Europa League Odds, Picks, Predictions: Our 2 Best Bets, Including RB Leipzig vs. Atalanta, West Ham United vs. Lyon (April 7)

Europa League Odds, Picks, Predictions: Our 2 Best Bets, Including RB Leipzig vs. Atalanta, West Ham United vs. Lyon (April 7) article feature image

Isabella Bonotto/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images. Pictured: Atalanta standout Luis Muriel.

Like the Champions League, the Europa League is also down to the final eight teams, with the first legs all taking place Thursday in Europe's second-tier competition.

RB Leipzig received free advancement into the quarterfinal round after UEFA removed Spartak Moscow from the competition because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The German side will face off with Atalanta, the last Italian team in Europe in the most high-profile matchup of this round.

Barcelona is now the title favorite since its uptick in form, but has a tricky matchup with Eintracht Frankfurt, which has struggled in Germany but shined in Europe this season. Rangers and Braga are the surprise packages to make it this far and one will make the semifinals.

West Ham United's best chance at the Champions League now comes through this competition, with the top four slipping away in the Premier League, but Lyon is an improved and difficult French side.

Here are my two best bets for the first leg of the Europa League quarterfinals:

BJ Cunningham's Europa League Projections

Thursday's Best Bets

RB Leipzig vs. Atalanta

RB Leipzig Odds-125
Atalanta Odds+320
Over/Under2.5 (-165 / +125)
Day | TimeThursday | 12:45 p.m. ET
How To WatchParamount+
Odds updated via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

This is a classic buy-low, sell-high spot in the Europa League following the results from last weekend. Leipzig thrashed Dortmund on the counterattack, en route to a 4-1 victory. However, the Black and Yellows had a lot of weaknesses that played right into how the Red Bulls wanted to play.

Once one of the more undervalued teams in Europe following an unlucky start, Leipzig is now due for some regression. Since Jan. 1 in the Bundesliga, the Red Bulls own a +0.39 xG difference per 90 minutes. Their actual goal difference is a whopping +1.32/90 minutes, which is second best in the league behind only Bayern Munich.

They only have one loss since the start of the new year and it came against the Bavarians. The defense has improved under new manager Domenico Tedesco, but the club is now due to concede more goals.

With its offense running ridiculously hot with 1.37 xG per 90 minutes and 2.3 goals scored per match since Jan. 1, a more pragmatic Atalanta on the road is undervalued to get a result.

Atalanta lost, 3-1, to Napoli this past weekend, but the Serie A club had more shots and chances created. La Dea has already handled a similar profile team in Bayer Leverkusen and will be competitive with Leipzig here.

Dabbundo's Pick: Atalanta +0.5 (-110 or better)

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West Ham vs. Lyon

West Ham Odds+100
Lyon Odds+270
Over/Under2.5 (-120 / -100)
Day | TimeThursday | 3 p.m. ET
How To WatchParamount+
Odds updated via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

West Ham's underlying numbers in the EPL suggest the club is due for some attacking regression. The Hammers have scored 51 goals from 42 xG, which is the largest over-performance when comparing goals to xG in the entire league. Their path up to this point in the competition has also been quite favorable, as they had a matchup with an overrated Sevilla side in the Round of 16 that also had vastly over-performed its numbers.

West Ham is effective when it's able to play on the counterattack, but in this match it'll be forced to break down Lyon's lower-block defensive approach on the road. The club excelled at this early in the season, but regression has come in its ability to dominate games and create scoring chances through pressing and possessing the ball. As Michail Antonio's numbers have declined in attack, the Hammers haven't fared well as favorites in recent months.

Lyon was quite impressive in its Round of 16 match against Porto, which in my ratings is a better team than Sevilla. The French side is one of the biggest under-performers in all of Ligue 1 with just 43 goals from 51.9 xG this season.

Lyon's set piece defense has also been among the best in the French top flight, which is a major key to stopping this West Ham attack that has used set plays to overcome its lack of shots form open play under manager David Moyes. Since adding Tanguy Ndombele to replace Bruno Guimaries in the January transfer window, the side has improved its attacking ball-progression numbers and should be dangerous on the counterattack in this match.

I wouldn't love to back Lyon as a favorite, but as an underdog, I project value on the side and think at -120 or better it's at a good price to get at least a draw.

Dabbundo's Pick: Lyon +0.5 (-120 or better)

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