Europa League Quarterfinal Matchday 1 Best Bets (4/13): Manchester United vs. Sevilla, Feyenoord vs. Roma, & Juventus vs. Sporting CP
With the Round of 16 in the books, and a couple of upsets along the way, it’s time for the Europa League Quarterfinals. Some of Europe’s best and brightest still remain, so let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks for what figures to be another wonderfully chaotic European Thursday.
Manchester United vs. Sevilla
While Sevilla may be one of the bigger names in the competition, it’s not hard to argue that United got one of the easier draws of any of the main contenders. Sevilla are currently sitting in 13th place in a very mediocre La Liga, 5 points away from relegation and 19 from the Champions League.
They’re in somewhat decent form, by their standards this season- two wins and a draw in their past four league matches. But they’ve been pretty uninspiring overall, even in this competition where they’ve benefitted from somewhat soft competition, and have skated by on one-goal differentials.
United are in a pretty good spot right now; they’ve won their past two league matches after a rough skid initiated by a historic 7-0 battering at the hands of a not-so-strong Liverpool side. The Red Devils are also in the position of chasing a treble of sorts; they already have the League Cup in the bag, are of course alive in this competition, and have an FA Cup semifinal coming up next Sunday, so Erik ten Hag has a real balancing act ahead of him.
Playing at home, against clearly subpar competition, it’s not a shock that United are heavily favored. The moneyline gives you basically no value, so the best way to bet them is to take a spread of -1.5. This Sevilla side is not much better than a relegation zone Prem squad, and few bettors would bat an eyelash at taking United to win by multiple goals against any of them
The one wrinkle here is that Marcus Rashford is out with an injury, and his excellent form has driven much of United’s success in this half of the season. I still believe that United have a profound edge in this one, but you can’t bet on Rashford as a goalscorer. With Anthony Martial not worth the minus-odds he’s currently pulling, I’d suggest Bruno Fernandes; he’s known to steal the odd open play rip, and if United do win a penalty, it’s all his.
Best Bets: Man United -1.5 (+105), Bruno Fernandes Anytime Goalscorer (+225)
Feyenoord vs. Roma
Feyenoord are flying right about now; despite a domestic cup loss to Ajax, the energy is all positive, after a thrilling league win over the same opponent has all but guaranteed that Feyenoord will win their first Eridivisie title since 2017. It’s truly been a dominant league season, in which they’ve currently won 8 in a row, and haven’t lost since a September thriller against PSV, their only defeat to this point.
Things are looking pretty good for Roma too, although not quite to the same degree. They look to be heading towards their first Champions League berth since participating in the 2018-19 competition, but the league title is off the table, as is the Coppa Italia. So, it all comes down to this in José Mourinho’s never-ending quest for silverware.
This game is an absolute brutal call, in my opinion one of the closest-matched pairings in any European competition this round. Feyenoord are undefeated at home in both Europa League and the Eredivisie, so it’s tough to side with Roma. I’m tempted to take the draw, in a classic Mourinho bus-park, but I’ll stick with Feyenoord at home, where they’ve been so strong- maybe there will be some comeback drama back in Rome next week.
The total gives me less pause; this game should be cagey and tight, as both teams are very defensively-minded. I’m going to go a step further than just picking the standard u2.5, which is -170, and pick u1.5 to get some plus-odds; it’s a bit of a risk, but in a game that could very easily be decided by one goal, it’s well worth it.
Best Bets: Feyenoord ML (+145), u1.5 (+175)
Juventus vs. Sporting CP
Sporting are coming into this game in good form; they haven’t lost in their past 7 league matches, with just a lone draw mixed in. As far as this competition goes, they also have to be feeling excellent about themselves after going on the road and knocking out Arsenal, quite the shocking result as many saw the Gunners as a favorite going forward.
It’s been a mixed bag for Juve; I’m sure you’ve heard about the bad, from European struggles in a second stint under Max Allegri, to the 15 point deduction due to financial misconduct. But what you might not realize is that they’re playing good football, and would be well within the UCL places if not for their punishment- in fact they might make it anyways, the way things are going.
After a hiccup at home against Nantes, Juve have been really strong in this competition, answering back definitively on the road and then thoroughly taking down a very solid Freiburg side. I don’t necessarily love the minus-odds, but I will take Juve on the moneyline in this home match, against a team that could be dangerous, but I’m not necessarily enamored with.
Rather than betting the game under, which is in minus-odds and does not give you much protection against Juve being the side they were in their best Europa showings, I’d advise you to go after Sporting’s team total of 0.5 goals and bet the under there. Yes, I’m taking Juve to keep the clean sheet, which they’ve done in each of their past three games in this competition. I especially feel good about this pick with Juve at home, where it really shouldn’t be much of a stretch.
Best Bets: Juventus ML (-125), Sporting CP u0.5 goals (+110)