Europa League Betting Forecast: Projecting Odds & Totals for Manchester United vs. Roma & Arsenal vs. Villarreal (May 6)

Europa League Betting Forecast: Projecting Odds & Totals for Manchester United vs. Roma & Arsenal vs. Villarreal (May 6) article feature image
Credit:

Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images. Pictured: David Luiz.

  • Two spots in the Europa League final are up for grabs Thursday, with the second legs of the semifinal round taking place.
  • Manchester United takes a 6-2 lead over Roma into their match, while Villareal has a slimmer 2-1 edge on Arsenal on their side of the bracket.
  • BJ Cunningham provides his projections and favorite picks for the second legs below.

The second legs of the Europa League semifinals kick off Thursday, with spots in the final on the line. In case you missed it, here are the results from the first leg:

🔴 Manchester United produce a sensational second-half display to dispatch Roma!

Favourites for the 🏆? #UEL

— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) April 29, 2021

🟡 Villarreal earn an important first-leg lead in Spain!

What will happen in the return leg? 🧐#UEL

— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) April 29, 2021

Even though Manchester United is virtually through to the final, there is still a ton on the line for for Arsenal and Villarreal because the winner of the Europa League gets a spot in the Champions League next season. Since both clubs are outside of the top four in their respective domestic leagues, it gives them another shot at qualifying for the prestigious European showcase next season.

If you’d like to read more about how I determine my projected lines and totals using an expected goals model, you can do so here.

For the Europa League, my projections factor in UEFA Coefficients for every country represented. The projections also take into consideration the talent of each squad based on their total transfer value on TransferMarkt.

That way, the projections can account for the strength of the domestic league each club plays in and the talent level of each team.

Roma vs. Manchester United

Roma +310
Manchester United -129
Draw +310
Over/Under 3.5 (+140 / -175)
Time Thursday | 3 p.m. ET
Odds as of Thursday afternoon via DraftKings.

Roma vs. Manchester United Projections

Manchester United is in the middle of a fantastic season, sitting in second place in the Premier League and on the cusp of the Europa final after a resounding 6-2 victory in the first leg.

Manchester United actually went down 2-1 after the first half, but scored five second-half goals, completely dismantling Roma’s defense. Edinson Cavani and Bruno Fernandes combined for four goals and three assists.

The result was well deserved for the Red Devils, as they created a ton of high-quality chances in the match, racking up 4.25 expected goals (map via infogol).

The second leg should be relatively routine, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Manchester United rest some of their attacking players for the upcoming weeks\ since they have to play four matches in the next seven days.

Even though the first leg got out of control, these are two fantastic defensive units. Manchester United has been solid this year, allowing only 1.09 xG per match, while Roma only allows 1.29 xG per match.

I don’t expect Manchester United to be that aggressive in this match and will likely sit back defensively, so I think this will be a low-scoring match.

Since I have 2.59 goals projected for this match, I think there is some value on the total under 3 goals at +112 odds via DraftKings.

Pick: Total Under 3 Goals (+112)

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Arsenal vs. Villarreal

Arsenal -120
Villarreal +320
Draw +270
Over/Under 2.5 (-130 / +106)
Time Thursday | 3 p.m. ET
Odds as of Thursday afternoon via DraftKings.

Arsenal vs. Villarreal Projections

Mikel Arteta took a page out of the Pep Guardiola playbook and tried to do something completely outside the box. Arsenal lined up in a 3-5-1-1 formation without a true striker on the field, which is a formation they haven’t played out of all season long. It completely blew up in Arteta’s face as Villarreal scored two goals inside the first 30 minutes of the match.

However, Arsenal did get an away goal in the second half to give them a chance in the second leg. The Gunners will need a much better performance at the Emirates against one of the best teams in the Europa League this season.

Villarreal has been nothing short of dominant in the Europa League this season, going 11-1-0 so far. However, Arsenal was the first team they’ve faced inside the top-five major leagues on the continent, but the Yellow Submarine didn’t shy away from the challenge.

The Yellow Submarine isn’t in a great run of form at the moment though, winning only twice in their last five matches in La Liga. However, Villarreal has a fantastic defensive record in Spain, allowing only 1.09 xG per match, so I expect Villarreal to try and see this game out defensively.

Arsenal has really struggled to create chances on the domestic front this season, averaging only 1.41 xG per match. The Gunners’ defense has been stout, though, conceding just 1.14 xG per match, which is the fifth-best mark in the Premier League.

Since I have 2.13 goals projected for this match, I think there is some value on the total under 2.5 goals at +108 on DraftKings.

Pick: Total Under 2.5 Goals (+108)

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