MATCHDAY 4 of the Europa League brings with it plentiful betting opportunities. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) has lined up two bets in the early games.
FK Karabakh v Dnipro | Thursday 17:00
As a punter, the hardest thing about the Europa League is trying to figure out which sides are taking it seriously. I’m pretty sure Azerbaijan side FK Karabakh will be going all out to qualify for the knockout stages.
Karabakh (or Qarabag), have equipped themselves very well so far in Europe this season. After just missing out on a place in the play-off round of the Champions League, they entered the same stage of the Europa League and knocked out Dutch side FC Twente.
In Group F they’ve picked up four points from a possible nine. St Etienne were held at home, before a respectable 2-0 loss at the San Siro against Inter. Two weeks ago they travelled to Ukraine to face Dnipro and by beating them 1-0 became the first Azerbaijani club to win a Europa League group stage tie.
Dnipro dominated proceedings that night, but there’s no reason to think that Karabakh can’t be a harder nut to crack at home. They’re unbeaten all season in Baku in domestic competition and will be desperate to make history and reach the Last 32.
Dnipro are bottom of the group with just one point to their name. Has the political unrest in their native land thwarted them in the Europa League this season? Perhaps. I can’t be having them as short as 6/5 (Coral) to win this game. Instead I’ll be bolshy and back the Azerbaijani’s to beat them again at 23/10 with Skybet.
HJK Helsinki v Torino | Thursday 18:00
Fresh from clinching a sixth successive Veikkausliiga, HJK Helsinki host Serie A side Torino on Thursday. They may be dominating their own land, but HJK have found it tough in this Europa League group with three successive defeats.
Crucially though, they’re not getting humiliated. A 3-0 home loss against Standard Liege five weeks ago was as bad as it got, but between that game they lost 2-0 away to FC Copenhagen and current opponents Torino.
Torino are not the greatest in front of goal. Of the current 12 Europa League group leaders no side has scored fewer than them (3). This meek behaviour is replicated in Serie A as well with just seven goals in their 10 domestic fixtures this season. Poor stuff.
Giampiero Ventura’s side notched just twice when hosting HJK so a similar scoreline here looks a possibility. Quotes of 4/5 with BetVictor on Under 2.5 Goals get me going.