Europa League Odds, Picks, Predictions: Projections & Best Bets, Including Eintracht Frankfurt (Sept. 30)

Europa League Odds, Picks, Predictions: Projections & Best Bets, Including Eintracht Frankfurt (Sept. 30) article feature image
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Clive Rose/Pool/AFP via Getty Images. Pictured: West Ham United standout Michail Antonio scores a goal against Tottenham Hotspur.

  • We have another loaded card on Thursday's Europa League schedule.
  • Soccer analyst BJ Cunningham breaks things down, delivering his odds, predictions, projections and best bets.
  • Check out below why he has Eintracht Frankfurt and Red Star Belgrade part of his plays.

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

There isn’t a lot of big time matchups Thursday, with the best meeting on the board featuring Real Sociedad taking on Monaco. 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

Royal Antwerp vs. Eintracht Frankfurt

Antwerp Odds +280
Eintracht Odds -110
Draw +290
Over/Under 2.5 (-155 / +125)
Day | Time Thursday | 12:45 p.m. ET
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Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here

Royal Antwerp might be on top of the Belgian Pro League table after seven matches, but they have run incredibly lucky this season.

The host side is averaging 1.33 xG per match and allowing 2.00 xG per game, which is the highest mark in Belgium. They dropped their first contest in a 2-1 loss to Olympiacos in Greece, but did win the expected-goals battle by a 1.58-1.49 margin. However, Royal Antwerp are missing three starters against Frankfurt, so I think we will see a lot of negative regression against a big club.

Frankfurt has had an interesting start to their Bundesliga campaign after selling top striker Andre Silva to RB Leipzig this past summer. They have yet to win in this campaign, drawing five matches and losing once overall.

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However, their defense has been really solid, allowing only 6.8 non-penalty xG through their first six fixtures and allowed the fewest shot-creating actions and touches in their own final third (per fbref.com), which is impressive considering they’ve already faced Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg.

The gap between the Bundesliga and the Belgian Pro League from a UEFA Coefficients perspective is signifiant, with Germany ranked as the fourth-most difficult league and Belgium ranked 13th in the same category.

I have Frankfurt projected at -150 moneyline odds, so I think there’s value on them on the road to grab all three points at -110 via DraftKings and would play it up to -130 odds.

Pick: Frankfurt ML (-110)

Ludogorets vs. Red Star Belgrade

Ludogorets Odds +150
Red Star Belgrade Odds +180
Draw +245
Over/Under 2.5 (+100 / -125)
Day | Time Thursday | 3 p.m. ET
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Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here

I really think the wrong team is favored in this match.

Ludogorets earned a 1-1 draw on the road at Danish side Midtjylland in their first Europa League game, but were throughly dominated in losing the xG battle by a 2.11-0.59 margin. In fact, they scored one of their only three shots and it was their lone chance within 25 yards of goal.

Midtjylland was really unlucky to not find the back of the net more than once, finishing with 10 shots inside Ludogorets penalty area.

Ludogorets, the Bulgarian champion, has been cruising in their domestic campaign, winning six of their first seven matches. They’re averaging 1.95 xG per match, while only allowing 0.85 xG per game. However, they’re going to be without two of their best players — Wanderson and Cauley — for this contest.

Ludogorets is also about to run into the buzz saw that is Red Star Belgrade, who has been a Europa League staple for a number of years now. The Serbian champions looked really good in their opening group-stage match, beating Portuguese side Braga, 2-1, and finished with a 1.70-0.89 xG advantage.

In the Serbian first division, they’re averaging a whopping 2.57 xG per match, while only conceding 0.85 xG per game and have no major injuries to speak of heading to Razgrad.

The gap between the Bulgarian First Division and the Serbian Super Liga from a UEFA Coefficients perspective is signifiant, with Serbia ranked as the 12th-most difficult league and Bulgaria sitting as the 24th-most difficult league.

I have Red Star Belgrade projected as a +102 favorite, so I love the Serbian champion’s Draw No Bet line of +100 at DraftKings as my top selection.

Pick: Red Star Belgrade — Draw No Bet (+100)

Braga vs. Midtjylland 

Braga Odds +110
Midtjylland Odds +260
Draw +250
Over/Under 2.5 (-105 / -120)
Day | Time Thursday | 3 p.m. ET
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Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here

Braga might have struggled in their first Europa League match against Red Star Belgrade, but they’re a much better team than they showed.

Braga is the best team in Portugal outside of the big three (Sporting Lisbon, Porto and Benfica) and have been in the Europa League for seven consecutive seasons. They only have 12 points through their first seven matches domestically, but have been solid with a +2.6 xGDiff, which is a carryover from last season when they finished in fourth with a +18.4 xGDiff overall.

Midtjylland has hardly been what I would consider dominant in the Danish Superliga, averaging 1.68 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.

The gap between the Portuguese Primeira Liga and the Danish Superliga from a UEFA Coefficients perspective is pretty significant, with Portugal ranked as the fifth-most difficult league and Denmark well behind as the 22nd-most difficult European league. Additioanlly, according to TransferMarkt, Braga’s squad value is $131.07 million, while Midtjylland’s is only $43.78 million.

I have Braga projected as a -125 favorite at home, so I think there’s some value on them at +110 on DraftKings and would play it down to +100 odds.

Pick: Braga ML (+110)

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