Thu 09/03/2017 - 09:05 EST

Europa League Betting Tips

Who Will Win The Europa League?

By Paul Seaton

The fight for the Europa League hots up as we reach the Round of 16. With big hitters Manchester United coming into form at exactly the right time, will Jose Mourinho's men seal a memorable victory in the only competition they have never won, or will another challenger take the trophy?

The Favorites 

Manchester United are big favorites at +185, and to the bookmakers, are in a two-horse race against Roma, with every other team of the 16 available at odds larger than +1000.

Roma's pedigree in European competition does not compare to their main adversaries, however. While United have won three European Cups, Roma's only International trophy was the Inner-Cities Fairs Cup in the 1960/61 season. 

Manchester United are in brilliant form, with no defeats in their last 25 games if you don't count their inconsequential second leg defeat to Hull in the EFL Cup.

Jose Mourinho may have started life at Old Trafford with a bit of a tricky spell, but he has led the Red Devils to the brink of a top four place and could still win three trophies this season.

Mourinho will rate the Europa League as the most important trophy as it provides a guaranteed route into the group stage of the Champions League, which United have only qualified for once in three seasons.

For that reason, and the fact that they generally save their best form for the biggest matches, we think they are worth backing at +185 via Bovada. Here's how they beat St. Etienne in the first knockout round, where Pogba took on Pogba:

The Hopefuls 

Plenty of pundits rate Lyon (+1100) far too highly. The French also-rans only won one home game in the Champions League, surrendering meekly to Juventus and Sevilla in back-to-back games which made it nearly impossible for them to progress.

In Ligue 1, they sit way behind the leading three teams of PSG, Monaco and Nice in a disappointing fourth place, having been beaten ten times already, with three defeats in their last seven league games. Lyon are our team to avoid on this basis.

Celta Vigo (+1000) are languishing in La Liga, and although a good home side, they'll probably come up short in the quarter-finals due to their poor away record. 

Of the two German teams, we would recommend backing Schalke. While both they and Borussia Monchengladbach will probably fall short of European places in the Bundesliga, currently in the bottom half of the division, either side can turn it on over 90 minutes.

Schalke, however, have a very strong record against Gladbach, as shown in a recent Bundesliga game when they romped home 4-0 winners:    

Schalke are +1200 to win the Europa League and it will likely be the only route available to qualify for European football next season.

The Longshot 

Krasnodar are huge outsiders at +4000 to win the Europa League but they have several factors in their favor. They play their games in sub-zero temperatures, they have an impressive home record (they smashed five past high-flying Ligue 1 team Nice in escaping the group stage) and have lost just three from the 17 league games they've played this season.

Joazinho is a key player for them, scoring freely against Nice and Red Bull Salsberg. Fyodor Smolov also has a good scoring record, with 30 goals in just 41 appearances and could yet fire Krasnodar to glory.

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