Europa League Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions for AC Milan vs. Celtic (Thursday, Dec. 3)
Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images. AC Milan captain Alessio Romagnoli, center, celebrates with his teammates.
- Things could get ugly in Europa League action Thursday when AC Milan hosts Celtic at San Siro Stadium.
- The Rossoneri will be without star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is recovering from a hamstring injury.
- Jeremy Pond breaks down the match and tells us why he likes the host to shine.
AC Milan vs. Celtic Odds
|AC Milan Odds||-335 [BET NOW]|
|Celtic Odds||+800 [BET NOW]|
|Draw||+475 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||3.5 (+123/-155) [BET NOW]|
|Time||12:55 p.m. ET|
|TV||CBS All Access | UniMás|
Things could get out of hand in Europa League action Thursday when AC Milan hosts struggling Celtic in a Group H showdown at San Siro Stadium.
The Rossoneri, currently second on the table behind Ligue 1 power Lille, could take a significant step toward the knockout stage of the European competition with a victory.
On the other side, Celtic is winless through its first four matches and only playing for pride with no chance of making the next phase of the tournament.
With that said, let’s take a look at this game and what might be in the cards.
The Rossoneri, who will be without star forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (hamstring) as he continues his recovery, look to take a step forward in this showcase.
AC Milan, led by captain Alessio Romagnoli, could potentially leap Lille at the top of the table if the French side falters against Czech side Sparta Prague in their meeting. Most recently, the Rossoneri posted a 2-0 win over Fiorentina.
Historically, AC Milan has owned its Scottish opponent as of late, winning the last four matches across all competitions. Three of the Rossoneri’s triumphs came via home shutouts, giving them a huge advantage on paper entering this fixture.
When looking at the data and statistics, AC Milan really has put together some decent figures. The Rossoneri have a stellar 5.7 expected goals and solid 3.5 expected goals against, generating a +2.2 xGDiff and +0.56 xGDiff/90 minutes.
As you will see below, AC Milan has much better advanced metrics in all categories when matched against its Scottish foe.
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.
Nothing has been going right for the Bhoys in this competition.
Celtic has just one measly point in group play, which came via a 2-2 draw against Lille. That’s the lone bright spot for this team, which has won just two of its last 10 matches across all competitions under manager Neil Lennon.
The Bhoys had a terrible loss last time out, suffering a 4-1 loss to Sparta Prague that essentially ended any hope of them moving on.
As for its numbers when matched against its Italian foe, Celtic has really dismal stats. The Bhoys sit on 3.8 expected goals and 7.3 expected goals against, resulting in a -3.5 xGDiff and -0.76 xGDiff/90 minutes.
Needless to say, those kinds of numbers aren’t going to get it done here or anywhere else around the continent.
AC Milan-Celtic Picks
Obviously, the absence of Ibrahimovic makes AC Milan less powerful up top. However, the club is facing a Celtic side in extremely bad form.
That said, I like the Rossoneri to put together a huge effort at San Siro and cruise to the three points. AC Milan has more than enough firepower and alternative goal-scoring options to dominate in this spot.
I am also going to play the total to stay under the number. Three of AC Milan’s last five games have finished with three goals or less, so I think its defense will be the key here and keep a Celtic side that’s scored just five goals in four Europa matches in check.
Picks: AC Milan -1.5 (-120) | Total Under 3.5 Goals (-155)
- Royal Antwerp vs. Ludogorets — Total Over 2.5 Goals (-182): This play should have no trouble hitting in my opinion. The Belgian hosts have a shot to take a huge step forward in Group J when they face a Bulgarian foe that’s collected zero points through four matches. Add in the fact Ludogorets has conceded more than three goals per game on its own, and I like my chances.
- Red Star Belgrade +0.5 (-148) vs. Hoffenheim: Maybe the biggest match of the day pits the Serbia SuperLiga powerhouse against its talented Bundesliga opponent. I love the home side in this spot, knowing it has a shot to draw even on the Group L with a victory. Take the half goal and play it with confidence.
- AZ Alkmaar vs. Napoli (Both Teams To Score — Yes/-157): Both clubs are in top form, with the Cheeseheads (yes, Alkmaar has that dairy-themed moniker) unbeaten in its last four matches. Napoli, winner of four of its last five contests, has slight control of Group F and would get closer to the next round with a win. Expect to get on the board in the showdown.