UEFA Europa League takes center stage Wednesday and Thursday

After an almost five-month break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the various domestic leagues around Europe finishing their campaigns, the UEFA Europa League will finally continue its march towards a new champion in 2020.

The new tournament, which will finish in Germany after this Round-of-16, will be one-off ties after this round. But two of the ties, Inter/Getafe and Sevilla/Roma, will be one game this round; the other six matchups all got one game in before the pandemic shut everything down in March.

The two tournament favorites will take to the pitches tomorrow, but under completely different circumstances. Manchester United (+200 to win the Europa League, according to William Hill USA) has a 5-0 lead over LASK Linz after the first leg in Austria, and will put out a team of mostly back-ups and reserve players, knowing its ticket to Germany is most certainly already booked.

But for Internazionale (+500 to win the Europa League, according to Pointsbet NJ), there is the prospect of a daunting do or die contest with a very good Getafe side on neutral ground in Gelsenkirchen. Inter should be able to use its momentum at the end of the Serie A season, which saw the team win five-straight to finish a point behind Juventus in second place, to its advantage. But those wins came with no pressure, after Inter fell out of the race after the restart.

Which teams will advance to the next round? Look for the big boys, and league champions, to get it done.

UEFA Europa League Round – of – 16 Fixtures

(Lines from PointsBet; Use code AMGAMBLER) 

Shakhtar Donetsk (+130) vs. Wolfsburg (+190) draw (+260), 12:55 p.m. EDT (CBS All-Access and Fubo.tv; Shakhtar leads 2-1 on aggregate)

F.C. Copenhagen (+160) vs. Istanbul Baṣakṣehir (+175), draw (+225), 12:55 p.m. EDT (CBS All-Access and Fubo.tv; Baṣakṣehir leads 1-0 on aggregate)

Manchester United (-425) vs. LASK Linz (+1100), draw (+520), 3 p.m. EDT (CBS All-Access and Fubo.tv; United leads 5-0 on aggregate)

Inter Milan (-150) vs. Getafe (+425), draw (+280), 3 p.m. EDT (CBS All-Access and Fubo.tv; single leg fixture)

Predictions

I like Inter to win its tie with Getafe at -150. Manchester United is going to put out its reserve team against LASK Linz with a 5-0 lead, but those players could be fighting for a place on the team next season. Take United -1.75 at -120 if you can get it.

As for the other two ties, both could go either way. I like Shakhtar Donetsk ML (+130), but you could go with the -0.25 Asian handicap at +100 to cover yourself.

As for the Copenhagen Istanbul Baṣakṣehir contest, I think the Turkish champions find a way to go through to face Manchester United, so I will take Istanbul Baṣakṣehir pick -105.

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