Analyzing UEFA Europa League Groups J-L – Betting Odds and Predictions

By Jerry Summer
Published on September 18, 2018
UEFA Europa League 2018

It’s time for me to conclude the series of posts dedicated to the group stage of the UEFA Europa League. There are only three groups left – J, K, and L – but some of the most exciting teams in the competitions are part of them.

The likes of Chelsea and Sevilla could end up bringing the trophy home, but they have to go through the group phase first. At first glance, this should be an easy task, but you never know. I intend to explore the chances of each team in the final three groups.

Of course, I will also check what the top gambling sites have to offer and take full advantage of any valuable betting opportunity.

Here are my picks and predictions for groups J, K, and L from the Europa League.

Group J Betting Odds and Prediction

A quick look at the BetOnline website shows the following odds for the group winner.

Sevilla1.44
Standard Liege6.50
Krasnodar7.00
Akhisar Belediyespor10.00

I don’t think that there’s any doubt about the favorite in this group. Sevilla is head and shoulders above any of the other teams in terms of budget, squad, and experience in Europe. The Spanish side is one of the favorites in the competition, and the odds reflect that.

And still, the other teams are actually quite decent. Each of them has a shot at the knockout stage of Europa League, so there is everything to play for. Probably Akhisar Belediyespor is the underdog here, but even the Turkish side shouldn’t be underestimated.

Let’s take a closer look at what to expect from the clubs in group J of the Europa League.

Sevilla

Sevilla is the most successful club in the history of the UEFA Europa League. The Spanish side has won the tournament three times since the current format was introduced almost a decade ago.

This alone makes Sevilla one of the favorites in the competition, but the squad of the side is the other reason. It took a couple of hits, because the likes of Clement Lenglet, Steven Nzonzi, and Joaquin Correa were sold.

The cash was instantly invested to replace them, and Sevilla brought in players like Quincy Promes, Ibrahim Amadou, Aleix Vidal, and Joris Gnagnon. The overall impression is that the team is probably on the same level, but the new signings will need some time to find their feet.

This is evident in La Liga, as the start has been mixed for Sevilla. The team has four points after three games, which is enough only for 14th place. It’s still early in the season, though, and I expect Sevilla to improve.

The good news is that the competition in the domestic league is much stronger compared to the UEFA Europa League. None of the other teams in group J has the potential to trouble Sevilla. Sure, the Spaniards might not win every single match, but they won’t need to.

I think that the price of 1.44 for Sevilla to finish first is actually decent, and it might be the best bet for this group of the UEFA Europa League.

Standard Liege

Standard Liege had a strong campaign last season and finished second in the Belgian league. The side was hoping to play in the Champions League but was dumped by Ajax in the qualifiers.

Still, this could be a blessing in disguise, as Standard is simply not good enough for the UCL. The team would’ve been the punching bag of the big boys there, while the opportunity for a deep run in the Europa League is real.

The problem is that the group is quite tough. Sevilla is way better than the Belgians, while both Krasnodar and Akhisar Belediye will be hard to beat.

Still, Standard has the second-best squad in this group and an experienced manager like Michel Preud’homme. I expect the side to be involved in the fight for the knockout stages, despite some struggles in the domestic league where Standard has won only eleven points after six matches.

Krasnodar

The summer of Krasnodar has been quite interesting. The club lost its top scorer, Fedor Smolov, who joined Lokomotiv Moscow. The money was instantly invested in the Brazilian attacking forward Christian Cueva, as well as Uros Spajic, who was one of the best center-backs in the Belgian league last season.

Those two will certainly make the team better, but there is one big problem. Krasnodar is struggling to replace Smolov at the start of the season. The side has found the net only seven times in six games so far.

If this trend continues, Krasnodar will certainly fail to qualify for the knockout stage of the Europa League.

New boy Cueva will have to step up at some point, as he has played less than 100 minutes of soccer so far during the season. If he doesn’t improve, the season might be a disaster for Krasnodar.

Akhisar Belediyespor

I won’t pretend I know much about Akhisar Belediyespor. The club finished 9th in the Turkish League last season but managed to win the Cup, which was enough for a spot in the Europa League.

