Europa League Round of 32: Public Bettors Aren’t Backing Arsenal or Chelsea
Getty Images. Pictured: Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
- There are fifteen Europa League Round of 32 matches set for Thursday including Arsenal-BATE (12:55 p.m. ET) and Chelsea-Malmo (3 p.m. ET).
- Public bettors have been steering toward the underdogs thus far but I think there's value elsewhere in the market.
The Europa League Round of 32 kicked off on Tuesday afternoon with Fenerbahce holding on for a 1-0 win over Zenit St. Petersburg in the opening leg.
The remaining 15 matches will be played on Thursday, and there are some intriguing matchups including Lazio-Sevilla, Celtic-Valencia and Galatasaray-Benfica, along with other big names like Arsenal, Chelsea and Napoli.
Below lists the odds to advance for each Round of 32 matchup:
And here’s a look at odds for each first leg matchup, along with betting previews and value bets (2018-19 Europa League Season Record: 0-0-0).
Arsenal at BATE (12:55 p.m. ET)
These clubs met in last season’s Europa League group stage where Arsenal won 6-0 at home and 4-2 on the road. Arsenal didn’t lose in this year’s group stage, winning 5 and drawing 1, while boasting a string of five straight shutouts.
Odds for the first leg are shorter than I expected (-225), but I still see the Gunners rolling despite potentially starting a younger lineup.
Interestingly, public bettors are taking a shot on BATE at home, making Arsenal the contrarian favorite.
Sevilla at Lazio (12:55 p.m. ET)
Both clubs are battling for a coveted fourth spot in their domestic leagues, but winning the Europa League is another goal in mind. Sevilla currently sit in fourth place in Spain’s La Liga while Lazio are just a point out of fourth place in Italy’s Serie A.
This will be the first competitive match between these two squads. Sevilla are very familiar with this tournament as they won the Europa League three straight seasons: 2013-14, 2014-15, and 2015-16. Lazio are appearing in the Europa League for the third year in a row and seven of the last 10.
Lazio (+140) have reeled off consecutive 1-0 wins in Serie A and also qualified for the Coppa Italia Semifinal, but they’re getting little public support in the first leg Europa League matchup against Sevilla.
Lazio did concede 11 goals in the group stage, most of the remaining clubs, but Thursday’s over/under is trending toward just 2 goals.
Sevilla are getting the majority of bets as the road dog but odds have moved toward Lazio, and that’s who I’ll be investing my money in as well.
Real Betis at Rennes (12:55 p.m. ET)
Real Betis have been one of those clubs I’ve kept coming back to all season long, and they’ve got the squad to make a deep run in the Europa League. They’re also still alive in Spain’s Copa del Rey, where they could face Barcelona or Real Madrid in the final.
Since opening, odds have actually shifted toward Rennes (+180 to +160), but I’ll be going the other way now that Betis are up to +195.
Leverkusen at Krasnodar (12:55 p.m. ET)
There’s been considerable line movement in this match as Leverkusen have gone from +125 to +105. Public betting percentages are spread out on all three moneyline outcomes, but sharp money has taken a side on Leverkusen.
Sportsbooks have also shifted the juice on the over (2.5) from -120 to -130. Away games in Russia are never easy, but we may see a 2-1 or 3-1 victory from Leverkusen.
Napoli at FC Zurich (3 p.m. ET)
Napoli have fallen off the pace at the top of Italy’s Serie A so they may need to direct their focus on a Europa League title run. Odds are shifting against them in the first leg at Zurich, though, dropping from -235 to -215.
Despite the big gap between the two sides, early public bettors are taking a shot on Zurich, but I’d expect the line to sway toward Napoli until kickoff.
Valencia at Celtic (3 p.m. ET)
Bettors can’t get enough of Celtic as home underdogs and their odds have bettered from +265 to +235. Valencia are also dealing with some key injuries in their squad and may be hoping to come out of Scotland with a draw.
Chelsea at Malmo (3 p.m. ET)
Chelsea really need to re-group after getting thumped by Manchester City, 6-0, in the Premier League on Sunday. Malmo don’t have anything to look back at since their last competitive fixture was back in December.
The market expects Chelsea to perform and they’ve received the vast majority of bets as -225 favorites. Even though it’s “only” Malmo, I don’t think I’m willing to back Chelsea at that price.
- Arsenal (-215) at BATE
- Lazio (+140) vs. Sevilla
- Leverkusen (+110) at Krasnodar
- Real Betis (+195) at Rennes