Sparta Prague vs Lyon | Thursday 21st October 2021, 20:00 | BT Sport
At a shade under even money, I think backing the hosts to get a result here is the play. You can get them with a half of a goal head start on the asian handicap at 24/25 with Betway which means the bet is a winner if Sparta Prague avoid defeat.
Thus far, their Europa League campaign has been a success this campaign having taken four points from their opening two games and been good value to do so. It is clear to see why Les Gones are priced as visitors, despite playing away, as they have only lost twice all season and scored five times without reply in the UEL. However, the hosts have not given much away on the European stage and I fancy them to frustrate Lyon here.
Real Betis vs Bayer Leverkusen | Thursday 21st October 2021, 17:45 | BT Sport
If it is not broken, do not fix it. When Bayer Leverkusen went to Celtic Park three weeks ago I plumped their wunderkind to be amongst the goals which he was. Bet365 have Florian Wirtz to repeat the trick at 7/2 for his side's trip to Seville, a price I can certainly get behind again.
The young midfielder has been dubbed a generational talent and since announcing himself to the world by whipping one past Manuel Neuer on his debut he has gone from strength to strength. This campaign though, he has been a cut above. With five goals and four assists he has directly contributed to 12 goals in nine appearances, staggeringly, that is a goals and assists per 90 average of 1.61 in all competitions!
It is worth pointing out that he’s goal against Celtic was his last, however, since then he has assisted three in three so I expect him to be amongst the goals in some capacity against a side that’s two UEL games have featured eleven goals.
Napoli vs Legia Warsaw | Thursday 21st October 2021, 20:00 | BT Sport
Despite sitting top of the tree domestically, the hosts prop up proceedings in the Europa Leagues Group C. They will be hoping to secure their first win in this competition of the season here but the signs from the opening two games are not good having conceded five, three of which coming when they hosted Spartak Moscow in their most recent fixture.
In stark contrast, Legia Warsaw top the table having secured back-to-back 1-0 wins over Leicester and Spartak Moscow. Whilst the underlying indicates they have been a tad fortuitous to take maximum points- they are yet to concede but have shipped an xGA of 4.02- you cannot fault their guile, grit and determination to grind out results.
Therefore, I think the visitors with a 2.25 goal head start on the asian handicap is worth a play here.
West Ham vs Genk | Thursday 21st October 2021, 20:00 | BT Sport
It is almost another case of rinse and repeat here for me after we had some success backing West Ham to win to nil in their last European encounter. The Hammers cruised to a 2-0 victory over Rapid Wien that evening and with the visitors barely laying a glove on them they were good value to do so. David Moyes’ men only conceded an xGA of 0.41 from four shots only, one called goalkeeper Areola into action.
Genk lost 3-0 to Dinamo Zagreb in their last game, a scoreline that does not tell the whole story as the Belgian side generated an xG of 1.52 and played the last 25 minutes with ten men. Therefore, whilst I do expect the hosts to get the job done here, I have opted with them to win and the game to feature under 3.5 goals. This way it keeps the 2-1 home result onside as I think Genk are more than capable of bloodying WHU noses.
Moyes will be looking to secure qualification to the knockout stages as quickly as he can with a third win in as many games which is why we should expect to see him name another strong XI featuring Premier League stalwarts Michial Antonio and Declan Rice. Although the former has directly contributed to ten goals this campaign, it is the latter who I fancy to work the keeper.
Rice is 2/1 with Betfair and Paddy Power to register a shot on target, something he has managed in a quarter of his appearances this season for club and country. Half of his shots on target have come in the UEL though as he has scored twice in two appearances. If you do fancy something with a little more juice you can back him to find the net once more at 34/5 with SBK.
Rangers vs Brondby | Thursday 21st October 2021, 20:00 | BT Sport
Rangers will be desperate to get points on the board here and get their UEL campaign up and running having lost their opening two games in Group A. Steven Gerrard’s Gers have not exactly been free scoring as of late though, with six of their last seven games seeing two or fewer goals, however, I think that they have enough to overcome this Brondby side.
Drengene fra Vestegnen aren't doing much better, they currently sit a place above Rangers with one point from a possible six. They are yet to find the net having generated 0.58 xG across the two games which is why I think combining a Rangers win and the game to feature under 3.5 goals is the play here.
Another angle I think is worth a small play is an Alfredo Morelos goal and card, the El Bufalo special. The columbian talisman is well acquainted with most referee’s and frequently hits the net so at 5/1 to do both with 365 it seems like a shrewd play, especially considering the importance of a win for his side.
In a career spanning over 200 games, 97 goals is not a bad return and a total of 56 cards is about as cynical as it gets. Despite the fact that none of them have overlapped this season, I think it is worth a punt here.
Sturm Graz vs Real Sociedad | Thursday 21st October 2021, 20:00 | BT Sport
My final selection for Gameweek 3 of the Europa League comes via Austria where SK Sturm Graz welcome Real Sociedad.
Die Schwoazn had a bit of a torrid time in their last game, losing 4-1 as they hosted PSV although this may have been a bit harsh given that the Dutch side only generated an xG 0.95 greater then Sturm Graz. Nevertheless they host a side that deserve to be top of the pile and at odds against I think BTTS no is worth a play here.
Sparta Prague +0.5 AH (24/25 Betway 24/25)
Wirtz Anytime Goalscorer (7/2 Bet365)
Legia Warsaw +2.25 AH (4/5 Novibet)
West Ham/Under 3.5 (11/8 Bet365)
Declan Rice Shot on Target (2/1 Betfair)
Rangers Win/Under 3.5 Goals (23/20 Bet365)
Alfredo Morelos Goal & Card (5/1 Bet365)
Sturm Graz vs Real Sociedad, BTTS No (6/5 BetVictor)