Must win game for Guimaraes in Europa League

guimaraesThis is not the first time that Betis plays in an important European competition and the Spanish team has made deep runs in these tournaments in the past. By contrast, this is the first real chance for Guimaraes to play among the best European clubs and the Portuguese side is highly motivated to advance from Group I. Compared to Lyon and Betis, they are clearly the less experienced team, but neither of these opponents are at the peak of their form.

Another major advantage that the Portuguese have over their opponents is that the French and Spanish teams are not taking the Europa League competition seriously enough. Lyon is mired in a brutal race in its domestic championship and for the first time in many years it is not even among the first three favorites to win the trophy. On one hand, this should motivate them to make a deep run in the European competition because it is unlikely for them to participate again the next season.

The same applies to Betis who is in an even worse situation, struggling in the bottom half of the Primera Division. The fact that they’ve lost to Malaga over the weekend after conceding a third goal in the last minute of overtime is only amplifying their struggles. Three days from now, Barcelona will be visiting Sevilla and the hosts will be huge underdogs once again despite having home pitch advantage.

The prospect of drawing tonight is not that frightful for Betis who has a slim advantage over Guimaraes, so punters should expect a less incisive visiting team. By contrast, the hosts are enjoying a relatively smooth ride in their domestic championship and have made Europa league their main priority for 2013. If they prevail tonight, they will face Rijeka on the road before returning home for the final game against Lyon. In a nutshell, the Portuguese side has a good chance of finishing second in Group I if they win all three points tonight and this is exactly what the host will be aiming for.

Bookmakers have sided with the visiting team, despite the fact that they are clearly in awful form and won just once in the last seven games. As a result, the odds for Guimaraes to win with the cover of an Asian handicap stand at 2.20 with most bookmakers, which is tremendous value. Risk-averse punters could settle for slightly lower odds by betting on the hosts to win or draw.