With the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Europa League well under way, punters are starting to look towards the competition proper and the prospects of the leading sides in the 2018-19 tournament. The odds for the Europa League are starting to be framed by 2018’s new betting sites and, while at this stage there are no clear-cut runaway favourites emerging, the football betting markets will start to take shape more clearly once the new domestic seasons get under way, and the group stage draw is made on 31 August after the teams who are knocked out of the Champions’ League enter the fray.
At this early stage, 2013 Europa League winners Chelsea are the favourites with most online bookmakers to clinch the title at the Baku Olympic Stadium in Azerbaijan in May 2019. Under new manager Maurizio Sarri, and with major new signing Jorginho set to make an impact, you can currently get a best price of 13-2 with Blacktype for the Blues to take the title, although the majority of sports books have it at 7-1. Many observers think that Chelsea’s performances in both the Premier League and in Europe will depend on how well Sarri is able to manage the notoriously large egos in the dressing room at Stamford Bridge — that remains to be seen.
Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, given its notoriously poor record in Europe, Arsenal is currently second favourites for the Europa League. Starting the season with a new manager for the first time in 22 years, many are hoping that a new-look Arsenal will emerge under Spaniard Unai Emery, and that past European failures can finally be put behind them. You can get 9-1 with most football betting sites on Arsenal wining the Europa League, although they are as short as 7-1 with 188Bet and 6-1 with BetVictor.
Sevilla, which is the most successful club in Europa League history with five titles to date (2006, 2007, 2014, 2015, 2016), is currently the third favourite at most sports betting sites. Although they haven’t been Spanish champions since 1946, the Andalusian side has made the Europa League its own, and has never been beaten when it has reached the final. The current best price you can get on Sevilla is 20-1 with Unibet and 888 Sport, although they are as short as 14-1 with William Hill.
Somewhat intriguingly, you can get better odds at this early stage of the season on AC Milan winning the Europa League than you can on them winning Serie A. They are currently a best price of 20-1 to be Italian champions for the 19th time with Boyle Sports and Betway, but only 15-1 to take out the Europa League at Unibet and 888 Sport. No doubt this is because in Europe, Milan won’t have to contend with Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo!
Italian football fans might also consider having a punt on Lazio this season in Europe. After finishing fifth in Serie A last season, and having a reasonably successful summer transfer window, with new signings including Joaquin Correa from Sevilla and Francesco Acerbi from Sassuolo, there are hopes that Le Aquile can improve on their one and only appearance in the Europa League final when they lost 0-3 to Inter in an all-Italian affair. The current best price on Lazio is 20-1 with bet365, William Hill and BetVictor, although some online betting sites have them as low as 16-1.
Beyond these clubs, there is also some early interest being shown in the German sides Beyer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig at 22-1, or Marseille and Real Betis at 25-1. At this stage, however, the markets are still fairly fluid and will no doubt begin to firm up once the draw is made later this month.