Europa League Quarterfinals Odds, Betting Picks & Predictions for Roma vs. Ajax (Thursday, April 15)
Gerrit van Keulen/BSR Agency/Getty Images. Pictured: Brian Brobbey
- Global soccer heavyweights Roma and Ajax go at it on Thursday in a crucial Europa LeagueQuartefinal match.
- The Serie A host has struggled as of late across all competitions, while its Dutch opponent enters this meeting in better form.
- Anthony Dabbundo gives his in-depth analysis below on the showdown and details why he's backing Ajax to secure the road victory.
Roma vs. Ajax Odds
|Over/Under||3.5 (+120 / -150)|
|Day | Time||Thursday | 3 p.m. ET|
|Odds updated Thursday afternoon via DraftKings.|
Ajax and Roma met last week in the Netherlands in an electric first leg of their Europa League quarterfinal matchup that featured loads of chances, a missed penalty and a late winner from the Italian side.
The Serie A club holds a 2-1 edge on aggregate following that victory, with two away goals in hand, headed into Thursday’s second leg in Rome.
Ajax, which was unfortunate to lose the opening leg, needs at least two goals to advance to the semifinal round. Since the Sons of the Gods are down 2-1, a two-goal win or a one-goal triumph while scoring three goals or more would be enough to send them into the final four of the second-tier European tournament.
While Ajax lost the first leg, recent form of both of these sides suggest Ajax is undervalued in the reverse fixture to get the win and turn the tie around.
I showed a small amount of value in betting against Roma in the previous matchup, and the Yellow and Reds have only played worse in their last two games. They still have injury issues at the back, they’ve regressed significantly in many defensive metrics since the start of the year and their defense was again exposed over the weekend by Bologna.
Roma is playing with fire and running unsustainably lucky on opponents’ finishing against them in recent weeks. How lucky? Take a look: 1.7 xGA allowed to Parma; 1.0 xGA yielded to Napoli; 3.2 xGA against Sassuolo; 3.3 xGA versus Ajax; and, 1.4 xGA conceded to Bologna. All of that adds up to a defensive nightmare.
Ajax was able to pass right through Roma in the first leg, creating chance after chance. Had the Dutch side converted its second-half penalty to go up 2-0, it probably would have rolled to an easy victory. Instead, Roma scored to level the match and then triumphed via a late winner from Roger Ibañez.
Roma conceded 15 passes into the penalty area in its last match, offering next to no resistance to Ajax’s passing patterns. Pau Lopez had the game of his season in goal for Roma, saving 2.3 xG worth of shots, according to post-shot expected goals.
As expected, Roma was able to mostly stop the crosses from coming into the penalty area, but Ajax was allowed to complete 85.1% of its passes.
Manager Erik ten Hag’s side enters this match feeling unlucky after its first-leg defeat, but it’s not out of the tie by any stretch. Given how much success Ajax had of picking apart the Roma midfield, passing through it with ease and progressing the ball into the penalty area, the chances and goals will come.
As I wrote last week, the Sons of the Gods play a lot of short, quick passes, aiming to possess and move through opponents rather than rely on crosses. Roma allows the third-fewest crosses into the penalty area in the Italian top flight, but that’s not how Ajax will want to go after its Italian foe.
Its attack had four different players register at least two shots, and that didn’t include young star winger Brian Brobbey or goal scorer Davy Klaassen. Ajax can get to you from everywhere, and there’s no one player Roma can take away to stop it from generating chances and shots.
Roma allows the fifth-highest pass completion rate in the division, which is a concern when trying to defend Ajax and its team of plus passers. In the first leg, Ajax was also able to create more progressive carries into the box than their opponent. That said, the second leg should be more of the same.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Ajax is the way better team. The Sons of the Gods proved it in the first leg and should have no issue dominating the second meeting as well. Bottom line, they’ll be desperate for goals.
My projection puts this match at Ajax -105 odds, so any number +110 or better is enough for me to play the Dutch side in this spot.
Pick: Ajax ML (+110 or better)
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