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Europa League Betting: It'll be far from a Roman holiday for struggling Spurs

Lazio star Hernanes says he's confident of victory over Spurs

Lazio’s record at the Stadio Olimpico this season is impressive – they have won four out of six in Serie A, and three out of three in the Europa League.

Lazio are extremely strong at home, and Kevin Hatchard suspects they will rack up another victory against a Spurs side floundering under Andre Villas-Boas.

Lazio vs Tottenham Hotspur, Thu 18:00 BST, Live on ITV4

Match Odds: Lazio 2.588/5, Spurs 3.02/1, the draw 3.45n/a

Lazio's prominent playmaker Hernanes says his team are keen to wrap up qualification for the knockout phase as soon as possible, and a home win against out-of-form Spurs would see them do just that. Lazio are in fine fettle - at the weekend they managed a creditable 0-0 draw at Italian champions Juventus, and that result followed a 3-2 home win over bitter rivals Roma and a 3-0 dismissal of Panathinaikos in the Europa League.

Lazio's record at the Stadio Olimpico this season is impressive - they have won four out of six in Serie A, and three out of three in the Europa League. Their only defeat on home soil was a 1-0 reverse against Genoa, a game they dominated.

Spurs are in dire form domestically, having suffered three Premier League defeats on the bounce and crashed out of the League Cup at Norwich. Boss Andre Villas-Boas is under pressure (his post-match comments after the weekend's 5-2 defeat at Arsenal were really odd), and although he has attributed huge importance to the Europa League, he must surely have an eye on the forthcoming Premier League tests against West Ham and Liverpool. Injuries have hit the squad hard, and Villas-Boas must be very careful about how he manages his resources. For example, midfielder Mousa Dembele is back in training after injury and Steven Caulker is 50-50 after a knee problem, but will AVB risk them? One should also consider that Spurs finish their group stage campaign with an entirely winnable home game against Panathinaikos.

In their last Europa League game Spurs beat Maribor 3-1 at White Hart Lane, as Jermain Defoe bagged a hat-trick. However, the North Londoners have been struggling on the road in Europe for some time. They were held to draws this season at Maribor and Panathinaikos, and Opta tell us they have won just one of their last six away games in Europe, and if we look further back they've won just two of their last 12.

I think 2.588/5 is a great price for the home win, given Lazio's excellent home form and Spurs's travails on their travels. Hernanes may well get his wish.

Recommended Bet: Back Lazio to win at 2.588/5

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21 November 2012

Europa League

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