Europa League Odds, Picks, Predictions: Projections & Best Bets, Including Napoli (Oct. 21)

Europa League Odds, Picks, Predictions: Projections & Best Bets, Including Napoli (Oct. 21) article feature image
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Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images. Pictured: Napoli standout Lorenzo Insigne.

The Europa League returns for the third round of group-stage matches after a relatively straightforward second round of contests.

There isn’t a lot of big time matchups Thursday, with the best meetings on the board featuring Real Betis vs. Bayer Leverkusen and Lazio vs. Marseille. So, that means this round of games is built for bettors like us.

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

Midtjylland vs. Red Star Belgrade

Midtjylland Odds +140
Red Star Belgrade Odds +195
Draw +255
Over/Under 2.5 (+105 / -125)
Day | Time Thursday | 12:45 p.m. ET
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Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here

Midtjylland has hardly been what I would consider dominant in the Danish Superliga, averaging 1.56 xG per match, while allowing 1.10 xG per contest. That’s a a drop-off from last season when they averaged 1.93 xGF per outing.

Their first two Europa League matches have not gone well either, as they only have one point and allowed Braga to create 3.13 xG a few weeks ago. Now, they’ll be going up against one of the best offense outside to of the top 10 league in Europe.

Red Star Belgrade has been a Europa League staple for several years. The Serbian champions looked really good in their first two opening group-stage match, beating both Braga and Ludogorets, while also winning the xG battle by a 2.63-1.71 margin.

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In the Serbian first division, they’re averaging a whopping 2.52 xG per match, while only conceding 0.92 xG per game and have no major injuries to speak of heading to Denmark.

The gap between the Serbian First Division and the Danish Superliga from a UEFA Coefficients perspective is pretty significant, with Serbia ranked as the 12th-most difficult league and Denmark well behind as the 22nd-most difficult European league.

I have Red Star Belgrade projected as a +115 favorite, so I think there’s some value on their Draw no Bet line at +115 odds on DraftKings and would play it down to -125 odds.

Pick: Red Star Belgrade — Draw No Bet (+115)

Real Betis vs. Bayer Leverkusen

Real Betis Odds +145
Bayer Leverkusen Odds +170
Draw +275
Over/Under 2.5 (-150 / +130)
Day | Time Thursday | 12:45 p.m. ET
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Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here

Real Betis is highly underrated, as they’re currently sitting in 10th place, but have the third best NPxGDiff in La Liga at +4.96 overall. The main reason for that is because they’ve been really unlucky offensively, scoring 12 goals off of 14.54 xG. The club is second in La Liga in shots per 90 minutes, shot-creating action and touches inside the opponents’ penalty area.

HIGHLIGHTS | @BorjaIglesias9 earns victory for @RealBetis_en in the 89th minute! 💚🐼

📺 #AlavesRealBetis pic.twitter.com/pwBWoowuS7

— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) October 18, 2021

They’ve also looked really good in their first two group stage matches beating Ferencvaros and Celtic by a combined xG line of 4.12-3.34 in the metric. Now, they’ll be going up against a side that’s extremely overdue for some negative regression.

Bayer Leverkusen has been incredibly fortunate in front of net this season in the Bundesliga, as they’ve scored 18 goals off of only 12.6 xG so far. They’re also 13th in shots per 90 minutes; ninth in big scoring chances; and, 15th in box entries. So, it’s going to be difficult for their offense to keep up with Real Betis, which is top three in La Liga in almost every offensive category.

From a UEFA Coefficients perspective, the Spanish top flight is more difficult than the Bundesliga, which also give them an advantage from a projection stand point. 

I have Real Betis projected at -117, so I think there’s plenty of value on their Draw No Bet line at -130 on DraftKings and would play it up to -145 odds.

Pick: Real Betis — Draw No Bet (-130)

Napoli vs. Legia Warsaw 

Napoli Odds -600
Legia Warsaw Odds +1400
Draw +750
Over/Under 2.5 (-150 / +130)
Day | Time Thursday | 3 p.m. ET
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Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here

This match has the potential to be one of the biggest blowouts of the entire Europa League season.

Napoli might the best team in Europe so far, winning their first eight matches by a 16-2 combined scoreline. They’ve been incredible defensively, as they lead Serie A with 4.8 xGA and 4.4 post-shot xGA, so the chances they’re allowing are not even high quality. They’ve also allowed the fewest touches in their own penalty area by a mile, so I don’t know how Legia Warsaw is going to be able to create anything.

Offensively, Napoli has been flying high as well, as they’re top two in Serie A in xG, shot-creating actions, touches in the opponents’ final third and carries into the opponents’ penalty area, per fbref.com.

The reason for that is Napoli switched to a 4-3-3 formation under new manager Luciano Spalletti, which has seen fantastic results considering they have a +8.47 xGDiff and average  2.19 xG per 90 minutes when using it.

Victor Osimhen scores the winner as Napoli go back to the top of Serie A table! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/LEV5OsdX5A

— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) October 17, 2021

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

Legia Warsaw also is only averaging 1.49 xG per match, while allowing 1.64 xG per contest. However, somehow they’ve won their first two games against Spartak Moscow and Leicester City, despite losing on xG by a combined 4.08-2.36 margin.

I have Napoli’s spread for this match projected at -2.50, so I think there’s some value on the Italian outfit at -2 on the spread line at -120 odds via DraftKings and will make it my top selection.

Pick: Napoli -2 (-120)

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