European Football Tips: Five bets for the remainder of the season

Diego Simeone's men have a real chance of Champions League success
Diego Simeone's men have a real chance of Champions League success

With the international break offering the perfect time to reflect on the domestic and European club scene, Evan Bartlett has picked out five value bets for the remainder of the season...


"Losing finalists in two of the past three seasons, Atleti have real calibre in the Champions League. They beat Barca and Bayern Munich on their way to the final last season and are the most assured of going through to the semi-finals after drawing outsiders Leicester."

While the winners of most of Europe's big leagues - bar La Liga - look settled already, there is still plenty to play for across the continent. Here are five value bets from five different competitions to keep the 2016/17 season interesting as it reaches its climax...


Premier League


With Chelsea now all but certain champions for the second time in three seasons, our attention can turn slightly further down the table.

Arguably the most exciting race in the Premier League this season will be that for fourth place. Arsenal have been on a terrible run of late and are now at their longest odds to secure the last Champions League spot all season.

But do not underestimate Arsene Wenger. His sides often rally in April and May after a disappointing drop-off in winter and since joining Arsenal he has never failed to finish in the top four. That is 20 years of remarkable consistency.

With United's crocked squad playing potentially 16 fixtures in the space of seven weeks, Liverpool continuing to drop points against lowly opposition, and Manchester City being one of the league's most inconsistent sides in England it would be no surprise to see the Gunners move back up the table.

You can back Arsenal at 4.67/2 to finish in the top four.


Championship


Huddersfield boss David Wagner has compared his side's prospective promotion to Leicester's "fairytale" Premier League win last year.

While that may be stretching things a bit, there is no doubting Huddersfield's transformation under the excitable German has been impressive.

The Terriers sit in third place in the Championship and are six points off Brighton in the automatic promotion places with a game in hand. They also have five of their remaining nine fixtures at the John Smith's stadium where they have taken 41 points from a possible 54 this season - the fourth best home record in the league.

It would be no surprise to see Wagner's men sneak into the top two by the end of the season - how often have we seen a late surge like that in the Championship? - at odds of 3.45, although it may be better to back them for promotion at 2.56/4 with the play-offs acting as a back up.


Champions League


Barcelona are the only side to have beaten Atletico Madrid in their last 19 games. Diego Simeone's men are fourth in La Liga and rapidly closing in on Sevilla in third after dispatching them 3-1 last weekend.

Losing finalists in two of the past three seasons, Atleti have real calibre in the Champions League. They beat Barca and Bayern Munich on their way to the final last season and are the most assured of going through to the semi-finals after drawing outsiders Leicester.

There is a sense that Barcelona's current state is nearer to their performance in the first leg against Paris Saint-Germain - when they were blown away 4-0 - than the freakish return at Camp Nou.

Real Madrid have conceded 13 goals in their last seven games and have had to rely on some late goals to keep an unbeaten run of six going.

With the two Spanish giants facing Juventus and Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals, it is a surprise to see Atletico as long as 2.829/5 in the 'Best of Spanish' market.


Europa League


While Monaco have rightly been recognised as one of the most exciting young teams in Europe this season, Ligue 1 rivals Lyon have gone under the radar.

The likes of Lucas Tousart, Corentin Tolisso and Nabil Fekir have all been linked with moves away in the summer and centre-foward Alexandre Lacazette seems destined for a move to the Premier League or La Liga for mega money after scoring 29 goals in 35 appearances.

A marker of Lyon's strength was the ease with which they beat a strong Roma side in the last round. Their next opponents are Besiktas - who themselves made difficult work of beating 10-man Olympiakos in the last 16.

While Manchester United are favourites for this competition at 2.588/5, Lyon look better value to me at 4.3100/30. United have a gruelling fixture schedule - with three more games than their French counterparts remaining this season if they reach the final - and have started to suffer from injuries.


Serie A


Edin Dzeko has been in prolific form for Roma this season. In fact, the Bosnian forward has rarely been anything but prolific, having scored just two shy of 200 goals in three of Europe's biggest leagues since moving to Wolfsburg in 2007 - an average of 20 a season over such a long period should not be sniffed at.

The 31-year-old has hit 31 goals in 42 appearances for Roma this season, including 21 in Serie A - just one less than Andrea Belotti, Torino's 23-year-old forward being linked with an £80m move to the Premier League.

With five of Roma's last eight fixtures at home and his side looking much more dominant than mid-table Torino, Dzeko looks decent value at 3.259/4 on the Sportsbook to overhaul the youngster and finish as Serie A's top goalscorer come the end of the season.


Recommended bets

Back Arsenal to finish in the top four @ 4.67/2
Back Huddersfield to be promoted @ 2.56/4
Back Atletico to be 'Best of Spanish' @ 2.829/5
Back Lyon to win the Europa League @ 4.3100/30
Back Edin Dzeko to be Serie A's top goalscorer @ 3.259/4


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