red Star was overdue to concede some goals in the competition. During the group stage, it only allowed four goals off of 7.3 xG in the process. This is one of the more prolific offenses year in, year out in the tournament.

In the Serbian Super Liga, the club averages average a whopping 2.56 xG per match and its domestic season only has four matches left. That's an insane average to keep up for an entire season, especially in the 11th-most difficult league in Europe by UEFA Coefficients.

*(graphic via

Rangers is used to playing these type of high-scoring matches, considering their two legs against Borussia Dortmund in the knockout round saw 8.2 xG created, per

Rangers also is not a team set up to sit back and defend for 90 minutes to see a match out. Like we saw against Dortmund in the second leg, they're too used to having a large share of the possession and ripping teams apart on the counter, which is what I believe they will try to do against Red Star.

I have 3.40 goals projected for this match, so I love the total clearing 2.5 goals at -120 odds and will make it my top pick.

Pick: Total Over 2.5 Goals (-120)

Lyon vs. Porto 

Lyon Odds+115
Porto Odds+220
Over/Under2.5 (-140 / +100)
Day | TimeThursday | 4 p.m. ET
How To WatchParamount+ | fuboTV
Odds via BetMGM Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here

Lyon is up, 1-0, on aggregate, but is a pretty significant favorite to win this match, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Porto outshot Lyon, held more possession and had more progressive passes. Even the xG battle was pretty even with Porto, finishing 1.7-1.4 in Lyon's favor.

This is also not the best spot for Lyon. The side is fighting for its Champions League life in France, sitting six points off of third place with 10 matches to go. They’ve also been through a gauntlet of a schedule in February and March that has included Marseille, Lille, Lens, Nice, Monaco, Rennes and Porto.

So, considering this is Lyon's fourth match in 13 days, there has to be some tired legs in the squad. The club is coming off a really bad home defeat on Sunday against Rennes as well.

On the other hand, Porto is on cruise control in the Portuguese Primeira Liga, holding a six-point lead at the top of the table. Outside of matches against Liverpool, Porto really wasn’t that bad in the Champions League.

Against Atlético Madrid and AC Milan, it only allowed a total of 3.5 xG goals in four matches. So, Porto at the very least should be able to get a draw here.

I have Porto projected as a slight favorite on the road, so I like it getting +0.5 on the spread line at -140 odds and will make it my top selection.

Pick: Porto +0.5 (-140)

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