Europa League Betting: More misery for Maccabi

There have been plenty of goals for Villarreal to celebrate
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It's been a profitable group stage so far for Kevin Hatchard, and he's hoping to keep it that way with these four selections.

"Maccabi Tel Aviv have collected just one point, and they visit a Villarreal side that should have the quality to win even if they make changes."

Back Villarreal to win at [1.74]

Villarreal v Maccabi Tel Aviv
Thursday December 07, 18:00
Live on BT Sport Extra

Villarreal have built up a proud tradition in European football in the 21st century. They reached the semi-finals of the 2006 Champions League, when they were only a Juan Roman Riquelme penalty away from reaching the final (Jens Lehmann saved it and Arsenal went through instead), and they have twice reached the last four of the Europa League.

This season they have recovered from a sticky start to the domestic campaign (they won just two of their first six league games), and they have won their Europa League group with a game to spare. They beat Astana 3-1 and drew 2-2 with Slavia Prague in their previous two UEL home matches, and in all competitions they have won four of their last six home games.

Maccabi Tel Aviv have been the whipping boys in this group, collecting a solitary point from five outings. They have only won one of their last five away matches, and in the Europa League they have lost 1-0 at Slavia and 4-0 at Astana.

Even if Villarreal field a rotated side, they should win this against inferior and demotivated opposition.

Recommended Bet
Back Villarreal to win at [1.74]

Vardar Skopje v Rosenborg
Thursday 07 December, 20:05
Live on BT Sport Extra

Rosenborg's Europa League dream was crushed on Matchday Five, as a brave effort against Real Sociedad ended in frustration. A last-gasp goal saw the Basque side escape from Trondheim with a 1-0 victory, and having also conceded a late equaliser in the home draw with Zenit, Rosenborg are left to ponder what might have been.

Macedonia's Vardar Skopje looked far more impressive in the qualification rounds than they have in the group stage. Across the Champions League and Europa League playoffs they secured home wins against Malmo, Fenerbahce and Copenhagen. The group stage has been ugly, with five defeats, and 19 goals conceded.

However, I'll back Vardar to make the most of their final moments in the European spotlight. Rosenborg's away record in Europe is poor (they have lost five of their last six Europa League away games), and they have nothing to play for but pride. Vardar have shown they can beat good European sides in Skopje, and for me the visitors are too short for the win at odds-on.

Recommended Bet
Lay Rosenborg at [1.98]

Hoffenheim v Ludogorets
Thursday 07 December, 18:00
Live on BT Sport Extra

It's been a season of missed opportunities for Hoffenheim in both the Champions League and the Europa League. Andrej Kramaric's early penalty miss against Liverpool set the tone in their first ever continental campaign. They were dumped into the Europa League by Jurgen Klopp's side, and then they rather made a mess of the Europa League group stage. They took the lead in their first four matches, but only managed to win once. Their two defeats against Portuguese side Braga were both avoidable, and the concession of a last-gasp equaliser at Istanbul Basaksehir was a particular low.

Now they have nothing to play for, but there is fierce competition for places at Hoffenheim, and the players selected will be keen to impress coach Julian Nagelsmann. Hoffe had a little dip a few weeks ago, but they were superb on Saturday as they demolished RB Leipzig 4-0 in the Bundesliga, handing last season's runners-up their heaviest ever defeat in the German top-flight.

Hoffenheim beat Istanbul Basaksehir 3-1 in their last home game in this competition, and I think they can beat a Ludogorets team that still needs a point to make sure of qualification. If they lose, and Istanbul Basaksehir beat Braga in the other game, then it's curtains for the Bulgarians. They lost 2-0 at home to Basaksehir last time out, and although they deserve credit for their 2-0 win at Braga earlier in the group stage, they have drawn a blank in three of their four away games in this competition.

Recommended Bet
Back Hoffenheim Draw No Bet at [1.99]

Slavia Prague v Astana
Thursday December 07, 18:00
Live on BT Sport Extra

This is a playoff for the runners-up spot in this group. Astana will qualify at Slavia's expense if they win, while the Czech hosts need just a point to reach the last 32.

Astana's form at home in Kazakhstan has got them to this stage with a chance of making progress. They drew 1-1 with Slavia, thrashed Maccabi Tel Aviv 4-0 and gave group winners Villarreal a run for their money before eventually losing 3-2.

However, on the road they are a different proposition. They have lost four of their last five road matches in this competition, and in the Champions League this season they lost 1-0 at Legia Warsaw and were battered 5-0 at Celtic.

Slavia have won three of their last four games in all competitions, and they are chasing a third straight home win. I think home advantage will be key here, and I'm backing the hosts.

Recommended Bet
Back Slavia Prague to win at [1.82]

2017 Europa League Group Stage P/L

Points Staked: 33

Points Returned: 36.56

P/L: +3.56 points

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