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Wolves -450 Favorite to Qualify From UEFA Europa League Group K

Gary Gowers

by Gary Gowers in Soccer News

Updated Apr 6, 2020 · 3:33 PM PDT

Molineux Stadium
Wolves fans celebrated in style when they returned to the English Premier League but will they be celebrating Europa league success this season? Photo by Badgernet (Wiki Commons).
  • Europa League group stages start next week
  • Wolves are favorites to win Group K
  • Gent a fair bet as outsiders

The Europa League 2019-20 group stage kicks into gear next week and at SBD we are going to look at each group with the aim of identifying if the favorite is worth a bet or if there is upset potential within the group. We’ll look to see which two teams we think will qualify and who offers the best value.

UEFA Europa League 2019/20 – Group K Odds

Team Odds to Qualify Odds to Win Group
Wolves -450 +100
Besiktas -165 +225
Braga +120 +325
Slovan Bratislava +500 +1400

Odds taken on 09/12/19.

Wolves start the group as favorites – odds on to qualify and just +100 to win it – but this is a group that contains some familiar names of the European soccer scene. There are no unknowns or minnows in Group K, which makes it a tricky one to call.

Wolves Making their Mark

Wolverhampton Wanderers are a club on the up and since their recent re-emergence as a big player in English football, they have gone from strength to strength.

As recently as 2017-18 they were competing in the English Championship – the second tier – but a takeover from a hugely wealthy Chinese investment group and a tie-in with a top-level Portuguese agent has propelled the club to another level.

In their first season back in the Premier League they finished an incredible seventh – their highest placing in the top division since finishing 1979–80 – which earned them their place in the Europa League qualifiers. They made it to the group stage with an impressive 5-3 on aggregate win against Torino (Italy) in the playoff round. This will be their first foray into Europe since 1980-81.

The Europa League is a notoriously difficult gig for English teams, with the Thursday/Sunday routine a tough one given the physical demands of the Premier League, so this may be more challenging for Wolves than it first appears. But, they have a quality squad and will consider they have enough in hand to qualify for the knockout phase quite.

Besiktas are a Good Side

Besiktas are a top Turkish team based in Istanbul and have a rich history of competing in European soccer, dating back to 1958. Since then they have competed in in either the Europa League (formerly the UEFA Cup) or the Champions League (formerly the European Cup) on a regular basis.

Their best achievements were reaching the quarter-finals of the 1986–87 European Cup, 2002–03 UEFA Cup, and 2016–17 UEFA Europa League.

They earned their place in this season’s Europa League by coming fourth in the Turkish Super Lig, but well worth noting is that they only finished four points behind the winners, Galatasaray. They are a good side who, allied to their European experience, will come into this expecting to make the knockout stages. Even consider the +225 on offer to win the group.

Braga can Compete

Braga, officially known as Sporting Clube de Braga, play in Portugal’s Primeira Liga. They are regulars on the European soccer scene and have competed in the Cup Winners’ Cup, Europa League and the Champions League.

Their first European tournament was in 1966–67 – in what was then known as the European Cup Winners’ Cup – and after reaching the 2004–05 UEFA Cup, they competed in European competitions for ten consecutive seasons, entering the Champions League for the first time in 2010–11. It was in that same season that they reached the Europa League Final – their first-ever final – where they lost 1–0 to compatriots FC Porto.

While they lost a couple of their star names in the summer transfer merry-go-round – Pedro Neto and Mamadou Loum – they have added a few new faces to freshen up their squad, and they made it to the Europa League proper the hard way by winning two qualifying ties. They’ll be pushing Besiktas all the way.

Slovan Bratislava tops in Slovakia

Slovan Bratislava is the only club in Slovakia – as well as former Czechoslovakia – to win one of the European cup competitions. This occurred a while ago, back in 1969, when they beat Barcelona in the final of the Cup Winners’ Cup.  In the 1970s the club enjoyed their heyday and supplied seven players in the Czechoslovakia team that won the European Championships.

They have been their country’s dominant team for many years, winning the old Czechoslovak league eight times and the Slovak league on 13 occasions.

They qualified for the Europa League group stage by virtue of beating PAOK in a two-legged playoff.

While they are not the big players on the European stage they once were, they will still be competitive and +500 to qualify from the group offers some pretty decent value.

The pick: Besiktas to win the group (+225), Braga to qualify (+125)

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