For the second week in a row, the UEFA Europa League throws up considerably more inviting betting opportunities than its more prestigious big brother, the UEFA Champions League.
Backing away teams in UEFA competitions is not one’s thing usually but one is willing to make an exception for Rijeka, which is available at odds of 2.50 with Boylesports to beat Ferencvaros for the second time in the space of seven days.
Rijeka won the first leg of its UEFA Europa League second qualifying round tie against Ferencvaros 1-0 courtesy of an 85th-minute penalty kick that Ivan Krstanovic converted. But to say that Rijeka deserved its victory would be one of the biggest understatements of the sports year. The official match statistics tell a story of total Rijeka dominance.
Ferencvaros forced one corner kick during its UEFA Europa League second qualifying round first leg versus Rijeka in Croatia, failing to muster a shot either on or off target. In stark contrast, Rijeka had 15 attempts, 11 of which hit the target, and 12 corner kicks. It was one-way traffic for the entire game and it was not just because Ferencvaros came with the desire to go into the second leg on level terms.
Rijeka’s advantage is sufficiently slim that it must tackle its UEFA Europa League second qualifying round second leg against Ferencvaros in Hungary positively. Some bookmakers are aware of how the first leg panned out and have installed Rijeka as the second-leg favourite but others have not done their homework and have gone off the raw one-goal result.
Inter Baku is the other UEFA Europa League team that appeals at odds against, with Boylesports offering odds of 2.20 that the Azerbaijani side defeats Sweden’s Elfsborg on home soil.
The UEFA Europa League second qualifying round first leg between Elfsborg and Inter Baku in Sweden resulted in a 1-0 win for the away team. Inter Baku edged Elfsborg on most of the key match statistics and its victory extended its streak of wins to four games. On the other hand, Elfsborg is in a serious form slump, with its home loss to Inter Baku being part of its five-match winless sequence. Elfsborg reacted to its UEFA Europa League defeat poorly, going down 2-4 away to lower-ranked Norkoping in the Swedish league on Sunday.
A 1-0 away win in a UEFA competition first leg is not the great result that it looks on paper because the away-goals rule means that the tie remains very much in the balance. Inter Baku will, if it has any sense, think that it has to beat Elfsborg in Azerbaijan to qualify for the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round and approach the game in a positive frame of mind. One believes that Inter Baku should be close to even money to complete the home and away double.
Of the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round second leg odds-on sides, the teams that stand out from the crowd as being decent betting propositions include Shakhter Karagandy (odds of 1.25 with Bet365, to beat Atlantas), Shakhtyor (odds of 1.45 with 888sport, to beat Derry) and Tromso (odds of 1.20 with BetVictor to beat Vikingur).
Shakhter Karagandy dominated its UEFA Europa League second qualifying round first leg versus Atlantas in Lithuania and its home record is excellent. Shakhter Karagandy has won each of its last eight matches in front of its own fans, while Atlantas lost 0-1 at Differdange in the last round.
Shakhtyor beat Derry 1-0 in Northern Ireland and a repeat result is on the cards in Belarus, where Shakhtyor has won five of its last six home games and posted a 2-0 home victory over domestic champion BATE in recent months.
Tromso had much the better of its UEFA Europa League second qualifying round first leg against Vikingur in Iceland so home advantage in Norway should result in a win for it.
- Europa League
- Inter Baku
- Shakhter Karagandy