The squad consists of predominantly local players, and there are no big names in it. Akhisar is currently at the bottom of the Turkish league, which is a sign that the Cup triumph might have been a fluke.

Still, the team will be eager to impress in Europe as well. I don’t expect to see Akhisar in the knockout stage, but the side will probably win some points.

Predictions and Pick

In all honesty, the only plausible scenario here is for Sevilla to win this group. The second spot should be a close call between Standard Liege and Krasnodar. Still, both sides have their issues, so Akhisar Belediyespor might have a shot.

I had my doubts if I should back Sevilla at such odds, but I feel that even the price of 1.44 provides enough value to back the Spanish club.

PICKSevilla to Win Group J1.44

Group K Betting Odds and Prediction

Let’s move on to group K and see what the odds are for each team to win it.

Dynamo Kyiv2.20
Rennes2.75
Astana6.00
Jablonec9.00

If you look at the odds, it will be a close fight between Dynamo Kyiv and Rennes, while Astana and Jablonec are the underdogs in this group K of the Europa League.

While I can see where this is coming from, I’m not quite sure if Astana should be underestimated like that. The club from Kazakhstan was able to surprise plenty of teams in the UEFA competitions and is not an easy opponent.

As for Jablonec, I have to agree with the soccer betting sites. The Czech side does look like a team that won’t stand a chance against the rest of the group.

But still, let’s go a bit deeper before the final predictions.

Dynamo Kyiv

After finishing second in Ukraine last season, Dynamo Kyiv had the chance to qualify for the UEFA Champions League. Unfortunately for the team, Ajax was much better and dumped the Ukrainians.

Still, they do have a solid chance of a strong run in the Europa League instead. Dynamo Kyiv was in pot 1, and the draw was rather fair to the club. It could’ve been better, but it could’ve been much worse.

The good news is that the squad looks much better compared to last season, when Dynamo actually made it to the last 16 of Europa League.

The only notable departure was the one of left-back Vitorino Antunes, while the manager, Alyaksandr Khatskevich, certainly is delighted to welcome new signings such as the Ukrainian prodigy Vladyslav Supriaga, a couple of promising Brazilians, and Mikkel Duelund.

I would argue that Dynamo Kyiv should be much stronger this time around, but the start shows otherwise. The side has scored only five goals in six games in the Ukrainian league so far and is struggling to create enough chances.

On the other hand, it has conceded only three goals, so the defense looks strong. I believe that Dynamo will stay solid at the back but will improve up front.

The struggles in front of goal might be an issue in the group stage of the Europa League, but the strong defense should see Dynamo reach the knockouts, even if it’s from second place.

Rennes

It’s always hard to predict what teams like Rennes will do in the Europa League. They have the squad to do well in the competition, but the problem lies in their domestic leagues. The French Ligue 1 is strong, so the likes of Rennes can’t afford to rest players with the Europa League in mind, or they will be punished.

As a result, such teams either rotate a bit which weakens their starting eleven, or the side gets tired at some point. I expect something similar from Rennes, as the team simply can’t play at its best twice a week.

Still, the French club should have enough quality to be among the favorites in this group and qualify for the next stage. The price of 2.75 for Rennes to reach the first spot looks decent, but I think it’s rather fair.

Astana

I will probably raise a few eyebrows by saying that I actually like Astana’s chances to progress. On paper, the side is well behind both Dynamo Kyiv and Rennes. However, the team has gained a lot of experience in UEFA competitions in the last couple of years.

Astana managed to reach the last 16 of the Europa League last season, which was a solid achievement. The team will be hoping to perform on a similar level.

If you consider the dominance of the side in the soccer league of Kazakhstan, Astana will certainly focus on the Europa League and try to go through.

In my opinion, the price of 6.00 for Astana to win this group is a bit too generous. The team might be behind both Rennes and Dynamo Kyiv in terms of squad quality, but both clubs have their own issues. The champions of Kazakhstan will be desperate to shine and could afford to rest players in their domestic games for that purpose.

Jablonec

The 3rd place in the Czech league season was a great success for Jablonec. The team doesn’t have a budget that can compete with the likes of Plzen or Slavia Praha, but they managed to compete with hard work and a strong defensive performance.

