Europa League | Last 16 Second Leg Prediction & Betting Tips

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THE always-excellent James Cantrill (@JimmyThePunt) shares his favourite fancies from Thursday's Europa League card as the knockout rounds continue with the second leg last-16 ties.

Bayer Leverkusen vs Atalanta | Thursday 17th March 2022, 17:45 | BT Sport

Bet365 has the goal line set at 3.0, and I think odds of 1.890 are worth taking on. If there are two or less goals in this game, the bet is a loser, three and you get your stake back and anything more is paid out in full.

With the first leg finishing 3-2 in Atalanta’s favour, this angle obviously clicked last week and I fancy goals to be rife once more.

It is worth noting that this bet has not won in any of Bayer Leverkusen’s last three fixtures as they lost 0-1 vs Koln, drew 1-1 with Bayern and beat Aminia Bielefield 3-0. Prior to those results though, their 11 games in the Bundesliga had seen 57 goals- an average of 5.2 per game- with this bet paying out in 82%!

Atalanta are usually pretty obliging when it comes to goals as well. In Europe this season, their games have met this line in all bar one as 30 goals have been scored in their seven UCL and UEL matches.

Bayer Leverkusen will need to set the agenda here. As they have only failed to score at the BayArena twice in 14 games this season, I think we are set for an open game.

I also wanted to draw your attention to a couple of potential bookings in this fixture.

The first of which is Timothy Fosu-Mensah at 16/5 with Betfair, with Jeremie Frimpong picking up an injury he may be expected to fill in at right back.

Domestically, over the course of his career, Fosu-Mensah has picked up ten cards in 61 appearances. Last season, he picked up three cards in seven starts, all of which coming at right-back. The season before- at Manchester United- he picked up one card in five starts. His booking came vs West Ham at right-back, one of only three appearances there that season.

In fact, despite his versatility, nine of his ten league career cards have come at right back, the other one came whilst he was playing at left back! With him struggling for consistent minutes he could be a bit rusty here and as his card record indicates, he struggles to stay out of trouble at right back.

Another player that I think is worth a dabble is the visitors keeper, Juan Musso. Personally, I love a punt on goalkeepers if the game state suits and Musso is not the last one I’ll be tipping in this article.

The Argentine shot stopper is yet to pick up a card in the Europa League, but has picked up a yellow and a red card in Serie A, his 13th booking of his career.

With his side a goal to the good and away from home, his time wasting antics will not go down very well in Germany. 

Red Star Belgrade vs Rangers | Thursday 17th March 2022, 17:45 | BT Sport

 This was a clash I avoided in my article last week as I was unsure how it would pan out. Having watched the Gers secure a 3-0 victory in the first leg, I like the look of both teams to score no here at 13/10 with Betvictor. The same angle is as short as 21/20 elsewhere, which is a bit of a gulf considering how consistently this market is usually priced across different bookies.

At Ibrox last Thursday, Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side raced into a 2-0 lead, the goals courtesy of a James Tavernier penalty and Alfredo Morelos, limiting the visitors to very little. It is worth pointing out that Aleksandar Katai had the ball in Rangers net on two separate occasions, only to be thwarted by the linesman.

The xGD is skewed in the favour of Red Star Belgrade- who won the battle by a 0.70 and generated a total of 2.41- however, the majority of this will be from the penalty Katai missed.

With a sizeable lead to protect, Rangers will look to see this fixture out with a professional, albeit pragmatic performance. This is why I fancy this clash to buck the goalladen trend of their recent European nights.

Rennes vs Leicester | Thursday 17th March 2022, 17:45 | BT Sport

In last week's article, I touted Rennes centre backs to be amongst the goals. The rational being that the French side would prosper against one of the poorest sides across the continent at defending from set pieces. It did not work out at the King Power as neither Nayef Aguerd or Warmed Omari found the net, but I think the pair are worth another punt in the second leg.

To reiterate, the Foxes are dreadful at defending set pieces. In the English top flight, no side has conceded more goals from them than Leicester's 14. They also top the charts for xGA (12.7) and rank second for shots conceded from them (126).

Craig Dawson, Joe Worrell, Eric Konsa, Jan Bednarek and Aymeric Laporte are just some of the central defenders to prosper from this gaping chink in the Brenden Rodgers’s side defense.

In stark contrast, Rennes are the best side in Ligue One from set pieces. They have scored the most goals (12) and generated the greatest xG (11.3) from the second most shots (112) of any side in the French top flight.

As far as goalscoring defenders go, Les Rouges et Noirs’ pair are not exactly formidable. However, given the above, I think it is worth splitting a point between Aguerd and Omari once more.

Given the dynamic of the tie and his petulant nature, I also think Fox shot stopper Kasper Schmeichel is worth a punt in the card market.

Leicester’s number one is having a poor season best illustrated by his save percentage of 64%, for reference Jose Sa has the best EPL average with 84%. He loves a winge at the referee and if his side go a goal down, I am sure he will be pulling out all the stops to ensure that they are into the next round.

He is 16/1 to be carded with Bet365, but if you combine if with Leicester to qualify it boosts the bet to just shy of 20/1.

Best Bets

Bayer Leverkusen vs Atalanta – Over 3.0 Goals (9/10 Bet365)

Bayer Leverkusen vs Atalanta – Timothy Fosu-Mensah to be Carded (16/5 Betfair)

Bayer Leverkusen vs Atalanta – Juan Musso to be Carded and Atalanta To Qualify (13/1 Bet365)

Red Star Belgrade vs Rangers – Both Teams To Score ‘No’ (13/10 BetVictor)

Rennes vs Leicester – Nayef Aguerd to score Anytime (17/2 Bet365)

Rennes vs Leicester – Warmed Omari to score Anytime (18/1 10Bet)

Rennes vs Leicester – Kasper Schmeichel to be Carded and Leicester To Qualify (20/1 Bet365)

About Author

My first bet, like most, was on the Grand National. However, I really got into betting when my dad used to go and get me and my brother the slips before home games on a Saturday. At the beginning we’d all pick one away team in a £3 three-fold but soon my brother and I were gathering all our shrapnel and creating the most ambitious accas you could imagine. Unbelievable, I won a 30/1 BTTS acca once. I remember when Birmingham pulled one back to win me the bet in the last seconds of the game, I must of been hooked from then on...

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