Europa League Play-Offs | Second Leg Prediction & Betting Tips


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 play-offs.

Randers vs Leicester | Thursday 24th February 2022, 17:45 | BT Sport

 Goals should be the play whenever Leicester are involved.

Domestically, the Foxes are yet to keep a clean sheet on the road this season, that’s; ten games, 23 conceded and an average of just under four goals per game. Home or away though, Leicester games have been good value for entertainment all season long. Since their Community Shield victory, they have played 34 games, with BTTS landing in 74% and overs copping in 77% of games.

They face Randers FC, a club that has only existed for 19 years and comes from a town of only 60,000 people but you cannot underestimate the Danish club. They equalised in the reverse and will always have a chance with the season Kasper Schmeichel is having.

I also think Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall is worth a punt at 11/2 to score with Betfair. He looked lively in the reverse, racking up at least three shots on target and bagged Leicester’s forth after he eventually reaped the rewards as of a late, Lampard-esque run into the box. 

Lazio vs Porto | Thursday 24th February 2022, 17:45 | BT Sport

With a lead to protect, the visitors will not show much attacking intent at the Stadio Olimpico. Therefore, this game will be tight, attritional and low margin.

In the Champions League this season, three quarters of Porto’s games saw two or fewer goals scored. Crucially, all three of the Dragons away trips saw under 2.5 goals click, and that includes trips to Anfield and the San Siro.

Despite occurring in UEFA’s elite competition, these results are relevant because the dynamic of those fixtures will be identical to the one during Porto’s trip to the Stadio Olimpico.

Therefore, I think taking under 2.5 goals at 19/20 with Vbet is the way to go here.

Olympiacos vs Atalanta | Thursday 24th February 2022, 17:45 | BT Sport

I also think that there will be a lack of goals in Attica, where Olympiacos host Alatalanta. It is a similar story to the one in Lazio, the visitors come into this game with a lead to protect, so I expect them to do just that.

Backing unders in a game involving another Italian side does make me a little uncomfortable, especially when it involves La Dea, a side that has topped Serie A’s goalscoring charts for the past three seasons!

The Italian top flight has been the place to go for goals this campaign with its games averaging 2.96 goals. However, it looks to be regressing with February’s averaging down to 2.43 and this is certainly the case for Atalanta who have drawn three of their last seven league games 0-0, with unders landing in five.

Under 2.5 goals is a touch under evens with SBK.

Rangers vs Dortmund | Thursday 24th February 2022, 20:00 | BT Sport

Borussia Dortmund have it all to do at the Ibrox, they will need at least two goals to take the game into extra time. With Bayern Munich six points clear, the Europa League is the only realistic opportunity for silverware they have left this season.

The Yellow and Blacks will come into this brimming with confidence though, following their 6-0 demolition of Borussia Monchengladbach. Marco Rose switched to a back three for that clash and Marco Rues shone, racking up a hattrick of assists and a brace of goals in literally the perfect performance- according to Whoscored anyway who gave him a 10.00.

He could have had an actual hattrick as well if it was not for Emre Can. The former Liverpool man grabbed the ball after Wolf won a spot kick, Can dispatched it with relative ease which leads me to the first angle from this fixture.

Can is 19/2 score anytime with SBK. He looks to be on penalty duty in the absence of Erling Haaland, though with the striker back in training it may be worth waiting till team news before backing this.

Given how the tie is poised, it should be a game of attack vs defence at Ibrox on Thursday as the hosts protect the lead they have. This should see Giovanni van Bronckhorst take a more conservative approach and deploy a low block, though I would not rule out him fighting fire with fire.

If the Dutch supremo does go defensive, the chances of them conceding a penalty increases in theory as more time is spent in the Rangers box. It is also worth noting that Mateu Lahoz, the referee, has given a penalty in 27% of the games he has taken charge of in this competition.

Given the dynamic of the tie, I also like the look of a Allan McGregor card. The Gers stopper was booked in the first leg for time wasting, this was his 32 cards of his career and third of the season, all of which have come for time wasting this campaign. On Bet365, you can combine a McGregor card, with Rangers to qualify to bulk up the odds from 10/1 to 13/1.  

Braga vs Sheriff Tiraspol | Thursday 24th February 2022, 20:00 | BT Sport

I also think it is worth taking Sheriff Tiraspol with a goal headstart on the asian handicap during their trip Braga, available at 59/50 with 10Bet. The visitors take a two goal cushion to Portugal and this line gives us the added security of that if they do lose by one we get our stake back.

Domestically, this bet has only lost in one of Braga’s last seven games, winning three times. As for Sheriff Tiraspol, the bet landed in half of their Champions League including their trip to the Bernabéu.

Best Bets

Randers vs Leicester – Both Teams To Score (4/5 Betfair)

Randers vs Leicester – Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall Anytime (11/2 Betfair)

Lazio vs Porto – Under 2.5 Goals (19/20 Vbet)

Olympiacos vs Atalanta – Under 2.5 Goals (13/15 SBK)

Rangers vs Dortmund – Emre Can Anytime (19/2 SBK)

Rangers vs Dortmund – Allan McGregor Card and Rangers to Qualify (13/1 Bet365)

Braga vs Sheriff Tiraspol – Sheriff Tiraspol +1 Asian Handicap (59/50 10Bet)

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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