I expect more of the same by Jablonec, and the side will be tough to beat in Europa League. I don’t think it has a chance to reach the knockout stages, but I’m positive that the Czech club will win at least a couple of points.

Predictions and Pick

I believe this group is much closer than the odds suggest. Dynamo Kyiv and Rennes are certainly the favorites based on the players they have, but both Astana and Jablonec won’t simply roll over and get beaten.

In fact, I feel that the team from Kazakhstan has a decent shot, so the price of 6.00 is way too high. This is my pick for this group. If you decide to follow it, I recommend you stick to a rather low wager, though.

PICKAstana to Win Group K6.00

Group L Betting Odds and Prediction

Ironically, the last group of the UEFA Europa League is where we find one of the strongest teams in the competition and a potential winner. But let’s start with the odds for a group winner first.

Chelsea1.14
PAOK10.00
BATE Borisov15.00
MOL Vidi FC21.00

I think the odds pretty much tell the whole story here. Chelsea is most likely the best team in the UEFA Europa League. It’s only natural for the Blues to be the overwhelming favorite in the group, while the rest will be fighting for the second spot in the knockouts.

To be fair, all of the other three sides are solid, especially PAOK and BATE. They have a chance of a deeper run in the tournament, but at least one will be eliminated, as I don’t see anyone finishing above Chelsea.

Here is a more detailed analysis of each team.

Chelsea

The biggest change in Chelsea for this season is the arrival of Maurizio Sarri. The former Napoli manager replaced Antonio Conte at the helm after some tension between Conte and the board of the club.

Outside of that, Chelsea kept its core of players, with one major exception. Thibaut Courtois was sold to Real Madrid and replaced with the young Spaniard Kepa.

So far, the season looks great. Chelsea is one of the few teams that have won all four opening games in the English Premier League. The side looks rock-solid at the back, while the offense is once again working well. The likes of Pedro, Hazard, Willian, and Morata are doing a proper job, scoring goals in pretty much every game.

I don’t see how any of the other teams in this group of Europa League will challenge Chelsea. The English side is too strong and should have no issues at this stage of the competition.

PAOK

PAOK came close to winning the Greek league last season but had to settle for second at the end. This was a bit disappointing, but the side managed to keep all of its core players this year and even added a couple of signings.

As a result, PAOK should be stronger and has a real chance of attacking the domestic league and performing well in Europe, too. Unfortunately for the club, the draw was pretty bad.

Facing the best team in Europa League, as well as other solid opponents like BATE Borisov and MOL Vidi, is hardly ideal. However, PAOK should be the favorite for the second place in the group.

BATE Borisov

Not many knew BATE Borisov until a couple of years ago, but the club has managed to build quite the reputation recently. BATE is once again on the brink of winning the league in Belarus and is prepared to mount another European challenge.

We’ve seen the team perform well in both the Champions League and Europa League. A remarkable accomplishment, if you consider the fact that BATE relies mostly on local players and doesn’t have many foreign stars.

The team is in a tough spot this year, but I wouldn’t rule it out. I think that BATE has the experience to fight PAOK for the second place in the group.

MOL Vidi

No one expected much from MOL Vidi, but the side had a solid run in the Champions League qualifiers. It managed to surprise Ludogorets Razgrad and Malmo, as well as put AEK to a firm test. The Hungarians were knocked out at the end but will continue their adventure in the Europa League.

I don’t know much about their players, but the performance so far makes me think that MOL Vidi shouldn’t be underestimated. The side hardly has a chance of reaching the next stage, but it should be able to win some points.

Predictions and Pick

I can’t imagine a scenario where Chelsea doesn’t finish in the first place, but the price of 1.14 is about right, so I won’t touch it.

As for the second spot, it’s between PAOK and BATE. I have the feeling that the champions of Belarus will do the job, but it’s too close of a call to recommend a bet here.

Final Words

I’m now done with the UEFA Europa League outrights, but you can expect more predictions and free picks in the future.

Once the tournament is underway, I will cover the most exciting games from the group stage. I’ll then continue sharing my thoughts once we reach the knockout phase of the tournament. Aren’t you all lucky?

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