The Europa League Group stage gets underway this week and Roma look a good bet to win Group C.
Who do Bettors Favor?
Checking out the best-rated online sportsbooks it’s clear that Roma are the favorites to win Group C. They are priced at around -160 while their strongest rivals Real Betis are at +175. The Group also includes Ludogorets, from Bulgaria and Finland’s HJK Helsinki, but both are huge underdogs.
|EL Group C Winner|
Betting on the Europa League Group Stage
As with the Champions League, the Europa League competitors are divided into eight Groups of four, with the top two-finishing teams from each section going through automatically to the knockout phase. Unlike the Champions League, however, there is extra motivation to finish first as those teams that finish second will have to play in an additional knockout round, while the Group winners go straight into the last 16 of the tournament, and that extra motivation makes the Group winner markets highly competitive.
Roma the Bet in Group C
Real Betis is an improving team and is off to a strong start in La Liga, after finishing fifth in the table last year. They also lifted the Spanish Cup and will be aiming to make an impact in European football this season under experienced coach Manuel Pellegrini.
Their two clashes with Roma will be the obvious highlights of the Group, but the Italians appear to have a clear advantage. Last year’s Europa Conference winners, Roma have added some key players over the summer. Paulo Dybala, Andrea Belotti and Nemanja Matic add depth and experience to a strong line-up and will help them to navigate the double challenge of domestic and European experience.
Perhaps most significantly, they have the leadership of Jose Mourinho, winner of five European trophies and the first man to win the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference. He should be able to guide his team past Real Betis and the two Group underdogs Ludogorets and HJK Helsinki and Roma look the best bet in Group C.
Opportunity for United in Group E
After a shaky start, Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United have hit form in the Premier League and they have a great opportunity to reach the knockout stages with a relatively simple draw in Group E. The long trips to Cyprus and Moldova to take on Omonia and Sheriff Tiraspol will be inconvenient, but neither side is anything to worry about on the pitch.
The main challenges for United appear to be their obvious focus on the Premier League rather than Europe’s second-tier competition, and the second-ranked team in the Group, Real Sociedad, but both can be discounted. The Spanish side have lacked an attacking edge this season after the sale of key striker Alexander Isak so are not a huge threat, and while the Premier League remains the priority, the Europa League offers the right level of challenge for Ten Hag’s improving team. United are the favorites to win the Group, but still offer some value at their price.
Wide Open Group F
As always in this format, some Groups look more competitive than others and that is definitely the case with the wide open Group F, featuring Feyenoord, Lazio, Sturm Graz and Midtylland.
Lazio are the obvious favorites and like their Rome rivals, they have strengthened considerably over the summer, but as they’ve already showed this season, inconsistency remains a problem. They’ve dropped points against Torino, Sampdoria and Napoli and look vulnerable on the road, something that could cost them dearly in this competition.
None of the other three teams in the Group can be considered as pushovers. Sturm Graz are probably the weakest, but Midtylland will be tough on their home soil and Feyenoord, who reached the Conference final last season, are dangerous and in good form. At the current odds, Lazio look overrated and the Netherlands team are a better bet.
Crvena Zvezda the Value Pick in Group H
Group H also appears to be wide open. Sportsbooks are generally making Monaco the favorites at around +125 but even the supposed underdogs Ferencvaros are priced at +400.
Serbian side Crvena Zvezda and Turkey’s Trabzonspor complete the section and both teams have a good chance of coming through the Group, powered mainly by the intimidating home ground atmosphere that their fans can generate.
Crvena Zvezda and Monaco both topped their Europa League Groups last season and there is not a lot to choose between them, so it is slightly surprising to see the former rated as +450 chances to win this section and they could offer some value in what promises to be a fascinating Group.