Besiktas was the dominant team in the first leg of its UEFA Europa League tie versus Olympiacos and that allied to its impressive home statistics is why one is picking the Black Eagles to beat the Red and Whites in Turkey on Thursday.
Olympiacos led Besiktas 1-0 against the run of play before the Black Eagles equalised eight minutes into the second half of last week’s UEFA Europa League match in Greece. Besiktas deserved a draw at the very least – the Black Eagles had 65 per cent of possession, won the corner-kick count 5-0 and had 13 efforts to the four of Olympiacos. Returning to Turkey with an away goal in its back pocket, Besiktas will fancy its chance of eliminating Olympiacos.
Top of the Turkisk Super Lig ladder, Besiktas is two points clear of the chasing pack in large because of its fine home record of 9-3-0. Admittedly, Besiktas has drawn each of its Turkish Super Lig home games versus second-placed Istanbul Buyuksehir and Galatasaray but the Black Eagles did defeat the latter on the road so they have demonstrated that they are the class team of the division. Olympiacos is leading the way in the Greek Super League but the Red and Whites have not fared particularly well against its title rivals, losing to each of the other top four sides, including coming a cropper at third-placed PAOK and fourth-placed AEK.
Several bookmakers, including 188Bet, Coral and SkyBet, are offering odds of -149 about Besiktas beating Olympiacos and that rates as the best on the UEFA Europa League program. Olympiacos is not in the same league as Dynamo Kyiv, Napoli and Benfica and none of those teams managed to topple Besiktas in Turkey during the UEFA Champions League.
Anderlecht shattered APOEL’s lengthy unbeaten home run when the Purple and Whites took out last week’s UEFA Europa League match in Cyprus 1-0. Nicolae Stanciu scored for Anderlecht in the 29th minute to condemn APOEL to its first defeat after stringing together 33 undefeated home matches.
The Belgian First Division A is on hiatus following the end of the regular season that Anderlecht bossed with 61 points from 30 games, including a 10-4-1 home record – the Purple and Whites inexplicably lost 1-2 to 15th-placed Westerlo. That means that Anderlecht can focus on its UEFA Europa League campaign and putting APOEL to the sword again.
APOEL qualified for the Cypriot 1 Division championship round as the top seed, including an 8-3-2 away record. But APEOL has consistently flopped on its travels throughout Europe, including this term drawing at The New Saints and losing at Rosenborg, Kobenhavn, Young Boys, Astana and Athletic. APOEL’s road results in European tournaments will not fill it with confidence ahead of Thursday’s UEFA Europa League match at Anderlecht in which it must overturn a deficit. Anderlecht is available at odds of -161 with William Hill and that strikes one as a decent wager.
Finally, Celta’s Spanish Primera Division away numbers are poor and the Sky Blues are vulnerable versus Krasnodar on Thursday. Celta has lost each of its seven Spanish Primera Division road games against sides in the top eight and one does not think that the Sky Blues will trouble Sevilla when they eventually get around to visiting the White and Reds.
Krasnodar was a matter of minutes away from securing a UEFA Europa League draw versus Celta in Spain last week and the Bulls are very good on home soil, going 16-5-2 in their last 23 competitive home matches. Marathonbet is quoting odds of +154 about Krasnodar beating Celta and that is generous in light of the respective home and away data of the teams.
Besiktas to beat Olympiacos
Thursday 16th March, 18:00 GMT
Anderlecht to beat APOEL
Thursday 16th March, 20:05 GMT
Krasnodar to beat Celta Vigo
Thursday 16th March, 18:00 GMT