Europa League: Wolf-man to pounce against beleaguered Belgians


THE Europa League continues on Thursday night. Tom Love (@TomLove_18) runs the rule over the best betting options in games not involving British interest.

Basel v Getafe | Thursday 7th November 2019, 17:55 | BT Sport

We’re getting to the stage of this competition where teams are starting to know what is required for them to get out of the group – that can mean results begin to be mutually beneficial for teams. One match that could fall into that category is the meeting of Basel and Getafe at St Jakob Park in Switzerland.

These two currently reside in the qualification places in Group C with the Swiss side top on seven points and the Madrid-based visitors a point below – Krasnodar (3 points) and Trabzonspor (0 points) occupy the bottom two berths.

With this being the middle set of fixtures, both Basel and Getafe will have these two teams left to play and it could therefore be in the best interests of both to play out a stalemate (27/11 VBet) to keep it in their hands.

Krasnodar host to Trabzonspor and are well fancied to win against the rock-bottom outfit; if they did so, the Russians would be on six points but a draw in Basel would see the table standings stay the same. It might not necessarily play out to be the case but with the draw priced up as the biggest of the three, it has to be a play given the group dynamics.

Even if both sides go for the win, they’re well matched in quality. Well, the bookies can’t split them with the duo both priced up at shorter than 2/1. The reverse leg at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez ended in a 1-0 win to Basel in a game that saw no fewer than 12 cards!

If you’d have followed this column in the last few months, you’ll be familiar with Getafe games being ill-tempered. Astute head coach Jose Bordalas employs one of the most aggressive games around and there’s no reason to change that given their successes in the past couple of years.

It was actually Basel who picked up the majority of cards a fortnight ago – eight yellow and a red – but Getafe once again picked up at least 30 Booking Points and given they’re away here it cannot go unbacked at even-money (SkyBet).

Geta have picked up nine yellows and one red in their Europa League campaign so far, an average of over 30 Booking Points per-game. What’s more, their 12 La Liga fixtures have seen them accrue 43 yellows and one red, an average of 38 Booking Points and the dirtiest team in the league, again.

Last season Getafe comfortably averaged over 30 Booking Points and there’s been no change. If you’re new to Booking Points, 10 are awarded for a yellow card and 25 for a red, whilst 35 are dished out for two yellows that lead to a sending off.

Cluj v Rennes | Thursday 7th November 2019, 17:55 | BT Sport

Romanian side Cluj have put up a good fist of things in their tricky looking group along with Celtic, Lazio and Rennes. The Feroviarii are presently second, three points ahead of the Serie A side and a win here would be monumental in their quest to do the unimaginable.

Cluj won the reverse fixture in Brittany 1-0 but were largely helped by the hosts having to play half the game with nine men. Still, they won't be complaining and this is a great chance for them to extend their lead.

Bookies have priced them up the Romanians as 11/8 favourites here, which could surprise a few. It’s getting to the stage of must-win for Rennes though who currently only have the single point to their name.

Julien Stephan has done a magnificent job for the visitors but with star man Ismaila Sarr leaving late in the summer transfer window it has left them a bit light on quality in the final third.

SRFC had a mammoth season last year, they reached the Last 16 of this competition, had obvious Ligue 1 commitments, managed to get to the Coupe de la Ligue quarter-finals, as well as winning the Coupe de France. They did supremely will to juggle all those competitions and still finish a respectable 10th with a relatively threadbare squad.

It does seem to have caught up with Rennes this season though. Les Rouge et Noir were winless in 10 before the 3-2 victory over Toulouse this weekend – that being said they have scored in 10 of their games this season, including matches against Celtic and Lazio. They do still have attacking threat with M’Baye Niang, Benjamin Borigeaud and Adrien Hunou.

Rennes have to go for it here and I was surprised to see Both Teams To Score priced up as big as 11/10 (William Hill). Cluj did concede against both Celtic and Lazio and I’m not going to give them loads of credit for a clean sheet against nine men.

The Romanians aren’t used to playing sides of Rennes’ standard in their native league so it will be a step up, however the Najpoca side are strong on home soil, scoring in all but one of their games here this season.

Wolfsburg v Gent | Thursday 7th November 2019, 20:00 | BT Sport

First of all, Wout Weghorst is a great name isn’t it?

The Dutchman has been excellent as the focal point for Die Wolfe since coming in from AZ Alkmaar last year. He’s a player who I expected to make a move to the Bundesliga, looks like he’s made for that league and reminded me very much of Bas Dost when he moved here from Herenveen.

Like Dost, Weghorst is a tall specimen standing at 6ft6, he’s also proving as predatory in the box as Dost, both with his head and his feet.

The big number nine is averaging a goal in every two games for the Lower Saxony outfit since his arrival. He’s already notched in this competition with a goal against Gent in the reverse fixture and at 5/4 (Betfair) I think he’s a good thing to repeat the trick here.

Weghorst  has a knack of being in the right place at the right time and that tap-in against KAA from inside the six-yard box showed what he’s all about.

With the likes of Maxi Arnold, Xaver Schlager, Josip Brekalo and Jerome Rousillion getting forward and pumping balls into him, he’s got a decent supply line. Visitors Gent have conceded in every game in the Europa League so far and have shipped three at Anderlecht and four at Club Brugge in the last few weeks, and look far from watertight at the back.

I expect the rangy Weghorst to punish Gent here.

Best Bets

Basel v Getafe – Draw (27/11 VBet)

Basel v Getafe – Getafe to receive 30+ Booking Points (1/1 SkyBet)

Cluj v Rennes – Both Teams To Score (11/10 William Hill)

Wolfsburg v Gent – Wout Weghorst to score at anytime (5/4 Betfair)

About Author

I was first interested in the betting industry by doing the odd coupon at 18 - when I’d see a team at odds I didn’t expect it sparked my curiosity as to why that was. I’d go and research everything around that club: form, team news, manager quotes, and try give my own price in an aim to out-do the bookies. I personally enjoy punting on the Football League and European competitions. I like to diversify what markets I bet on so sometimes it’s outrights, goals, player cards etc. The Football League angle comes from being an avid Bradford City fan which has its ups (reaching a League Cup final and beating Chelsea in the FA Cup) and its downs (The entirety of 2018). Hobbies of mine include playing football, cross country running, travelling and playing Football Manager.

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