The Europa League is a European soccer tournament often disregarded by the biggest clubs. However, it now offers the winner a place in the far more prestigious Champions League. With a big prize on offer and some high-quality sides drawn against each other the 2017/18 Europa League outright betting looks as open as ever.
Historically speaking, the Europa League has produced seven different winners in the last 10 years – but Sevilla did win the competition three times in a row before last season. At this stage there is no seeding and the draw has created some big ties which will see some of the early favourites leaving the competition.
Sides who may struggle to achieve Champions League qualification in their domestic league increasingly make the Europa league their priority, so motivation is a factor to consider when betting on a team.
The tournament provides an alternative Champions league a qualification route last season’s winners Manchester United used to their advantage.
Europa League winner odds
Europa League winner odds
Who will win the Europa League? Analysing the favourites
Europa League outright odds: 2.800*
Previous outright odds: 3.050
Round of 16 first leg result: Atletico Madrid 3-0 Lokomotiv Moscow
Atletico's unsuccessful Champions League campaign was contributed to by a transfer ban, making them unable to register new players. This ban has now ended and Atletico promptly added Spanish internationals Vitolo and Diego Costa to their squad.
On paper Atletico Madrid are the strongest side in the competition and the talent within Diego Simeone’s squad is worthy of their favourite status. A relatively straight forward round of 16 draw against Russia's Lokomotiv Moscow has caused Atleti's odds to shorten further, making them strong favourites to win the competition.
Atletico fielded a strong team that cruised to a 3-0 first leg win over Lokomotiv Moskow. They are increasingly prioritising Europa League success and are a formidable threat to every team in the competition.
Europa League outright odds: 5.510*
Previous outright odds: 7.500
Round of 16 first leg result: AC Milan 0-2 Arsenal
Ironically, Arsenal’s biggest inspiration ahead of their Europa League campaign is the success of rivals Manchester United last term. The Premier League giants started at 4.88 to win last season’s tournament and their price only shortened from there. They eventually succeeded without too much difficulty, earning themselves a place in this year’s Champions League in the process.
For Arsenal, however, things are rarely straightforward in Europe. The Gunners have never won the Champions League or Europa League (previously named the Uefa Cup), losing a final in each – first to Galatasaray in 2000 and then to Barcelona in 2006. Their recent Champions League knockout record is woeful. It could be argued that Arsene Wenger has become a victim of sunk costs in recent years.
The departure of Alexis Sanchez has weakened Arsenal’s chances but new signing Henrikh Mikhtaryan is eligible for the competition. Record signing Pierre Emerick Aubameyang will be unable to participate, however.
Unlike Atletico Madrid, Arsenal’s league season has not gone to plan. As a result, the Europa League offers them their best chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League. They have fallen further away from the Premier League top four since the round of 32 and this competition offers Arsene Wenger his only realistic hope of saving his sides season.
The Gunners are likely to avoid elimination in the round of 16 this time round after big goals from Mkhitaryan and Ramsey at the San Siro. They are odds on to win the tie and have shortened to second favourites in the outright Europa League betting.
Europa League outright odds: 13.020*
Previous outright odds: 7.000
Round of 16 first leg result: Borussia Dortmund 1-2 Red Bull Salzburg
A beaten quarterfinalist in last season’s Champions League, Borussia Dortmund are another side who would not have chosen to play in the Europa League this season. The Germans finished behind Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid in their Champions League group and are currently fighting for an automatic Champions League spot in The Bundesliga.
They will need to juggle solidifying their Bundesliga position with a Europa League campaign if they wish to lift the trophy in May. Dortmund lost Aubameyang in January but can now call upon the services of Belgian Michy Batshuayi.
The German's tie against Red Bull Salzburg has become a big challange after a 2-1 home defeat. Dortmund now must secure an away win to progress beyond the round of 16.
Europa League outright odds: 14.000*
Previous outright odds: 46.050
The initial Europa League favourites, AC Milan were somewhat of an unknown quantity at the start of the competition. Since the start of the season they have failed to perform to expectations in Serie A and were untested in a relatively easy Europa league group. Milan are currently seventh in Serie A and their headline-grabbing summer additions have started to make an impression.
Among the new recruits were Nikola Kalinic, Ricardo Rodriguez, Mateo Musacchio, Andre Silva and, most notably, Leonardo Bonucci – who left Serie A champions and Champions League finalists Juventus to join Milan. Kalinic and Silva have not been as prolific as hoped in attack but youngster Patrick Cutrone has made the difference in recent matches.
Milan have a deep and talented squad at their disposal and no serious prospect of success in the league. Europa League glory would rescue their season and they looked to be finding form at just the right time to challenge.
AC suffered a big setback against Arsenal and their Europa League chances are looking remote. They need to recover from a two goal home defeat with a big win in London.
Europa League outright odds: 16.020*
Outright odds before group stage: 12.000
Opponent in round of 16: Lazio 2-2 Dynamo Kyiv
Lazio have overtaken AC Milan as the second most likely Italian team to challenge for the trophy according to the odds. The Rome side drifted as far as 41.00 before the group stage began but have had a very strong season so far.
The Italian side have some cup pedigree, winning Serie A in 2000 and the Uefa Cup Winners’ Cup in 1999. Simone Inzaghi’s men also reached the Coppa Italia final last season, secured a respectable fifth-place finish in the league and beat Juventus in the Supercoppa Italiana.
They are currently third in Serie A and are the highest scorers in the league. Striker Ciro Immobile has been on inspired form this season with 20 goals, whilst Sergej Milinković-Savić has been a revelation in midfield.
Like Atletico Madrid, Lazio’s success so far in the league may actually detract from their potential to win the Europa League. Lazio are currently on course for one of Serie A’s Champions League spots and may prioritise important Serie A games over the initial Europa League knockout rounds.
They must score in Kyiv to progress, but with if they play to their potential then the Italians should have enough to secure a victory.
Europa League outright odds: 46.050*
Outright odds before group stage: 23.000
Opponent in round of 16: Marseille 3-1 Athletic Bilbao
Athletic Bilbao have a history of relative success in the Europa League, reaching the quarter-finals two seasons ago and finishing runners-up in 2012.
Yet, with no notable signings made this summer and memories of their defeat to APOEL in the last 32 last term, it appears Athletic Bilbao were priced above 20.00 for a reason. Bilbao will have to overcome a 3-1 defeat to a resurgent Marseille in order to make the next round. Their odds have adjusted accordingly maing them outsiders for the trophy.
Europa League winner betting: The outsiders
A side regularly mentioned with regards to Europa League outright betting are Lyon. The Ligue 1 club are in from 14.100 to 9.010* to go all the way after a credible win away to CSKA. Nabil Fekir has been electric this year but lack of squad depth combined with an energetic style of play could be a problem.
RB Leipzig (13.020*) offer a threat to the main contenders. With the quality of Naby Keita, Emil Forsberg and Timo Werner in the side their odds have dropped after defeating the well fancied Napoli. They will need to hold on to a one goal lead away to Zenit St Petersburg to secure their place in the quarter finals.
Likewise RB Salzburg's (26.030*) odds have shortened after a first leg victory over Borussia Dortmund. The youthful Austrian side are having a breakout European campaign but will need to hold on to their lead in Austria.
Get the best Europa League outright odds and Europa League match odds with Pinnacle.