THE Europa League knockout stage continues on Thursday. Tom Love (@TomLove_18) runs the rule over the best betting options from the second leg Last 32 fixtures.
LASK Linz v AZ Alkmaar | Thursday 27th February 2020, 17:55 | BT Sport
This first leg was largely dominated by the Austrians but a late AZ penalty means the tie is fascinatingly poised at 1-1 for the return leg. Both these teams ranked as top five fodder when it came to expected goals in the group stages which may have surprised a few, all credit to them both though, their brave approach has paid off.
AZ are plagued by defensive injuries and that makes the slight odds-on quotes on the hosts fair here, however they’ll do well to keep out their vibrant front three. It’s also a boost for the Cheeseheads that Norweigan Fredrik Midtsjo is back in the squad after serving his suspension, his experience is vital in a youthful squad.
I fully expected Linz to score here and that will mean AZ will have to come out and be attacking, similarly if AZ take a lead Linz have to go for it. Therefore the 4/5 quotes (William Hill) on both teams to score looks more than fair.
Young forwards Klauss and Marko Raguz are very highly rated for the hosts and have impressed in this competition with 3 goals a piece to their name, they can hurt this disjointed AZ defensive line.
After an away goal and a draw last week you’d have to make Linz favourites to progress but how this game could go, goals at both ends makes the greater appeal.
Malmo v Wolfsburg | Thursday 27th February 2020, 17:55 | BT Sport
It’s been a positive knockout stage for Bundesliga teams on the continent. Only Borussia Monchengladbach were downed at the group stage but Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Leipzig, Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg all progressed and all have won their respective first legs.
This league is known for its clever recruitment policies and it’s no surprise when pretty much all top German clubs follow a Sporting Director model to get a real grip on recruitment and philosophy.
Wolfsburg are no exception in that regard. Funnily enough they brought in former LASK Linz manager Oliver Glasner in the Summer and it’s been another largely impressive season for Die Wolfe as they currently sit in 7th place and are in good form since February.
They’ve now won three and drew one in their last five fixtures in all competitions and make the trip to Sweden off the back of a 4-0 triumph over Mainz at the Volkswagen Arena.
With big Wout Weghorst leading the line and a supporting cast including the likes of Maxi Arnold, Xaver Schlager, Renato Steffen, Yannick Gerhardt and Josip Brekalo it’s no wonder thee Lower Saxony outfit are in the goals.
However, they have a 2-1 lead here and that Malmo away goal could make this a bit more of a task than what they were hoping for. That been said, bookmakers are rating the Germans as 3/10 shots in the ‘To Qualify’ market but it’s a game that is well balanced and if Malmo take the lead they’ll know a 1-0 win will see them through on away goals and then the visitors have to attack.
What I like about second legs is that in play dynamics can create a really entertaining game, especially if there is an early goal. I’m personally not a massive in-play bettor but it is primed for pickings in second legs on goals, corners and card markets in games that aren’t dead. This looks like one that still has plenty riding on it. With this in mind I’m more than happy to take the 5/6 from SportingBet on both teams to score.
Wolfsburg are in great scoring form at the minute but Glasner has a few defensive concerns with both Kevin M’babu and William ruled out and Malmo should take confidence from that especially with the Himmelsblatt scoring in each of their last 8 home games including a 4-3 win last time out.
Istanbul Basaksehir v Sporting Lisbon | Thursday 27th February 2020, 17:55 | BT Sport
Following on from the theme of second legs being entertaining affairs, there’s one bet that could be worth a bit of interest over a few games and it tends to be best price on SkyBet. They have a tab that has combined goals, corners and cards and it’s one I enjoy looking at especially in second legs.
It has three different options with varying amounts of each three factors but I like the odds against offering on over 1.5 goals, over 8.5 corners and over 25 booking points in the game between Istanbul Basaksehir and Sporting Lisbon on Thursday night.
It’s fair to say that Sporting Club were dominant in the first leg in the Portuguese capital winning the shot count and xG battle comfortably, they were good value for their 3-1 win. The little known Turkish side did grab a goal back in the second half and they needed that if they were to have any chance of progressing you would’ve thought.
It’s all on the hosts here to take the game to the visitors and I’m expecting a feisty affair and plenty of cards, especially with Spaniard Antonio Mateu calling the shots.
Mateu is well known for his propensity to dish out the cards with a gargantuan average of 7.13 cards per game in his last 8 games. Sporting Lisbon were the dirtiest club in Europe last season and with a lead to hold onto I’m expecting them to be tactically fouling, attempting to slow the game down and time wasting.
They average 3 cards per game in the Liga NOS and that average goes up a tad when away from home too. Therefore the 10/11 quotes (SkyBet) on the visitors will hold some appeal, however the hosts could lose their heads if they take the lead and it’s no surprise to see 60+ booking points priced up at even-money and given Mateu’s record that is probably a fair line.
The game dynamics dictate there should be attacking, pressurised football from the hosts so id be surprised if there wasn’t at least two goals and 3 cards. Corners is a bit more of an unknown however when one team have their backs to the wall and one team piling players forward it usually leads to corners.
There were over 8.5 in the first game so this bet landed there and in my eyes it has much more of a chance in a second leg so the bet will be ‘over 1.5 goals, over 8.5 corners and over 25 booking points’ at 11/10 on SkyBet.
LASK Linz v AZ Alkmaar – Both Teams To Score (4/5 William Hill)
Malmo v Wolfsburg – Both Teams To Score (5/6 Sportingbet)
Istanbul Basaksehir v Sporting Lisbon – Over 1.5 Goals, Over 8.5 Corners and Over 25 Booking Points (11/10 SkyBet)