Mario Balotelli has helped Nice to the top of Ligue 1.

High-Flying Eagles are the Nicest Europa League Bet

Mario Balotelli has helped Nice to the top of Ligue 1.

Nice is flying high at the top of French Ligue 1 and one thinks that the Eaglets represent the best value in Thursday’s latest round of UEFA Europa League matches.

Midway through UEFA Europa League Group I and Nice needs to lift its game on the international front because it is on three points and ranked third behind Schalke and Krasnodar. But Nice gets to go for a quick-fire UEFA Europa League Group I double on Thursday and its losses to Schalke and Krasnodar are probably better than they look. Schalke scored a late goal to win 1-0 at Nice, while Krasnodar’s advantage over the Eaglets blew out from 3-2 to 5-2 in the final few minutes as the French Ligue 1 leaders tried to equalise.

Mario Balotelli has been instrumental to Nice’s great start to the French Ligue 1 competition, scoring six goals. But he is not Nice’s top French Ligue 1 marksman because Alassane Pane has hit the back of the net seven times. Eleven rounds into French Ligue 1 and Nice is half a dozen points ahead of Monaco and the defending champion, Paris Saint-Germain. Nice and, in particular, Balotelli may implode before the end of the season but, for now at least, the Eaglets are worth following against sides of the low standard of Salzburg.

The Austrian Bundesliga is 13 rounds old and third-placed Salzburg is on 25 points, four fewer than top-of-the-ladder Sturm Graz. Salzburg has been a regular in UEFA tournaments for several seasons and it performed very well in the UEFA Europa League two terms ago. But Salzburg has not been able to call upon the same quality of player in recent times and, consequently, its results have deteriorated a lot. Never has Salzburg qualified for a UEFA Champions League group stage and the Red Bulls have lost each of their last seven UEFA Europa League matches, including a 0-1 home reverse when Nice held on to win in Austria two weeks ago.

Nice is available at odds of -118  with Coral and Marathonbet to beat Salzburg and that looks like a good place to start with one’s UEFA Europa League bets. The other UEFA Europa League teams of high interest are Schalke and Sassuolo.

Regular watchers of German Bundesliga action said that Schalke’s early results were not fair reflection of its performances and, true enough, the Royal Blues have turned the corner in terms of scorelines. Schalke is unbeaten in its last seven games across all competitions, winning all three of its home matches in that period convincingly.

Krasnodar has lost just one of its last 11 games across all tournaments but its only recent reverse occurred at home to Schalke last month when the Royal Blues won 1-0 in Russia.

Betfred are listing odds of -149  about Schalke defeating Krasnodar and guaranteeing its place in the UEFA Europa League knockout stage with two Group I rounds to go.

Finally, one likes Sassuolo at odds of -105  with several bookmakers, including Bet365, Coral and Marathonbet, to win its UEFA Europa League Group F home match versus Rapid Wien.

Sassuolo is in a false position on the Italian Serie A ladder after having its home win over Pescara reversed due to the Black and Greens fielding an ineligible player. If you accept that Sassuolo deserved to beat Pescara then it deserves to be ranked 10th in Italian Serie A, level on 16 points with seventh-placed Fiorentina. Would Fiorentina be quoted at odds of -105  to post a home UEFA Europa League victory over Rapid Wien? One thinks no way in the world.

Tips Summary

Nice to beat Salzburg
Thursday 3rd November, 20:05 GMT
Odds:  -118

Schalke to beat Krasnodar
Thursday 3rd November, 20:05 GMT
Odds:  -149

Sassuolo to beat Rapid Wien
Thursday 3rd November, 18:00 GMT
Odds:  -118

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