Sevilla v Shakhtar Donetsk – Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium at 20:05 live on BT Sport 2
The first leg last week in the Ukraine was not quite what I expected, although Shakhtar gave a good account of themselves in their home country, the goals flowed in a 2-2 draw that left Sevilla firmly in the driving seat to reach the Europa League final (again).
As mentioned last week, Sevilla’s complete and utter failure away from home this season, has left them mired in 7th place (could be a lot worse than that to be honest) in La Liga and outside of the European qualification places.
That form amongst other things led me to the bet on Shakhtar, but this week it is Sevilla’s home form that is leading me toward an Asian Handicap selection.
From their 19 league games at home this season, Unai Emery’s team have lost just three and two of those were against teams above them in the table. Even when you include their disappointing Champions League campaign and previous Europa League home matches, they have only suffered a total of 5 defeats in 28 games!
Considering there was only 1 draw in those 28 games, Sevilla’s home form that Shakhtar have to overcome tonight to reach the final, is daunting to say the least.
The visitor’s away record is impressive enough, with just four defeats on the road in all competitions so far this season. However, the Ukrainian league is certainly not close to the level of La Liga and being without a win from trips to Fenerbahce and Malmo earlier in the season, it is hard to see how they can win in Sevilla.
Subsequently, there is no surprise to see the holders priced up at 1.67 to win the match and at 1.87 to cover their -0.75 Asian Handicap line. When priced up as strong favourites, the Spaniards have yet more data on their side, as they hold a P11 W9 D1 L1 record in these games and that does not include five further wins in cup competitions when priced below 1.75.
In total they covered the -0.75 Asian Handicap line in 11 of those 16 matches, but perhaps more impressively they also led at HT in 9 of those games as well.
Shakhtar despite needing to win, should not be flying in all guns blazing from the start because they do only need a 1-0 win to reach the final. This is why I was quite surprised to see the Asian Handicap Total Goals market set at Over/Under 3 Goals for this match.
Although we saw four goals last week, it would be a shock if Shakhtar were able to score twice again this week in the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. Plus, while Sevilla are perfectly capable of scoring three or more goals at home, if they score first it will leave Shakhtar needing two to progress.
That will effectively put the tie to bed and it could well see Sevilla take their foot off the gas a little, in what has been a long and tiring season so far.
This game looks like a 1-0 or 2-0 home win to me and even if Shakhtar did manage to score, my main recommendation would still have a good shot at returning our stake.
I also like Sevilla’s first half stats, so I will back them to put this tie to bed and shut up shop in a professional performance, by a team I expect will go on to claim their third Europa League trophy in a row.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Under 3 Goals at 1.92 and Sevilla FH -0.5 at 2.40
Prices correct at the time of writing.
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