Europa League Betting: Spurs to whack WAC

The Europa League is back, with teams contesting the round of 32. Kevin Hatchard has four selections to keep an eye on...

Spurs to take control

Wolfsberger v Tottenham
Thursday 18 January, 17:55
Live on BT Sport 2

Spurs boss Jose Mourinho has taken the Europa League seriously from the get-go, and not only is it a route to a major European trophy, it is surely the most realistic option available when it comes to Champions League qualification. A run of three wins in 12 Premier League games has left the North London giants six points off the top four, and there are realistically eight clubs battling for three spots. Tottenham are out to 6.4 in the Top 4 Finish market.

Wolfsberger have made club history by even getting to this stage. They are keen students of the pressing game that has had great success in Austrian football in recent years, and their sense of togetherness and sacrifice has seen them beat Feyenoord and CSKA Moscow in this season's group stage. Last season, they thrashed Borussia Mönchengladbach in Germany. Veteran Michael Liendl is a danger at set plays, and he netted a hat-trick in an extraordinary 4-1 demolition of Feyenoord at De Kuip.

This game will be played on neutral territory in the Hungarian capital Budapest because of COVID-19, and I think a strong Spurs side will show their quality here. Mourinho's men have won seven of their nine UEL games this term, and all but two of their games at this level have featured at least three goals. We can double up a Spurs win with an Over 2.5 Goals bet on the Sportsbook's Same Game Multi at 2.01.

Get set for Prague party

Slavia Prague v Leicester City
Thursday 18 January, 17:55
Live on BT Sport ESPN

These are heady days indeed at the King Power. The Foxes fell at the final hurdle in their Champions League qualification quest last term, but they have picked themselves up, dusted themselves down and are powering towards a top-four finish. They showed a ruthless streak in their 3-1 comeback win against Liverpool, and they are still in the mix in the FA Cup and Europa League.

Leicester's clash with Slavia Prague could be very entertaining. The Czech league leaders won all three of their group-stage home games, and scored seven goals across those victories against Bayer Leverkusen, Nice and Hapoel Be'er Sheva. Five of their six group games saw an Over 2.5 Goals bet land.

Leicester are without James Justin and Wesley Fofana in defence, while it would be a surprise to see Wilfred Ndidi and Jamie Vardy start after their relatively recent returns from injury. Leicester saw two of their three away games in the group stage feature three goals or more, and I'll go for Over 2.5 Goals against here at 2.0.

Distracted Milan worth opposing

Crvena Zvezda v Milan
Thursday 18 February, 17:55
Live on BT Sport

Milan's bid to win a shock Scudetto suffered a hammer blow at the weekend, as they lost 2-0 at Spezia without really troubling a side that was only promoted at the end of last season. With a Milan derby against title rivals Inter on the horizon, it seems unlikely that coach Stefano Pioli will take any unnecessary risks here. It would be a surprise to see anything approaching Milan's strongest XI here.

Crvena Zvezda only lost one of their six group-stage games, they are well clear at the top of the Serbian top flight, and they have only lost one of their last 12 UEL home matches.

Although the excellent Aleksandar Katai is injured, the hosts can cause an upset here. Lay Milan at 1.93.

Inconsistent Roma too short for win

Braga v Roma
Thursday 18 January, 17:55
Live on BT Sport

One of Roma's biggest problems under coach Paulo Fonseca is that they struggle to perform against quality opposition. In the last couple of months they have lost at Lazio, Atalanta and Juventus, and they haven't beaten a top side all season. The fact they are still in the Serie A title race underlines their status as consistent flat-track bullies.

Fonseca's former club Braga are no pushovers, and although they lost the talented Paulinho to league leaders Sporting in January, they still have a good side that is capable of causing Roma problems. The Archbishops haven't lost at home since September in any competition, and they have just held Porto to back-to-back draws at the Estadio Municipal, one in the league and one in the Taca de Portugal.

Roma are 2.1 to win the first leg, and that seems too short to me. They have lost five of their last seven away games in all competitions, the injured Chris Smalling is absent from the defence, and the experienced Pedro is on the sidelines too. I'll back Braga Draw No Bet here at 2.6.

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