The UEFA Europa League has reached Matchday 5 and so we turn our attention to finding the best Europa League Picks around. Some key issues will be decided in the 16 fixtures this week. However, you will need the brains of a hot-shot lawyer to understand what happens next.
The eight group winners qualify for the last 16, the runners-up play for a spot against the Champions League third-placed teams and the third-placed teams drop into the UEFA Europa Conference League. Based on that scenario, here are three UEFA Europa League picks.
Europa League Picks – Matchday 5
SK Rapid Wien vs West Ham
West Ham was going well in the English Premier League (EPL) before losing to Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend.
However, the East London outfit can get their season track by beating SK Rapid Wien away from home in Europe on Thursday. West Ham has dropped to fourth place in the EPL table which is still a qualifying position for the Champions League. But, winning the Europa League would provide an alternative route and that is well within the Hammers’ compass.
The Group H dynamic is that West Ham is four points clear in the table while SK Rapid Wien is a point adrift at the bottom of the section. The Austrian outfit can still finish second, third, or fourth but losing to West Ham at home will damage their chances of avoiding the wooden spoon.
But, it’s worth remembering that West Ham won the reverse fixture 2-0 in September and are the pick to win in Vienna this week.
Europa League Pick – West Ham to beat SK Rapid Wien at -165 with PointsBet.
Rangers vs Sparta Prague
Rangers are the most successful team in world football based on titles in their domestic league. The Glasgow outfit has been the champions of Scotland 55 times, though it’s basically a two-horse race between Rangers and Celtic. There could be a reaction to the departure of manager Steven Gerrard, to Aston Villa. That can be positive with a home victory over Sparta Prague at Ibrox Stadium in the Europa League on Thursday evening.
Lyon has already won the Group after four wins from four matches so second-place is up for grabs. Rangers and Sparta are both on four points but Rangers are third because of an inferior goal difference. Brondby look booked for fourth place and no further involvement in Europe.
Sparta won the reverse match 1-0 in September but Rangers can reverse the form with a crucial win.
Europa League Pick – Rangers to beat Sparta Prague at -115 with PointsBet.
Spartak Moscow vs Napoli
The only Wednesday night fixture can see Napoli win on the road against Spartak Moscow. This fixture brings together first and fourth but Napoli has got just three more points than their opponents at the top of the table.
Mathematically, all four teams can finish in any of the four places. However, I think Napoli will take control of the group with a win in Moscow this week.
Europa League Pick – Napoli to beat Spartak Moscow at -180 with PointsBet.