Europa League Odds, Picks and Predictions: Bayer Leverkusen vs. Rangers (Thursday, August 6)
Alexander Hassenstein/AFP via Getty Images. Pictured: Leon Bailey.
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Rangers
|Bayer Leverkusen Odds||-162 [BET NOW]|
|Rangers Odds||+420 [BET NOW]|
|Draw||+320 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||3 (-104/-121) [BET NOW]|
|Time||Thursday, 12:55 p.m. ET|
The Europa League Round of 16 continues on Thursday as Leverkusen hosts Scottish side Rangers for a trip to the quarterfinals. Leverkusen won the reverse fixture back in March, 3-1 and dominated the match from start to finish. With a two-goal cushion, Leverkusen needs to avoid losing by more than three goals to advance to the round of 16.
Bayer Leverkusen finished just short of a Champions League position in the Bundesliga after losing to Hertha Berlin on Match Day 33. Leverkusen will need to win the Europa League if they want to have a spot in next year’s Champions League.
Die Werkself did not finish the Bundesliga season on a high note. They took only 10 of a possible 21 points from their last seven matches and had an expected goal differential of -2.92. Playing against Rangers will be a step down in competition from what Leverkusen is used to facing in the Bundesliga. But if they’re not careful, this Rangers team could make things interesting.
Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.
Leverkusen have succeeded 4-2-3-1 formation, averaging 2.12 xGF per 90 minutes when they line up in that fashion. They’re a team that tries to outscore you with a high-risk, high-reward style that isolates their defense, as evidenced by their 1.36 xGA per 90 in the 4-2-3-1.
Rangers finished runner up to Celtic in the Scottish Premier League, but posted some gaudy expected goals numbers. They score on average 2.41 xG per match, while only conceding 0.84 xG per match.
Rangers made it to the Round of 16 by escaping a difficult Group G that featured wins against Porto and Feyenoord. In the quarterfinals, Rangers defeated Sporting Braga on an aggregate score of 4-2. Their magical run finally came to halt against Leverkusen in the reverse fixture at Ibrox Stadium losing 3-1. However, that score line is a bit deceiving as Rangers only lost the expected goals battle 1.01 to 1.49.
Rangers has only played one competitive fixture since March, which was a 1-0 over the weekend against Aberdeen. They’ll have to go all out in this match if they want to try and make a comeback.
Projections and Pick
With Leverkusen not needing to win this match, I think getting Rangers at plus odds is a good bet because they are absolutely capable of hanging with Leverkusen. So, I will be backing Rangers +0.5 at +135 (DraftKings) and would bet it all the way down to +113. I also wouldn’t be against a bet on their moneyline of +420 either.
Pick: Rangers +0.5 (+135)