Europa League Odds, Picks, Predictions: Projections & Best Bets, Including Galatasary & Leicester City (Nov. 25)

Europa League Odds, Picks, Predictions: Projections & Best Bets, Including Galatasary & Leicester City (Nov. 25) article feature image

Rui Vieiera/Pool/AFP via Getty Images. Pictured: Leicester City star Jamie Vardy.

The Europa League returns Thursday for the fourth round of group-stage matches. Similar to the Champions League, there are only two games left in this round of play and there are some huge contests that could decide who wins each group or who's subject to the playoff between the third-place teams coming down from the Champions League.

There aren't a lot of big-time matchups, with the best meeting on the board featuring Monaco vs. Real Sociedad. So, that means this round is built for bettors like us and good if you need a distraction on Thanksgiving Day.

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.

Europa League Projections

Best Bets

Leverkusen vs. Celtic

Leverkusen Odds-220
Celtic Odds+550
Over/Under3.5 (+140 / -170)
Day | TimeThursday | 12:45 p.m. ET
How To WatchParamount+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here

Bayer Leverkusen is currently sitting atop Group G, with a three-point cushion over second-place Real Betis.

However, Leverkusen is one of the most overrated sides in Europe. So far in the Bundesliga this season, Leverkusen has scored 25 goals off of 17.58 expected goals. They're also 15th in shots per 90 minutes; 12th in big scoring chances; and, 17th in crosses completed into the penalty area. So, it's safe to say they're due for some negative regression.

In the last meeting against Celtic, Leverkusen thrashed them in a 4-0 rout, but the non-penalty xG battle was pretty close, with Celtic losing by 2.75-1.78 margin. Additionally, Celtic held 55% possession and out-shot Leverkusen, 18-17, in the match. They just weren't clinical in the final third of the pitch.

Jota's sensational assist, from every angle and on repeat 🔁🤤@CelticFC |

— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) October 22, 2021

Celtic has been in great form as of late in the Scottish Premier League and Europa League, winning seven of their last eight matches. Celtic is an offensive powerhouse in Scotland, averaging 2.21 xG per match. They haven't slowed down in the Europa League either, creating 9.3 xG in four games.

With how overvalued Leverkusen is offensively and given how much closer the last meeting between these two was rather than a blowout win, I think there's some value on Celtic, who have to win to have any hope of reaching the knockout stage.

I only have Leverkusen projected at -106, so I love Celtic's spread of +1 at +115 odds via DraftKings and will make it my top pick.

Pick: Celtic +1 (+115)

Galatasaray vs. Marseille

Galatasaray Odds+185
Marseille Odds+155
Over/Under2.5 (+105 / -125)
Day | TimeThursday | 12:45 p.m. ET
How To WatchParamount+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here

Yes, I know no Galatasaray match in the Europa League has gone over 2.5 goals, but they are overdue for a thriller.

Galatasaray is currently in first place in Group E with a three-point cushion over Lazio, but there is some interesting game theory going on here. If Galatasaray wins and Lazio loses or draws in Moscow, they win the group.

However, a draw with Marseille leaves them open to the possibility of losing out entirely on a spot in the knockout stage since they have to travel to Lazio, and Marseille gets to face Lokomotiv Moscow at home. So, I don't think Galatasaray can just park the bus and hope for a draw.

Galatasaray has been quite lucky to have eight points through four matches, considering they have a -0.6 xGDiff thus far. Marseille has been really good in the Europa League, creating 6.3 xG in four matches. However, only three have found the back of the net, so they're due for some positive regression.

Flowing one-touch football at its very best 👏

🟡🔴 Kerem Aktürkoğlu finishes off fine @Galatasaray move

— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) October 25, 2021

Even though Galatasaray's matches have been low scoring, that's not their style of play considering they average 1.88 xGF per match and allow 1.25 xG per match in the Turkish Super Lig. Additionally, 62% of their matches domestically have finished with at least three goals.

Marseille is top seven in pretty much every single offensive metric in Ligue 1, but they've been struggling defensively, allowing 1.42 xG per match and rank 14th in big scoring chances allowed.

I have 2.93 goals projected for this game, so there's some value on the total over 2.5 goals at +105 odds.

Pick: Total Over 2.5 Goals (+105)

Leicester City vs. Legia Warsaw 

Leicester Odds-550
Legia Warsaw Odds+1300
Over/Under2.5 (+105 / -125)
Day | TimeThursday | 3 p.m. ET
How To WatchParamount+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here

Where Leicester City has been at their best is when manager Brendan Rodgers has them playing out of a 3-4-1-2 formation with any combination of Patson Daka, Kelechi Iheanacho and Jamie Vardy up top. That allows James Maddison to play his natural No. 10 role.

When Leicester sets up that way, which has been for about 240 minutes this season, they have a +2.35 xGDiff and that's the only formation they have a positive xGDiff playing out so far. 

44': Spartak 2-0 Leicester
45': Spartak 2-1 Leicester
48': Spartak 2-2 Leicester
54': Spartak 2-3 Leicester


— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) October 20, 2021

In the Europa League, Leicester have been incredibly unlucky, as they've created 8.0 xG and conceded just 5.4 xGA, but only have five points in four matches to show for it. The Foxes also completely dominated the previous meeting in Poland between these two, winning on expected goals by a 2.16-1.23 advantage.

Legia Warsaw has been struggling domestically in Poland, as they've lost seven consecutive matches and have only nine points in 13 games, which is quite awful when you consider that Poland is the 26th-most difficult league by UEFA Coefficients.

Also, Legia Warsaw is only averaging 1.78 xG per match, while yielding 1.58 xG per contest on the domestic front. However, somehow they've won their first two games against Spartak Moscow and Leicester City, putting them second in the group with a -7.3 xGDiff entering the latest fixtures. They've allowed 10.8 xG in four games, which is the highest mark of anyone in the competition.

With Leicester needing all three points to get to the knockout stage, I think they're going to crush one of the worst Europa League teams.

I have Leicester's spread projected at -2.13, so there's value on their spread of -2 at -105 odds and will make it my top selection.

Pick: Leicester -2 (-105)

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