Pitmen’s Schedule is Heaven Sent for Archbishops

Braga need a result at home to guarantee knockout Europa League football.

UEFA Europa League coupons do not get much tougher than this week’s list but there are logical reasons for backing Braga to win its Group H game versus Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday.

Shakhtar Donetsk has won UEFA Europa League Group H having crafted a 5-0-0 record, one of only two in the competition. Shakhtar’s 100 percent UEFA Europa League Group H run means that bookmakers have to afford plenty of respect to the Pitmen but surely, given their schedule, they will not be focusing their energies on Braga. Glance at Shakhtar’s next Ukrainian Premier League assignment and you will see that it is away to its chief domestic rival, Dynamo Kyiv, on Monday. If Shakhtar avoids defeat against Dynamo then it will have as good as regained the Ukrainian Premier League title.

Braga will qualify for the UEFA Europa League knockout stage either if it beats Shakhtar Donetsk or Gent fails to defeat Konyaspor. Braga is 7-2-0 at home across all tournaments this seasons, including five consecutive victories in front of its own supporters, and its former manager is none other than Shakhtar boss Paulo Fonseca. Braga took out last term’s Portuguese Taca de Portugal under Fonseca, an effort that caught the eye of Shakhtar owner Rinat Akhmetov.

The planets are aligning for Braga and, therefore, one is quite keen on the Archbishops at odds of +105  with several bookmakers, including Betfred, BetVictor and Marathonbet.

Thursday’s UEFA Europa League Group C match between Anderlecht and Saint-Etienne is interesting because, while both sides are through to the next round, just one of them has a massive domestic date to which to look forward.

There is no bigger Belgian First Division A encounter than Anderlecht versus Club Brugge and, consequently, one would be surprised if the Purple and Whites are not casting their eyes towards Sunday’s big game in Brussels. Topping a UEFA Europa League group is not as important as finishing first in a UEFA Champions League section so one thinks that Anderlecht may take it easy against Saint-Etienne.

Saint-Etienne is 4-5-0 in this season’s UEFA Europa League so the bet that appeals is the Greens on the draw-no-bet market at odds of +138  with Marathonbet. Saint-Etienne has failed to score in five of its last six matches across all competitions so, if Anderlecht does not put in maximum effort, the Greens may take the chance to play themselves back into some kind of form in a low-pressure game.

Finally, neither Young Boys nor Astana can make it through to the UEFA Europa League knockout stage but one suspects that the Swiss Super League team may be more interested in Thursday’s Group B dead rubber than its unmotivated guest.

Young Boys, which held Astana to a 0-0 draw in the reverse UEFA Europa League Group B fixture, is 8-7-1 in its last 16 competitive matches, including winning each of its most recent six home games. Astana is 4-3-0 in its last seven meaningful matches but – and this is critical information – it does not have another game on its schedule because the Kazakh league and cup tournaments have come to a close.

Many bookmakers, including Bet365 and Unibet, are listing odds of -149  about Young Boys securing third place in UEFA Europa League Group B with a defeat of Astana.

Tips Summary

Braga to beat Shakhtar Donetsk
Thursday 8th December, 16:00 GMT
Odds:  +105

St Etienne to beat Anderlecht – Draw no Bet
Thursday 8th December, 18:00 GMT
Odds:  +138

Young Boys to beat Astana
Thursday 8th December, 18:00 GMT
Odds:  -149

Europa League
st etienne
Young Boys

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