- England’s Manchester United opens the competition as -500 favorite to top Group L
- Holland’s AZ Alkmaar (+600) seen as only potential threat
- Serbia’s Partizan Belgrade (+1400) and Kazakhstan’s Astana (+1600) true longshots
The 2019-20 Europa League group stage kicks off this week, and this edition of our group previews features Group L.
Led by 2017 winners Manchester United, the group features some interesting dark horses but no teams capable of matching United’s quality over multiple games.
Odds to Win UEFA Europa League’s Group L
|Team||Odds to Qualify||Odds to Win|
*All odds taken 09/15/10
The Favorite: Manchester United (-500)
Quite frankly, -500 may be a bargain to take United in a group which features relative minnows.
Context: Harry Maguire’s $97 million move from Leicester to United this off-season was more valuable than any of the entire squads of each of United’s three Group L cohorts.
The quality is there: Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Maguire, etc. are all of a world-class standard, something none of the other three teams in the group can match.
If United can get through Matchday 2 with six points — their second group game is away to AZ — then it should be smooth sailing for the English outfit.
Outsider: AZ Alkmaar (+600)
We understand the appeal of picking against United, who have been inconsistent at the best of times in recent seasons.
AZ is more than a decade removed from being a serious threat in this competition — it was still called the UEFA Cup at the time (mid-2000s) — and this is a team that lost ten games in the Eredivisie last season.
They’re off to a decent start (3-1-1) in 2019-20, but there is little chance they surge ahead of United and claim top spot in Group L.
I’m not even sold on them making it out of the group, given Eredivisie clubs’ recent performance in Europe (Ajax miracle run notwithstanding).
Long Shot: Partizan (+1400)
While they’ve pulled off some respectable results in Europe in recent years, including a 2015-16 sweep of AZ Alkmaar in this very competition, Partizan is a long way from a challenger for United. They finished third in an underwhelming Serbian first division last season.
They do have some quality up front in the form of perennial Roma loanee Umar Sadiq, who has netted twice in four appearances since joining in July.
There’s little chance of them getting the two results they’d need against United to win the group, but they could be a good shout to advance from the group at +190.
Ultra Longshot: Astana (+1600)
The five-time running Kazakh champs are in a dogfight in their domestic league, but should be good to pick up a win or two at home.
Journeying to Kazakhstan — the flight time, the time-zone change, etc. — is no easy feat and as a result Astana have earned points in 10 of 12 group-stage home games in Europe.
With that said, the likelihood of them getting enough results to challenge United is minimal.
Pick: United, as they are favored for a reason. If you want to spruce it up, try a Partizan to qualify (+190) as well.
Additional SBD Europa League Group Previews
- Europa League Group A Odds & Betting Preview: Sevilla Heavy -650 Favorites
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