Europa League Tips: Bullish Basques to win again

After securing 4/6 winners on Matchday Three, Kevin Hatchard's back with a set of four Europa League selections...

No smacking in San Sebastian

Real Sociedad v Sturm Graz
Thursday 04 November, 17:45
Live on BT Sport

Real Sociedad really should have gone into this game on a high, after winning a tightly-contested Basque derby against their old foes Athletic Club. In reality, goalkeeper Alex Remiro punched an Iker Muniain free-kick into his own net in the dying moments of the game, and the contest ended 1-1.

Despite that painful setback, La Real are still top of La Liga, having lost just once in 12 top-flight matches. In the Europa League they are unbeaten after three games, having drawn with PSV and Monaco, and having edged out Sturm Graz 1-0.

The Austrians are big outsiders again here, and rightly so, having lost their last four games in all competitions. However, while I think the hosts will win, I'm happy to combine a home win with an Under 3.5 Goals bet on the Sportsbook at 1.84. None of Real Sociedad's seven league games have featured more than two goals, let alone more than three.

Turkish titans to take the points

Galatasaray v Lokomotiv Moscow
Thursday 04 November, 17:45
Live on BT Sport

After a shaky start to the season that saw them win just two of their first six Turkish Super Lig games, Fatih Terim's Galatasaray are on the charge. They have won four of their last five in the top flight, and they have made an unbeaten start to the UEL group stage, taking seven points from three matches.

Gala's form is all the more impressive when you consider the quality of opposition. They have secured 1-0 wins over Lazio and Lokomotiv Moscow, and drawn 0-0 with Marseille.

Loko are bottom of the group, and have only scored one goal so far. That contrasts with their domestic form, which has seen them move into second spot in the Russian Premier League. That said, they have only won once on their travels in the top flight.

Galatasaray are trading at 1.75 to take the win, but we can boost that price to 1.92 if we back the home win and Under 4.5 Goals on the Sportsbook. None of Gala's home games this term have featured more than three goals, and you could even push it a bit further by backing the home win and Under 3.5 Goals at 2.4.

Bayer on the slide

Bayer Leverkusen v Real Betis
Thursday 04 November, 20:00
Live on BT Sport

It's perhaps harsh that Bayer Leverkusen are jokingly described as "Neverkusen" for their repeated failure to win big games and big trophies, but their mental strength is often in focus, and they are wobbling again. The Rhineland club made a great start to the campaign under new coach Gerardo Seoane, but a 5-1 hammering at home by Bayern has totally knocked them out of their stride.

The Werkself blew a 2-0 lead in a 2-2 draw at local rivals Köln, they drew 1-1 against Betis in Seville, and Saturday's 2-0 home defeat to Wolfsburg was in some ways a worse performance than the 5-1 against Bayern. Leverkusen, without the injured Patrik Schick and the suspended Moussa Diaby, didn't have a shot on target until the 95th minute. That effort was a penalty from backup striker Lucas Alario, and it was saved by Wolfsburg keeper Koen Casteels. Bayer have now gone five matches without a win in all competitions.

Betis lost 3-0 at Atletico Madrid at the weekend, but that was their first defeat in nearly a month, and Manuel Pellegrini's side is just a point off the top four in La Liga. They are unbeaten in the UEL, and they led against Bayer with eight minutes to go in Spain, before conceding a late leveller.

I think Bayer are too short here at evens, so I'll lay them.

Faltering Fener are vulnerable

Antwerp v Fenerbahce
Thursday 04 November, 20:00
Live on BT Sport

If you want an indication of the poor form Fenerbahce are in right now, you only have to look at the weekend's 2-0 defeat at Konyaspor in the Turkish Super Lig. With the Istanbul side 2-0 down, coach Vitor Pereira made a triple substitution. That would be perfectly reasonable, had the change not been made before half-time. To make matters worse, skipper Luiz Gustavo, keeper Altay and striker Enner Valencia all picked up knocks.

Fener have lost three of their last four games, and they haven't won a match for a month. In the UEL, they have collected just two points from their first three games, and they drew the reverse fixture against Antwerp, despite leading 2-1 in the second half.

Antwerp haven't been on great form either, but they are at least in the top three in Belgium, and they won 1-0 at Cercle Brugge at the weekend. They only lost to Eintracht Frankfurt at home thanks to a last-gasp penalty, and I think they can exploit the weaknesses of a struggling Fenerbahce. I'll use the Draw No Bet market to back them at 1.95.

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