Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thursday Afternoon Europa League Picks

I have been subpar with my soccer picks this week, to say the least. Yesterday, for example, I didn't expect Chelsea or Bayern to really bring it. They combined to win 6-1. Europe League today, which means shittier teams (and more of them), so I'm going to find some teams we've heard of and pick some winners (and probably, to be honest, some losers).

Inter Milan @ FK Karabakh
Inter have already clinched first place in GroupF . FKK (FKQ?) are through if they win and going home if they lose. I'm expecting a rowdy crowd of Azerbaijanis, but if we learned anything yesterday it's that you should pick the better team even if they don't need the points.
Pick: Inter pick'em (+115)

Tottenham @ Besiktas
This is the match that will decide first place in Group C. Unless Besiktas win, Spurs will finish in the top spot. Through 5 matches, Spurs have scored 9 and conceded 3; Besiktas have scored 10 and conceded 5. Neither team has lost a match, but there have been quite a few draws (including the last time they played). I was leaning Draw +230 here, but ultimately I saw that the stadium holds more than 76,000 screaming Turkish people. No shot Spurs have the heart to win there.
Pick: Besiktas to win (+115)

HJK @ Club Brugge
We won a LOT of money betting on HJK in the Finnish league. Then they got into international play and they have not fared nearly as well. Through 5 matches, they have managed two wins and three losses for a goal differential of -5. Club Brugge (everyone's favorite Belgian-themed nightclub) have scored 8 and only conceded 1. This could get ugly for the boys in blue, although they could also advance if they manage to win. Don't count on it.
Pick: Club Brugge -1.5 (-120)

FC Zurich @ Borussia Monchengladbach
Neither of these teams is all that prestigious on an international level, but I'll be damned if I don't jump at the chance to preview the Monchengladbach game every time I can. They are currently leading Group A, with 9 points and a +7 GD. They are followed by Villareal with 8 points/+6, Zurich with 7 points/-1, and FC Apollon Limassol with 3 points/-12. If the soccer gods are real, Zurich don't deserve a point from this match because they don't deserve to even have a shot at advancing.
Pick: Monchengladbach to win (-260)

Dinamo Minsk @ Fiorentina
Another "one team clinched and is a lot better than the team that has no hope" situation.
Pick: Fiorentina -1.5 (-105)

Guingamp @ PAOK
The battle for second place behind Fiorentina. Both of these teams have 7 points through 5 matches, but Guingamp have a 0 goal differential and PAOK have a +4. Plus they're at home (in Greece, if you were curious).
Pick: PAOK to win (-130)

Slovan Bratislava @ Napoli
Fun fact about me: my dad's ancestors hail from a small town outside of Bratislava in Slovakia. Fun fact about the Slovan Bratislava soccer team: they stink. Through 5, they've scored 1 goal and conceded 17. Seventeen! Napoli are currently holding onto first place in Group I, but Bratislava's incompetence has allowed the top three teams in the group to have 10-10-9 points respectively. Napoli are the clear favorite, at least based on prestige (see the next game for the other two), and they might win this game by five. Although, to clarify, if Bovada had a -1.5 line, I would prefer that.
Pick: Napoli -2.5 (-110)

Krasnodar @ Everton
Everton have secured first in Group H. Krasnodar have secured a plane ride home. Yesterday, I stayed away from the team in the top position. Today, I am making a commitment to be a bettor that bets on the better team.
Pick: Everton to win (-140)

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