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Soon it’ll be cool to back unfashionable Plzen– Football Bet Of The Week

Article, Editorial, Europa League, Featured, News, Trading | Article posted on March 4th, 2013

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Soon it’ll be cool to back unfashionable Plzen


Football Bet Of The Week

Monday 18 February 2013



Every week, bookmaker and former Racing Post chief sports betting writer Mark Worwood gives out his best football bet.



n some respects, successful football betting is similar to bargain clothes shopping: identifying an unfashionable item that will become uber cool in the near future and snapping up it for a bargain price before the herd follows suit.

If Viktoria Plzen maintains its superb form in this season’s UEFA Europa League tournament, the Czech Liga leader will be a team on the lips of every European football punter before one can get intoxicated drinking the city’s famous beer.

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But now at least, Viktoria Plzen is flying under the radar of most people, receiving nowhere near the right amount of credit for its recent performances versus two of Europe’s top sides, Atletico Madrid and Napoli. The result is that Pavel Vrba’s underrated side is trading at attractive odds ahead of its UEFA Europa League tie against Fenerbahce.

Bookmakers have opened up betting on the two-legged scrap between Viktoria Plzen and Fenerbahce with Vrba’s team as the universal outsider and, also, thrown up odds as big as 5-4 about the Czech Liga frontrunner winning its home leg and taking a lead to Turkey for next week’s second leg.

Victoria Plzen has won each of its last four meaningful games, with that run including home defeats of Atletico Madrid and Napoli as well as a mind-blowing 3-0 win over Italian Serie A’s second-placed side on the road.

Furthermore, Victoria Plzen’s home form in all competitions this term makes impressive reading. It has won 12 and drawn two of its 15 home matches, while it has won all seven of its UEFA Europa League home games, scoring 18 goals and conceding only one. Even away from home it has performed well against continental foes, winning four and drawing one of its seven road matches in the international tournament.

Fenerbahce is not a mug team and it has produced some good results away from home in this season’s UEFA Europa League but its road numbers are not a patch on Viktoria Plzen’s home ones and its preparation will be far from ideal.

Whereas Viktoria Plzen has the luxury of what should be a relatively straightforward home game against Banik Ostrava, Fenerbahce has a taxing away derby versus Besiktas, one of the biggest fixtures on the Turkish Super Lig calendar.

Indeed, if Fenerbahce is serious about pushing Galatasaray all the way in the Turkish Super Lig title race, it needs to focus on its domestic dates against Besiktas and Bursaspor and, maybe, pay less than the ideal amount of attention to its UEFA Europa League clashes versus Viktoria Plzen.

Viktoria Plzen’s displays in beating Atletico Madrid and Napoli should have made European football analysts sit up and take notice. They have not and that explains why Vrba’s side is available at generous odds to beat Fenerbahce. One could make a decent case for the Czech Liga table topper being around the even-money mark to win the first leg and priced identically to Fenerbahce to win the tie overall.

Backing Victoria Plzen to defeat Fenerbahce at home makes sense from a value perspective given that bookmakers are quoting odds of around 5-4 and supporting the tie underdog at odds of around 6-5 is another very attractive play.

Elsewhere in this week’s UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League action, Manchester United and Lazio are too big to eliminate Real Madrid and Stuttgart respectively.

Manchester United’s away goal is more advantageous than bookmakers think. The Red Devils should be the favourites to progress, with any number of statistics on their side.

Lazio is one of Italian Serie A’s top teams and, as such, it should be trading at shorter odds than around 4-5 to beat a mid-table German Bundesliga, which is what Stuttgart is.

Are bookmakers underestimating Viktoria Plzen because of its location? Should Manchester United be the underdog in its massive tie against Real Madrid? Send me your comments.


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