Get the latest Europa League betting tips from the Best Free Bet Scout for Friday’s group stage draw, at 12:00pm BST.
Europa League group stage draw
Date: Friday 31 August 2018
Draw start time: 12:00pm (BST)
Watch live stream or TV: BT Sport (TV and online app) and UEFA.com
Arsenal and Chelsea looking to avoid AC Milan
The highest ranked clubs in this season’s Europa League are Chelsea and Arsenal. They will both be drawn from pot 1, alongside the remaining 10 top ranks teams according to the UEFA coefficient scores.
There will be 4 pots to draw from in total, all decided by the same UEFA coefficient rankings. So Chelsea and Arsenal’s toughest opponents will more than likely come from Pot 2. Arguably the strongest side in Pot 2 is AC Milan.
Milan are investing heavily this season, and have signed Serie A’s top goalsc
After Benfica qualified for the Champions League group stages on Wednesday by beating PAOK Salonika 5-2 on aggregate, Liverpool have been placed in pot 3 for the draw on Thursday evening.
Despite reaching last season’s final, Liverpool have a lower UEFA coefficient (62.000) than Benfica (80.000) and Roma (64.000) who are the lowest ranked team in pot 2.
Had Benfica not qualified, Liverpool would have pushed up to pot 2 due to the fact that the only other higher ranked team in the qualifying rounds, Basel, failed to qualify.
Rules of the Europa League draw
- 48 qualifying teams will be placed into 4 seeded pots, ranked by the UEFA coefficient scores of each team
- The draw will divide all 48 teams into 12 groups, each containing one team from each of the 4 pots
- Clubs from the country/association cannot be drawn in the same group
- Russian and Ukrainian clubs cannot be drawn in the same group
- Clubs from the same country/association have been paired, they can play their matches at different staggered times to improve TV scheduling (6:55pm BST and 9:00pm BST)
Europa League club pairings
Due to all Europa League matches being played on the same evening, to benefit TV viewers, UEFA have made the decision to stagger the kick-off times (6:55pm BST and 9:00pm BST), and pair clubs from the same country (association) so their games won’t be played at the same time.
The pairings are:
- Sevilla & Real Betis
- Arsenal & Chelsea
- Zenit & Spartak Moskva
- Dynamo Kyiv & Vorskla
- Beşiktaş & Fenerbahçe
- Salzburg & Rapid Wien
- Olympiacos & PAOK
- Anderlecht & Standard Liège
- Lazio & AC Milan
- Marseille & Bordeaux
- Celtic & Rangers
- RB Leipzig & Eintracht Frankfurt
- Apollon Limassol & AEK Larnaca
- Rosenborg & Sarpsborg
- Slavia Praha & Jablonec
So for Premier League fans, you will be able to watch both Chelsea and Arsenal’s games back-to-back, with the first kicking off at 6:55pm BST, and the second kicking off at 9:00pm BST.
Europa League outright winner best odds
(All odds are correct as of 10:00 BST Friday 31 August, and are subject to change)
- Sevilla (14/1 – William Hill)
- Arsenal (7/1 – William Hill)
- Chelsea (6/1 – William Hill)
- Zenit (33/1 – William Hill)
- Leverkusen (20/1 – William Hill)
- Dynamo Kyiv (50/1 – William Hill)
- Beşiktaş (50/1 – William Hill)
- Salzburg (66/1 – William Hill)
- Olympiacos (33/1 – William Hill)
- Villarreal (20/1 – William Hill)
- Anderlecht (50/1 – William Hill)
- Lazio (20/1 – William Hill)
- Sporting CP (POR)
- Ludogorets (BUL)
- København (DEN)
- Marseille (FRA) (14/1 – William Hill)
- Celtic (SCO) (50/1 – William Hill)
- PAOK (GRE)
- AC Milan (ITA) (16/1 – William Hill)
- Genk (BEL)
- Fenerbahçe (TUR)
- Krasnodar (RUS)
- Astana (KAZ)
- Rapid Wien (AUT)
- Betis (ESP) (25/1 – William Hill)
- BATE (BLR)
- Qarabağ (AZE)
- Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)
- Leipzig (GER) (16/1 – William Hill)
- Frankfurt (GER) (33/1 – William Hill)
- Malmö (SWE)
- Spartak Moskva (RUS)
- Standard Liège (BEL)
- Zürich (SUI)
- Bordeaux (FRA)
- Rennes (FRA)
- Apollon (CYP)
- Rosenborg (NOR)
- Vorskla (UKR)
- Slavia Praha (CZE)
- Akhisar (TUR)
- Jablonec (CZE)
- AEK Larnaca (CYP)
- Vidi (HUN)
- Rangers (SCO)
- Dudelange (LUX)
- Spartak Trnava (SVK)
- Sarpsborg (NOR)
Best Free Bet Scout’s outright Europa League betting tips
The bookies have Chelsea down as favourites to win the Europa League this season. You’d be forgiven to think Maurizio Sarri’s team have the best chance considering how they’ve already adapted to his new style of play and got off to a flying start in the Premier League.
However, you only need to look back at Sarri’s record in knock-out competitions whilst manager of Napoli, to see that he rarely rotates his starting eleven and quickly gave up on European competition last season, failing to reach the knock-out stages.
His former boss at Napoli has issues with his lack of focus on Europe and refusal to rotate:
It is true I called him a genius but his genius is a bit one-dimensional, I saw him play in only one way.
Chelsea’s focus will certainly be on getting back into the top 4 in the Premier League this season, and perhaps not to put too much focus on winning Europe’s second-tier competition.
In stark contrast, Arsenal‘s new boss Unai Emery has a far superior record in knock-out competition, especially in the Europa League. He is considered a Europa League specialist after winning it three years on the trot with Sevilla.
With the state of Arsenal’s squad, and their lack of achievements in the Premier League over the past 15 years under Wenger, Arsenal’s board will certainly have lower expectations than Chelsea.
The Europa League may well be their most likely target in returning to the champions league. Couple that with Emery’s superb record in the competition, Best Free Bet Scout favours Arsenal to go all the way.