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UEL Group H Odds & Betting Preview: Espanyol and CSKA Moscow Heavy Favorites

Marc Roja will attempt to be an influence for Espanyol in Europe
Midfielder Marc Roca has scored twice for Espanyol in Europa League qualifying and now hopes to make his mark as they head into Group H as favorites ahead of CSKA Moscow. Photo from @Espanyol Official(Twitter).
  • Barcelona’s neighbors back in Europe after seven-year absence
  • Russians step down to EL after six straight years in UCL groups
  • Ludogorets and Ferencvcaros are rated as wide outsiders

Espanyol are always in the shadow of their mighty city neighbors Barcelona but they can claim a little limelight as they head into their first season in European competition for 13 years.

Despite a poor start to their campaign in Spain’s La Liga, they are favored to win the Europa League’s Group H.

The club has twice been a finalist in the competition’s fore-runner, the UEFA Cup – and are priced by BetOnline at +120 to finish top of the section.

Europa League 2019-29 Group H Odds

Team Odds to Qualify Odds to Win at BetOnline
Espanyol -325 +120
CSKA Moscow -280 +160
Ludogorets +135 +500
Ferencvaros +350 +900

*Odds taken at 2019/09/13

CSKA Moscow have been Champions League group regulars in recent times.

But taking the step down to the secondary competition, they are rated slightly behind the Spanish outfit at +160 to win the group.

Early Struggles in La Liga

In an analysis of both teams’ early season performances, the Russians offer better value to finish first.

Bulgarian champions Ludogorets are correctly priced well behind at +500 and the once-powerful Hungarians of Ferencvaros are at +900.

Espanyol took just one point from their opening three La Liga fixtures. It left them in 19th position in the 20-team table. Both their defeats by Sevilla and Granada were suffered at home.

They also failed to score in those opening three games – drawing 0-0 with Alaves to earn their sole point.

CSKA striker Fedor Chelov is the leading scorer after hitting the target three times in  eight fixtures.

Based on domestic form, CSKA Moscow are in much better shape. They were fourth in the Russian Premier League after winning five times, drawing one and losing two.

CSKA striker Fedor Chelov is the leading scorer after hitting the target three times in those eight fixtures.

They also possess vastly more European experience than the Spanish group favorites after competing in the Champions League group stage for each of the previous six seasons.

They have competed in the Europa League once before while Espanyol are making their debut.

Previous UEFA Cup Winners

And the Russians have a European trophy victory to their name after winning the UEFA Cup in 2005.

Espanyol begin their campaign at home against Ferencvaros on Thursday, September 19, at RCDE Stadium, at 3:00 pm EST.

Ludogorets play host to CSKA Moscow on the same evening at Ludogorets Arena at 3:00 pm EST.

After finishing seventh in La Liga last season, Espanyol won Europa League qualifying ties against Stjarnan and Luzern. They then defeated Zorya Luhansk in the playoffs.

Although they were in the Champions League group stage for the prior six seasons, the Russians never once progressed.

In 2017-18, they stepped down to the Europa League knockout stage where they were eliminated by Arsenal in the last eight.

Last season Moscow finished bottom of their Champions League group behind Real Madrid, Roma and Viktoria Plzen.

They won their Europa League group in 2010-11 but were beaten by Porto in the last 16.

Last season Moscow finished bottom of their Champions League group behind Real Madrid, Roma and Viktoria Plzen.

The most recent appearance in Europe by Espanyol was when they reached the final of the UEFA Cup in 2006-07. They were beaten on penalties by compatriots Sevilla. They also reached the final in 1987-88.

Ludogorets have been Bulgarian champions for eight consecutive seasons.

They led the table again this season after eight fixtures with five wins and three draws.

Earlier Clash in UCL Qualifying

This summer they lost in the Champions League first qualifying round against Ferencvaros, whom they will now meet again.

The Hungarians won 2-1 at home and 3-2 away.

It then required victories against Valur, the New Saints and, in the playoffs, Maribor, for Ludogorets to reach the group stage of the Europa League.

Their Polish striker Jakub Swierzcok hit four goals in Europa League qualifying.

Ludogorets  were second in a Europa League group in 2017-18 and first in 2013-14 but have never progressed beyond the last 16.

Last season the team finished bottom of their Europa League group behind Bayer Leverkusen, FC Zurich and AEK Larnaca.

Ludogorets were second in a Europa League group in 2017-18 and first in 2013-14 but have never progressed beyond the last 16.

Ferencvaros won a record 30th Hungarian league title last season – their first in three years.

Heavy Defeat by Dinamo Zagreb

After beating Ludogorets, they went on to reach the third round of Champions League qualifying against Dinamo Zagreb but lost heavily 4-0 at home after earning a 1-1 draw in Croatia.

They had fallen at the qualifying stage of the Europa League in each of the previous five seasons.

They were seventh in the Hungarian league table after three fixtures with two wins and a draw – although they had played two fewer games than most other teams.

The club won the former Inter Cities Fairs Cup in 1964/65. This was an early fore-runner of the Europa League which later became the UEFA Cup.

They won the now-defunct European Cup Winners Cup in 1974-75.

Prediction: 1st CSKA Moscow; 2nd Espanyol


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