Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta gestures during the English Premier League soccer match between Fulham and Chelsea, Sunday, March 3, 2019. (Tim Ireland)
Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta gestures during the English Premier League soccer match between Fulham and Chelsea, Sunday, March 3, 2019. (Tim Ireland)|Associated Press
Soccer

Soccer: Miller’s Picks for the First leg of the UEFA Europa League

There is some good value to be found

Sean Miller

Sean Miller

THURSDAY PICKS

After the absolute madness of the Wednesday UEFA Champions League matches, the UEFA Europa League round of 16 first leg matches take to the pitches across the continent Thursday.

Most of the tournament favorites will play the first leg at home, and with eight games, there is some good value to be found. With the rules of the tournament, the home leg is always important, since away goals count for more. The prime example of this is Manchester United from Wednesday, which scored in the 94th minute to beat PSG 3-1 in Paris. Even though they lost at home 2-0, the Red Devils went through to the quarterfinals 3-3 on aggregate due to more away goals.

For the heavyweight teams left in the tournament, like the two Premier League teams Arsenal and Chelsea, Serie A side Napoli, and La Liga sides Sevilla and Valencia, a big win in the first leg may allow them to rest some players in the return leg next Thursday. Most of the above teams are battling for placement in their domestic leagues, and will want to leave no doubt about advancement into the quarterfinals after the first leg.

Jut make sure you check he times of the games; there are two separate match times Thursday: 12:55 p.m. EST and 3 p.m. EST.

(Home teams always listed first)

Sevilla (-212) vs. Salvia Praha (+600), draw (+340), 12:55 p.m.

Chelsea (-350) vs. Dynamo Kiev ((+1100), draw (+425), 3 p.m.

Napoli (-182) vs. FC Salzburg (+500), draw (+310), 3 p.m.

Valencia (-225) vs. Krasnodar (+700), draw (+320), 3 p.m.

The four homes teams above all have European pedigrees. Sevilla has won this tournament five times since 2006, Chelsea won the Champions League (2012) and Europa League (2013) in back to back seasons, while Sevilla and Valencia are currently battling to get int the top four of La Liga.

All four teams are at minimum -182 favorites on the money line, all the way up to -350. They are expected to win their matches, especially at home.

Each will think it can go on and win this tournament, and get automatic entry into the 2019-2020 UEFA Champions League group stage draw.

The picks: four team money line parlay, Sevilla, Chelsea, Napoli, and Valencia (+323)

Sevilla -1 (+125)

Chelsea -1 (-120)

Valencia -1 (+125)

Napoli -1 Asian Handicap (-111)

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