Manchester United’s manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, left, reacts during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates stadium in London, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021. (Andy Rain/Pool via AP)
- The Europa League Round of 32 gets underway on Thursday, February 18th
- AC Milan, Manchester United and Arsenal are all in action
- Get the latest odds, betting previews and tips below
European football is back this week. The Europa League’s Round of 32 starts on Thursday, February 18th, and there are some captivating ties for bettors to get into. Serie A title contenders AC Milan face Serbian giants Red Star Belgrade. Leicester and Manchester United will also face tricky away ties to Slavia Prague and Real Sociedad respectively.
Other headline matchups include Braga versus Roma, Benfica matching up with Arsenal and Red Bull Salzburg taking on Villarreal. Below we cover our three top picks from the Europa League Round of 32 leg one fixtures.
Europa League Round of 32 Odds
|Red Star Belgrade vs AC Milan||+320||+260||-115|
|Dynamo Kyiv vs Club Brugge||+140||+230||+190|
|Krasnodar vs Dinamo Zagreb||+125||+220||+240|
|Slavia Prague vs Leicester||+260||+240||+110|
|Young Boys vs Leverkusen||+220||+270||+110|
|Real Sociedad vs Manchester United||+220||+250||+115|
|Olympiakos vs PSV||+110||+250||+240|
|Braga vs Roma||+270||+240||+105|
|Wolfsberger AC vs Tottenham||+650||+370||-250|
|Lille vs Ajax||+165||+230||+160|
|Benfica vs Arsenal||+200||+250||+130|
|Molde vs Hoffenheim||+500||+370||-210|
|Granada vs Napoli||+230||+240||+120|
|Antwerp vs Rangers||+290||+260||-110|
|Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Shakhtar||+370||+260||-125|
|Red Bull Salzburg vs Villarreal||+130||+250||+200|
Odds taken on Feb 17 from FanDuel.
Real Sociedad vs Manchester United Prediction
A disappointing Champions League campaign presents a Europa League opportunity for Manchester United. They face a Real Sociedad which has faded after a strong start and progressed to the knockout rounds despite drawing their last three group matches. Travel restrictions mean this match has been moved to Turin, Italy depriving Sociedad of what could have been a useful home advantage.
Manchester United hit a good run of form after their shock Champions League elimination. That purple patch has come to an end, however, with just two wins from their last five matches. The draw to West Brom at the weekend effectively ended their title challenge. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side might be favored here, but this is not a straightforward tie.
📋 On today’s agenda:
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 17, 2021
Sociedad had a long winless run in November and December. While they are not keeping pace with Atletico atop La Liga, they have rediscovered some form of late. It’s been three wins and one defeat in their last six matches. Clean sheets have been hard to come by (two in their last nine matches), but the nominal hosts are a good bet to avoid defeat in the Europa League on Thursday.
Pick: Sociedad to win or draw and both teams to score (+148)
Braga vs Roma Prediction
Despite the lack of crowds, it’s impossible to ignore the home and road splits for Braga and Roma. The hosts have won 13 of their last 16 at home. Roma have lost five of seven away as the away team, and they lost away to CSKA Sofia to close out the Europa League group stage. Braga hasn’t lost in seven matches in all competitions, but still, sit out at +270 to win this one.
Both teams are weakened. Braga lost key striker Paulinho at the end of the transfer window, and they are battling a raft of injuries. Roma is without Pedro and Chris Smalling, though Edin Dzeko could be in line for a return to the first team. There’s no question Roma have the better team on paper, and they got an impressive 3-0 win over Udinese in their last league match, but their woeful away form is a factor that should not be overlooked for this matchup.
🏃 𝑻𝒊𝒎𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒓𝒖𝒏 💥
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) February 15, 2021
It comes down to playing it safe with the double chance or backing Braga to win straight up at +270. The double chance on Braga to avoid defeat is a good option to chuck into a parlay at -145, but if we’re looking for the best value single, a straight-up home win is the pick.
Pick: Braga Moneyline (+270)
Lille vs Ajax Prediction
Lille claimed second place in a challenging Europa League Group H. Their reward was one of the toughest opponents of the Europa League Round of 32. The Ligue 1 leaders meet the Eredivisie leaders on Thursday in what is the tie of the round. Lille had won seven in a row before a draw at the weekend, while Ajax are unbeaten since before Christmas and has won their last eight matches.
— AFC Ajax (@AFCAjax) February 17, 2021
The administrative error which led to Sebastien Haller’s exclusion from Ajax’s squad leaves them weaker up top. Dusan Tadic could deputize in a central position. Andre Onana is serving a suspension, too. Lille’s Benjamin Andre and Xeka are suspended after accumulating yellow cards in the group stage. Yusuf Yazici, the competition’s joint-leading scorer, should get the nod to partner Jonathan David upfront.
Ajax won both matches to nil when these two teams met in 2019. With one home defeat all season, it’s a brave call to bet the visitors to win this one. Lille’s defensive record is good, but it’s very rare Ajax fail to score. A score draw seems a good way to go here.
Pick: Both teams to score (-150)
Sam Cox is a freelance writer and sports junkie, who has spent the past several years immersed in the online gaming industry. He has worked with 888sport, Oddschecker, and Colossus Bets to name a few. Based in the UK, Sam also runs Franchise Sports with his brother.