Both Rome clubs are in the Europa League this season, but it is Lazio who look the better pick to lift the trophy at the end of the season.
Who do Bettors Favor?
Following last week’s draw, the best-rated online sportsbooks have had a chance to weigh up the chances of this year’s Europa League contenders, and two English Premier League teams are rated as the favorites. Arsenal are leading the way at +400, while Manchester United are the second favorites to claim the trophy at +700. Roma are also being backed by some soccer punters and there are several teams around the +2000 mark, including Lazio and Real Sociedad.
|Europa League Winner|
Betting on the Europa League
As the junior European club competition, the Europa League is effectively the chance for teams with lower profiles to win a major European trophy. But it is also worth noting that the competition has been increasingly dominated by teams from the biggest leagues in Europe.
While there were winners from four different nations in the first seven years of the competition, since the 2011/12 season, Spanish or English teams have won the competition for ten years in a row. That run was broken last year when Eintracht Frankfurt of Germany claimed the trophy, but the Bundesliga is also one of the big five European leagues, so this was not a significant change.
The other major factor to be aware of when betting on the Europa League is that eight teams from the Champions League join this competition at the beginning of the knockout stage. Up until last season teams dropping down in this way had won the Europa League five times out of 13. But last year’s competition introduced an additional knockout phase which benefits Europa League Group winners and makes it harder for Champions League qualifiers to progress.
Europa League Main Contenders
The Premier League has the second-best record behind La Liga in producing Europa League winners, so it is not a surprise to see two English clubs: Arsenal and Manchester United, at the top of the futures betting market. Two Spanish teams are in the top six, but the most notable development is the presence of two Italian clubs: Roma and Lazio, among the main contenders.
Both Arsenal and Manchester United have a strong recent history in this tournament and, at the moment, appear to be improving. Mikel Arteta’s Gunners have spent big this summer and have made a strong start to the season, while new Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag appears to be having a positive effect on the team who recently beat Liverpool in the Premier League.
It is worth noting, however, that both teams are available at relatively short prices, and with eight teams dropping down from the Champions League later on in the competition, it can be a risky approach to wager too heavily at shorter odds at this stage of the tournament.
Roma are of course, coached by Jose Mourinho, who guided them to the Europa Conference League title last season. Mourinho’s experience in major European competitions cannot be underestimated. However, his team have been drawn in the same Group as Real Betis, another major contender. So, it could pay to focus on the other Rome team, Lazio. They’ve made a solid start to their Serie A campaign, beating Champions League contender Internazionale, and have a relatively easy Group.
Betting on Europa League Challengers
The Europa League is often a more open competition than the Champions League, and there can be plenty of value on offer further down the list for those looking for Europa League Challengers.
Two of the final four teams in last year’s tournament were German: winners Frankfurt and semi-finalists Leipzig. Could this mean that the relative strength of the Bundesliga is increasing? If there is a trend toward German teams doing better in European competition, this could be a good time to get ahead of the crowd, and there are some interesting German contenders in this year’s tournament.
Union Berlin appear to be a club on the up and are making an immediate return to European competition after taking part in the Europa Conference last season. They finished fifth in the Bundesliga, two places higher than they had in 2020/21 and have been extremely impressive so far this year, going unbeaten in four games and matching Bayern Munich at the top of the table. They have a winnable Group, with Braga of Portugal their main opposition, and are available at big odds.
At the same price, it could also be worth taking a chance on Union Berlin’s fellow Bundesliga team SC Freiburg. Manager Christain Streich has guided the team to three top eight finishes in their last six seasons, and it is surely only a matter of time before they translate their German form to European competitions. They’ve also started strongly in the Bundesliga, standing third in the table after four games, and if they continue to improve, they can also make an impact in this competition.