UEFA Europa League Playoff Odds: First Leg

Europa League Back on Thursday

Barcelona Take On Manchester United

Barcelona and Manchester United are undoubtedly both disappointed not to be contending for the Champions League. However, fans will be in for a treat when the two meet in the Europa League playoff first leg on Thursday. Both sides are among the favorites to win the competition but only one will advance to the round of 16. We’ll take a look at some of the other matches of the week as we review the Europa League playoff odds.

Matches of the Week

RB Salzburg vs Roma

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The Austrian Bundesliga leaders RB Salzburg host Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma on Thursday. This is the first time these teams are meeting in European competition but they’ve both been regulars over the last few years. Roma won last year’s UEFA Europa Conference League and Mourinho has an excellent European pedigree. He’s won all three major UEFA competitions and he certainly takes cup competitions seriously. The Giallorossi come in at -200 odds to qualify but this match is listed as a pick’em.

Salzburg finished in third place behind Chelsea and AC Milan in their Champions League group. They went 1-3-2 to get dropped down to the Europa League but did make the UCL round of 16 last year. They may be at a bit of a disadvantage given the Austrian Bundesliga’s winter break only just ended. Salzburg did defeat Austria Lustenau 4-0 in their first match back, though. Salzburg sit at -105 odds to cover and +180 odds to win Thursday’s match. Meanwhile, Roma are -125 favorites to cover and show +155 odds to win. Any outcome here is more than possible, as a draw displays +230 Europa League playoff odds.

Bettors should note that Roma have won just one of their last four matches in all competitions. They drew 1-1 at Lecce on Saturday but have gone 6-4-2 on the road in Serie A this season. Mourinho will be hoping defender Leonardo Spinazzola will be able to return from injury in time for this one. The previously exiled Rick Karsdorp has also trained with the team ahead of Thursday’s match. Both teams have conceded under a goal per game in their respective leagues and under U 2½ goals comes in at -125 odds.

Barcelona vs Manchester United

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In the most anticipated playoff matchup, Barcelona host Manchester United in the first leg. Barcelona started the season in the Champions League but they ended up finishing behind Bayern Munich and Inter Milan. So, they’re back in the Europa League for consecutive seasons. Meanwhile, Manchester United finished second in the Group E Europa League standings. They won their last five matches in the group stage, though, and have won five of their last six matches, in all competitions.

Barcelona are also in excellent form heading into this match. They defeated Villarreal on Sunday and have won their last eight matches in all competitions. Barça are well on their way to winning La Liga and took an 11-point lead over Real Madrid with Sunday’s win. Barcelona have also lost just once to Manchester United in the last 30 years. FCB have a 5-4-1 record vs. United and they last defeated Man United twice in the 2019 Champions League quarterfinals. Barcelona are -175 favorites to qualify for the round of 16 and are -145 ATS and moneyline favorites for the first leg of the playoff. Manchester United +½ sits at +115 odds and United show +350 odds to win the match.

Manchester United have never won at the Camp Nou and Erik ten Hag’s men have a huge task ahead of them. United have plenty of injuries and Christian Eriksen, Scott McTominay, Antony and Anthony Martial are all out for Thursday’s match. Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets and Ousmane Dembele are expected to be out as well. A draw would be a great result for United and it displays +310 odds. In what’s expected to be a brilliant match, under three goals also come in at -140 odds.

Ajax vs Union Berlin

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Union Berlin have been one of the most surprising teams in any league this season. They’re just one point behind leaders Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga and have won six straight matches. Union picked up a gritty 2-1 win at RB Leipzig last weekend and head to Amsterdam on Thursday to face Ajax. While Ajax lost some key players in the Summer, they still have an incredibly talented roster. Brian Brobbey has scored an Eredivisie-leading 11 goals this season and Dusan Tadic has added 11 assists. Mohamed Kudus, Steven Berghuis and Jurrien Timber are other big names on Ajax.

While Union are short on big names, they’re certainly not short on belief. They rallied to win their last four Europa League group stage matches and qualify for the playoff. Now, the Europa League playoff odds price Union Berlin at just +320 to win their first-ever Europa League knockout match. Ajax, who have won four straight games, are ½-goal favorites and come in at -120 ATS and moneyline odds. Union Berlin +½ displays -110 odds and they haven’t lost since November. They also had the joint-best defensive record in the Europa League as they conceded just twice in six games.

Ajax come in at -175 odds to qualify for the round of 16 and a draw would put a dent in those hopes. A deadlock sits at +265 odds and Ajax are also unbeaten since November. Both teams have conceded over a goal per game in their respective leagues but under 2½ goals display -120 odds for the match. Sheraldo Becker has been Union’s most productive player this season, with seven goals and four assists. Expect Ajax to dominate possession but Union have shown to be comfortable in such situations this season.

Bayer Leverkusen vs Monaco

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In another intriguing fixture on the Europa League schedule, Bayer Leverkusen host AS Monaco. Monaco have built a lot of momentum lately and they picked up an excellent 3-1 win over PSG last weekend. Philippe Clement’s Monaco have averaged three goals in their last six matches and pose a big attacking threat. Breel Embolo and Wissam Ben Yedder have been at the center of the Monaco attack. Caio Henrique and Aleksandr Golovin are also among the Ligue 1 assist leaders.

Since Xabi Alonso took over Bayer Leverkusen their form has steadied. Bookmakers are confident in their chances to progress as they come in at -200 odds to qualify for the round of 16. Leverkusen picked up a 3-1 win over Hoffenheim on Saturday without striker Patrik Schick. The Czech international is expected to be back from an illness for Thursday’s match. Schick, Moussa Diaby and Florian Wirtz form a formidable Bayer Leverkusen attack. Bayer display -140 ATS and moneyline odds to win on Thursday but Monaco have been excellent on the road this season. They’ve lost just one Ligue 1 match away from home but Monaco +½ shows just +110 odds.

Monaco could be a popular pick to win, at +335 odds, given their recent form. They did struggle a bit in the group stage in a group they were expected to win, though. In Group H with Ferencvaros, Trabzonspor and Red Star Belgrade, Monaco went just 3-1-2 and finished second. Monaco haven’t lost in a 90-minute match since November but and a draw sits at +310 odds. Although both teams have dangerous attacks and neither defense is great, under three goals come in at -135 odds.
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