Soccer

Europa League Final Betting Picks: Atalanta vs. Bayer Leverkusen (5/22/24)

Nicholas Vazquez
Nicholas Vazquez@nickvaz
Europa League Final Betting Picks: Atalanta vs. Bayer Leverkusen (5/22/24)

The Europa League is often looked down upon as the secondary UEFA competition that some teams try to avoid because they don't want the extra games if it's not in the Champions League. However, there are plenty of benefits from being in the Europa League, both financially for the club and for the players who get to compete on a big stage.

Fans also tend to overlook this competition, as the biggest teams in the world are basically never involved. It does often produce exciting games, and this season, there is an argument that the best team in Europe is playing.

The Europa League final odds have plenty of interesting betting markets on FanDuel Sportsbook. Let's find a best bet and a player prop that we can get behind.

Europa League Final Betting: Atalanta vs Bayer Leverkusen

Best Bet: Leverkusen to Win in 90 Minutes (-125)

This is a meeting between two teams in very good form. We'll start with Atalanta, who are the more surprising team to have made a run to the final.

Atalanta started to appear on most people's radar in the Europa League when they beat Liverpool in the quarterfinals. They won 3-0 away from home in the first leg, setting themselves up for a run to the final.

The Italian side has only lost two matches since April 11. One was the return leg against Liverpool, in which the 1-0 loss was irrelevant to the tie. The other was a loss to Juventus in the Coppa Italia final.

In Serie A this season, Atalanta are in fifth place. They also have the fifth-best expected goals (xG) in the league, according to FBRef.com . It's been a nice season for them, but it doesn't really compare to the season their opponents have had.

Bayer Leverkusen historically have gained the nickname "Neverkusen" because they had never won a major trophy, despite getting close multiple times. They ended that season, becoming the first team in history to finish a Bundesliga season unbeaten. They went 51 matches without losing, and the new nickname is "Neverlusen".

This is one of the most impressive seasons we've seen from any club. That 51-match streak is the longest in European history.

The data backs up Leverkusen as one of the best teams in Europe. Their xG differential in league matches was 1.2 is the second-best in Europe's big five leagues. Atalanta's differential was all the way down in 19th.

Leverkusen have gotten the job done all season long. Another thing to keep in mind is that they've essentially been preparing for this game since they clinched their spot in the final on May 9th. The Bundesliga title was wrapped up back on April 14th, so they haven't had to exert maximum effort in every game.

Meanwhile, Atalanta are in a dogfight to get into the Champions League next season. They still have two Serie A matches to play, and are one point off of the fourth spot in the league. The Bundesliga wrapped up this past Saturday, leaving Leverkusen with just this match and German Cup final.

I believe Leverkusen have the significant edge here, and we don't have to lay a big price for them to win in 90 minutes and keep their dominant run going.

Player Prop: Alex Grimaldo to Score or Assist (+180)

One of the best signings of last summer was Leverkusen signing Alex Grimaldo on a free transfer from Benfica. Grimaldo is a product of Barcelona's youth academy but never made an appearance with the first team.

He had the best season of his career with 10 goals and 13 assists in the Bundesliga. Those 23 goal contributions were the most on the team.

Grimaldo's odds of being involved in a goal are just the 10th-best in the final. In a game that should see Leverkusen have the majority of the possession, he will be able to get forward from his wing back position. That will allow him to be a part of the attack consistently.

These +180 are great odds behind someone as productive as Grimaldo was this season.


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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.