Europa League Betting: Nuno's Wolves to seal progress
The Europa League's group stage is reaching a critical point for many clubs, and Kevin Hatchard has four selections...
Wolves can wrap up progress
Braga v Wolves Thursday 28 November, 17:55 Live on BT Sport 2
Since their somewhat unjust defeat at home to Braga on Matchday One, Wolves have done superbly to turn their European season around. They snatched a last-gasp victory against Besiktas in Istanbul, and beat Slovan Bratislava home and away. Manager Nuno Santo has continued to take the competition seriously, and Wolves' improvement in the Premier League (they are up to fifth) has shown the Portuguese coach can balance both competitions.
Braga are a point ahead of Wolves in the standings, and they are chasing a fourth straight win in all competitions, but I'm not sure they should be favourites here. Their domestic form has been relatively poor by their usual standards - they are ninth, five points off the top four. They have only won four league games this season.
Wolves have lost just one of their last 13 games, and that was in the League Cup, a competition that was bottom of the club's list of priorities. I think they've got a good chance of upsetting Braga here, so I'll back Draw and Away on the Double Chance market, coupled with an Over 1.5 Goals bet.
Dashing Dutch to shine again
AZ v Partizan Thursday 28 November, 17:55 Live on BT Sport Extra
Once silky-smooth Liverpool defender Alan Hansen, in his later role as a taciturn TV pundit, once famously suggested that "you can't win anything with kids." Manchester United went on to prove the Scot spectacularly wrong with the Class of '92, and their fellow Europa League side AZ are trying to show that youth can flourish too.
In the Eredivisie, AZ's top four scorers are all 23 or younger. 23-year-old Oussama Idrissi has delivered seven goals and an assist, 20-year-old Calvin Stengs has four goals and has set up seven more, 21-year-old midfielder Teun Koopmeiners has struck seven times and created another goal, while newly-capped Dutch international Myron Boadu has nine goals and four assists. This fabulous foursome has contributed to AZ's rise to second in the Eredivisie standings, and they are currently splitting traditional title rivals Ajax and PSV.
Those four have also produced ten goals between them in the Europa League, and AZ have moved to within touching distance of qualification. A draw against Partizan would guarantee a place in the last 32, but a defeat would set up a nailbiting finale, with AZ still to visit Manchester United on Matchday Six.
Partizan lost twice to Manchester United, and that has left them with work to do to survive. Their failure to beat AZ in the reverse fixture, even though they played with a numerical advantage from the 27th minute onwards, could prove costly.
Partizan have to go for it, and AZ have won their last six games, all of which featured three goals or more. I think AZ will qualify with some fireworks, so I'll back an AZ/Over 2.5 Goals double at 2.08 on the Sportsbook.
Lazio to stay alive
Lazio v CFR Cluj Thursday 28 November, 20:00 Live on BT Sport Extra
Lazio are absolutely flying in Serie A at the moment. Their 2-1 win at Sassuolo was their fifth straight success in the Italian top flight, aided by Ciro Immobile's 15th league goal of the campaign. In Europe, two defeats against Celtic and a 2-1 reverse in Romania against Cluj have left them on the brink of elimination.
However, there is still a route to survival. Lazio would have to beat Cluj, and then win their final game at Rennes, hoping that Cluj lose to Celtic on Matchday Six. Lazio have won five of their last seven home matches in all competitions, and Cluj have lost six of their last nine away games.
I'll back Lazio -1.0 on the Asian Handicap here at 2.10.
Getafe to come unstuck
Trabzonspor v Getafe Thursday 28 November, 15:50 Live on BT Sport Extra
Getafe have been on an incredible journey under inspirational coach Jose Bordalas. They nearly qualified for the Champions League last season, and in this campaign, they are making a decent fist of trying to qualify for the last 32 of the Europa League. They are behind the leaders Basel, and are level on points with Krasnodar.
However, I think the Spanish side are underpriced at 1.70 to win this one. They are without a win in three games, and have only won three times on the road in nine attempts. Trabzonspor are just two points off top spot in the Turkish Super Lig, and while this competition may not be top of their list of priorities, they are capable of holding their own here against a unit with very little European experience.