EUROPEAN football expert Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) made us a small fortune on the Europa League last season. Here's his favourite fancies from Thursday's evening kick-offs.
Dynamo Kiev v Young Boys | Thursday 19th October 2017, 20:05 | BT Sport
Dynamo Kiev finished 13 points behind rivals Shakhtar Donetsk in last season’s Ukrainian title race, prompting Serhiy Rebrov to step down after three years in the managerial hot-seat and twice taking top honours domestically.
Former star Alyaksandr Khatskevich was given the gig in July but his appointment wasn’t greeted with any fanfare from Dynamo supporters due to a decidedly underwhelming coaching career.
The Belarusian boss has flopped in youth and reserve team management at the club and has already peeved plenty in Kiev following a rotten start with the first XI. The White Blues are already seven points adrift of Shakhtar, were beaten by the table-toppers in the Super Cup and dropped out of the Champions League during the preliminaries.
Their weekend loss at Chornomorets has seen pressure intensity on Khatskevich but the club president is keen to persist with the club legend as they enter a period of transition. Despite all the obvious negativity around Dynamo, I still believe they’re a price worth backing on Thursday night.
Kiev are as big as 3/4 (Marathon) to beat Young Boys, the side that ousted them from the Champions League on away goals back in August. The White Blues beat their Swiss visitors 3-1 at the NSC Olimpiyskiy and their strong home form should give them a great opportunity in repeating the feat here.
Dynamo have W6-D1-L0 when welcoming Europa League opposition since 2014/15 with each triumph achieved by more than a single-goal margin, including their matchday one 3-1 victory over Skenderbeu.
A 3-2 win was picked up away in Partizan Belgrade last time out, giving the hosts a commanding four-point advantage over Young Boys in Group B, and with both clubs’ penchant for high-scoring contests, we can bolster the odds on the home success by adding Over 1.5 Goals to the equation for an even-money shout with BetStars.
Dynamo have seen both sides score in seven of their last 10 outings, including both Europa League ties this term. Meanwhile, Young Boys have seen nine of their last 10 outings feature at least two goals with the surprise Swiss Super League leaders recording BTTS in six of their past nine matches.
The visitors suffered only their second league loss of the campaign last time out and have claimed only W2-D2-L1 on their travels on domestic duty. However, their away record in Europe is far worse with Young Boys falling to defeat in seven of 10 continental trips since 2015/16 when excluding preliminaries.
YB have been held to 1-1 draws by both Partizan Belgrade and Skenderbeu and the reasonable UEFA association coefficient gap between the two clubs is likely to be seen when they lock horns in the Ukrainian capital.
Skenderbeu v Partizan Belgrade | Thursday 19th October 2017, 20:05 | BT Sport
Staying in Group B, goals are also forecast for Skenderbeu’s battle with Partizan Belgrade and Both Teams To Score holds plenty of appeal at odds-against quotes of 21/20 with William Hill.
Each of the four games in this pool have already witnessed BTTS winners and the recipe for a repeat suggests the price should be snapped up.
The Albanian hosts – who won an unprecedented five domestic titles back-to-back – were banned from European last season and disappointed when finishing third domestically. The Snow Wolves were therefore required to go through four rounds of Europa League qualification to reach the group phase.
The club from Korce survived, scraping through on penalties and away goals, to reach the group stages for only the second time in their history. And head coach Ilir Daja is confident his team can compete at this level having held Young Boys on home soil and putting on a decent show away at Dynamo Kiev.
Skenderbeu are in decent nick – that Kiev defeat is one of only two losses in 18 this term – but we’re only interested in goals and seven of their last eight have copped in the Both Teams To Score market.
Partizan Belgrade claimed a sixth domestic double in 2016/17 but a slow start to this season has seen the Serbians fall four points behind city rivals Red Star. Having spent no money on new players and failing to qualify for this competition last season, the Steamroller aren’t a patch on Partizan sides of old.
However, Cameroon forward Tawamba Kana continues to cause opposition defences headaches and he played a key role when Partizan took a 2-0 lead at home to Dynamo Kiev last month before surrendering that advantage to lose 3-2.
Although goals haven’t quite as fluent as Skenderbeu, five of the visitors last eight have rewarded BTTS backers with the visitors firing only two blanks in 10 away days across all competitions thus far.
Dynamo Kiev v Young Boys – Dynamo Kiev to win and Over 1.5 Goals (1/1 BetStars)
Skenderbeu v Partizan Belgrade – Both Teams To Score (21/20 William Hill)