By News Team
Last Updated: 12th March 2020
After the thrills and spills of the Champions League, it’s time for the Europa League to take centre stage.
Here is our betting preview of the last 16 first legs as we take a look at the three British sides hoping that they can put one foot in the quarter-finals on Thursday evening.
Man United face potential banana skin in Austria
LASK’s wonderful season continued after they knocked out AZ Alkmaar in the round of 32, meaning that they are currently on their longest European run ever with the Austrian side on a six-game unbeaten streak, winning four and drawing two along the way.
Manchester United have a tough game on their hands on Thursday evening, with the game being played behind closed doors because of coronavirus concerns, and a price of 10/11 for the LASK double chance of a home win or draw could be a strong choice.
United look like a different side in recent weeks and the stand-out stat ahead of this game is that they have never lost against an Austrian side in European competition, winning seven and drawing one.
Odion Ighalo is currently at 16/5 to grab the first goal on Thursday and with the Nigerian having scored three goals in his last four matches, you would not be surprised to see him on the scoresheet again here.
Rangers face tricky Leverkusen clash
Bayer Leverkusen are looking to progress past the round of 16 of the Europa League for the first time since 2008 and this will be only their second game in Scotland with the first also being against Rangers in 1998. Leverkusen were beaten by Rangers back then so they will be looking to enact revenge on Thursday.
Leverkusen are currently unbeaten in nine games in all competitions and, as expected, are going into this game as favourites at a price of 21/20. For better value, though, a result that could be worth backing is a Leverkusen win and both teams to score, which is currently at 14/5.
Rangers may be struggling in the Scottish Premiership at the moment, but their European adventure is very much alive after they defeated Braga in the round of 32. Rangers are currently unbeaten in their last six European games, meaning they are on their longest unbeaten run in the competition since 2006.
Ianis Hagi has played a huge part in Rangers’ success recently and he had a hand in three of their four goals against Braga in the previous round. With the midfielder in top form, a price of 11/4 for him to get on the scoresheet on Thursday is a solid bet to sink your teeth into.
Olympiacos out for more Premier League joy over Wolves
In recent years, Olympiacos have relished the chance to face English sides in the Europa League, with the Greek outfit knocking out Burnley and Arsenal in the last two seasons. And after their elimination of the Gunners last time out, Olympiacos are hoping to become the first side since Bayern Munich in 2013-14 to knock out an English side in consecutive knockout rounds when they face Wolves.
Olympiacos are currently at a price of 2/1 to defeat Wolves on Thursday and after the shock they caused at the Emirates in the last round, it would not be a surprise to see another upset here, in another game being played behind closed doors.
Wolves have never travelled to Greece in any competition before, but they will not fear the challenge in the slightest considering they have already won five games away from home in Europe this season, and they are 6/4 for the win here.
Wolves’ main man in Europe this year has been Diogo Jota. Jota is looking to become the first player since Radamel Falcao in 2011 to score three consecutive hat-tricks in European competition. You can get Jota to score a hat-trick at a brilliant 200/1 but it may be a little safer to go with him to score anytime, which is at a smaller 12/5.