Europa League

Villareal’s Gerard Moreno holds the trophy as he celebrates with his teammates after winning the Europa League final soccer match between Manchester United and Villarreal in Gdansk, Poland, Wednesday, May 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, Pool)

  • There are 15 fixtures on Thursday at 12:45 pm and 3:00 pm ET after the opening  game on Wednesday
  • Napoli heads to Leicester in an early clash of the big guns while West Ham aims to improve poor European record
  • See all the odds, best bets and predictions for Europa League Group Stage – Matchday 1 on September 16

The Europa League swings fully into action with a host of top sides targeting the final in Seville next May following Villareal’s triumph last season.

Among the teams favored to win the competition are Napoli, Leicester City, Real Sociedad, West Ham United and Lazio.

Europa League Matchday 1 Odds

Matchup Home Draw Away
Lokomotiv Moscow vs Marseille +225 +290 +110
Galatasaray vs Lazio +240 +280 +105
Real Betis vs Celtic -145 +320 +380
Rapid Vienna vs Genk +145 +265 +175
Dinamo Zagreb vs West Ham Utd. +215 +265 +120
B. Leverkusen vs Ferencvaros -425 +600 +1100
Red Star Belgrade vs Braga +130 +245 +215
Midtjylland vs Ludogorets +600 +350 -220
Rangers vs Lyon +160 +255 +165
Leicester City vs Napoli +135 +270 +195
Brondby vs Sparta Prague +170 +255 +160
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Fenerbahce -145 +320 +370
PSV Eindhoven vs Real Sociedad +140 +275 +180
Monaco vs Sturm Graz -245 +400 +6000
Olympiakos vs Antwerp -145 +310 +380

Odds as of September 15 at DraftKings

Leicester City vs Napoli Prediction

Napoli has won all three of its Serie A games so far and could spring a surprise win at Leicester City in Group C.

Leicester has made an indifferent start to the new campaign with two wins and two defeats in the EPL.

The Italian side is heading into the fixture off the back of an impressive 2-1 home win against mighty Juventus last weekend.

Meanwhile, Leicester was defeated 1-0 by English champions Manchester City – and has already taken a 4-1 hammering at West Ham United this season.

The oddsmakers at DraftKings fancy Napoli at +195 for a win and that is an attractive enough offer to make it worth going against the favorite here.

Moreover, Leicester is slated for a home win at +135 with the draw at +270. Kick-off is at 3:00 pm ET on Thursday.

Leicester is facing Italian opposition for the first time in competition.

Both these teams finished fifth last season. They each exited the Europa League at the last 32 stage.

Now, furthermore, Leicester is facing Italian opposition for the first time in competition.

Certainly, Napoli has shown better form this season so far under coach Luciano Spalletti.

It sits third in Serie A with a 2-0 defeat of Venezia and a 2-1 win at Genoa preceding the success against Juventus.

Significantly, it is undefeated in its last seven fixtures on the road in this competition.

However, Leicester won all three of its home group stage fixtures in 2020-21.

Leicester’s two wins in the EPL, meanwhile, came by 1-0 against Wolves on the opening day and 2-1 at struggling Norwich.

To sum up, Napoli has never won in England. But Spalletti has ignited the team and in the search for value, the away win here looks worth a go.

Pick: Napoli +195

Dinamo Zagreb vs West Ham Utd Prediction

West Ham United starts its first full European campaign since 2006-07 with a demanding trip to Dinamo Zagreb at the start of Group H.

Last time in full European competition, West Ham performed dismally – losing at home and away against Palermo in the UEFA Cup First Round.

Meanwhile, there were subsequently, two failed attempts to negotiate the qualifying rounds of the Europa League in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Therefore, after an impressive sixth-place finish in the EPL last season, coach David Moyes’ Hammers’ side is determined to make a better impression this time around.

However, Dinamo is impressive form and sits on top of the Croatian league after five wins, one draw and only one defeat.

West Ham striker Michail Antonio has hit four EPL goals already this season.

West Ham, meanwhile, is unbeaten in the EPL and is in eighth place after two wins and two draws.

So the draw looks attractive here at +265 in these teams’ first meeting. Meanwhile, DraftKings prices West Ham as the favorite for a win at +120 with Zagreb at +215. The kick-off is at 12:45 pm ET.

The Croatian side will be buoyed by the fact it overcame West Ham’s fellow Londoners Tottenham Hotspur at the last 16 stage last season – winning 3-0 at home after a 2-0 defeat in England.

However, the key figure could be West Ham striker Michail Antonio who has hit four EPL goals already this season.

Both these teams are confident at present. Therefore, in conclusion, a draw looks most likely.

Pick: Draw +265

Lokomotiv Moscow vs Marseille Prediction

Marseille is in good form in France’s Ligue 1 and looks capable of winning at Lokomotiv Moscow in Group E.

Lokomotiv is unbeaten after seven games and is in third place in Russia – but has drawn three of its last four games.

Meanwhile, Marseille is third in France after winning three times and drawing once.

At DraftKings, Marseille is favored to win in Moscow at +110. Lokomotiv is priced at +225 with the draw also enticing at +290.

This is the first time these teams have met.

Furthermore, Marseille was the beaten finalist in 2017-18 when it lost 3-0 against Atletico Madrid.

Marseille’s leading goal-getter is Dimitri Payet who has three league goals.

It has been in good goalscoring form with 10 goals so far in Ligue 1.

However, the player to watch may be Lokomotiv’s Fedor Smolov who has hit four goals in four home league games so far.

Marseille’s leading goal-getter, meanwhile, is Dimitri Payet who has three league goals.

Therefore, with Marseille in a buoyant mood, there is a good chance of an away win here.

Pick: Marseille +110

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