Zenit Slightly Favored vs Real Betis
Zenit has won the Russian Premier League title five of the last 10 seasons, including the last three. Now, it’s time for the Zeniters to take the next step, winning the UEFA Europa League. They aren’t among the favorites to do so, but ruling them out would be unwise.
Now, their first task towards glory is eliminating Real Betis. Zenit is favored in the soccer lines at a +145 price, but it won’t be easy. Los Verdiblancos are in the top three of La Liga, making them a very tempting underdog.
Zenit’s Good Fight
Zenit are here after getting eliminated from the UEFA Champions League. They finished third in Group H, but not without a fight, Juventus suffered more than expected before beating them, 1-0, in Turin. Chelsea couldn’t defeat them in Russia, the match ending in a 3-3 draw. Zeniters finished scoring 10 goals, same as the Vecchia Signora.
They’re a very disciplined team that usually plays 5-4-1, giving them a better chance to win possession and create more second chances.
It’s a group that truly embraces the team concept. Domestically, three players are among the league’s top scorers. Artem Dzyuba leads with 13 goals. while Malcom leads in assists with six.
Coach Sergei Semak has done a great job establishing a winning mentality. Since he arrived in 2018, Zenit have won 58 percent of its matches. That’s not all, as they also own an enviable goal-differential of +141.
The Zeniters also employ ‘jogo bonito’ by including four Brazilian players in their starting lineup. It’s no wonder they average 2.4 goals per game. We think that’s sufficient to consider including them in your soccer picks.
Zenit projected lineup: Mikhail Kerzhakov; Vyacheslav Karavayev, Dejan Lovren, Yaroslav Rakitskiy, Douglas Santos, Wilmar Barrios; Malcom, Daler Kuziayev, Wendel, Claudinho; Artem Dzyuba.
Real Betis in Great Shape
As was mentioned before, Real Betis is having a great season. If the season did end today, los Verdiblancos would qualify for the UCL. That’s something Atletico Madrid, Villarreal, and Athletic Club can’t say.
The Spanish side finished second in Group G, three points behind Bayer Leverkusen. That’s why they’ve qualified for the playoffs. Their meeting in Germany was crucial. During the Group stage, los Verdiblancos averaged two goals per game, so expect some fireworks.
Momentum is on their side. Recently, they defeated Rayo Vallecano, 2-1, in the first leg of the Copa del Rey Semifinals. They also crushed Levante, 4-2, in La Liga, so right now, it’s hard to think of a team with more confidence than Betis.
Without needing to spend millions, los Verdiblancos assembled a roster that’s solid. It’s so deep, in fact, that Andres Guardado, Cristian Tello, Hector Bellerin, and Diego Lainez aren’t among the starters. Having such a deep roster is another reason for the visitors to as a very tempting betting online underdog, especially at +190.
Winning the UEL has become Betis’ main goal, which is why coach Manuel Pellegrini decided to make some changes. In a two-game series, fresher legs can make a huge difference.
Nabil Fekir is suspended, but the rest of the team is ready to go. Real Betis projected lineup: Rui Silva; Youssouf Sabaly, Marc Bartra, Victor Ruiz, Alexandre Moreno; Guido Rodriguez, William, Aitor Rubial, Sergio Canales, Juanmi Jimenez; Borja Iglesias.
Zenit vs Real Betis Head to Head
This is the clubs’ first UEFA encounter.
Overall, Zenit owns a 6-6-10 record against Spanish teams. In half of those games, Zenit was at home, losing twice. On the other hand, Real Betis owns a 1-2-1 record against Russian teams. Los Verdiblancos’ lone victory was in the 2013-14 UEL, when they defeated Rubin Kazan.
Zenit vs Real Betis Information
Date: Thursday, Feb. 17th
Time: 12:45 p.m. ET
Location: Krestovsky Stadium, St. Petersburg, RU
Zenit vs Real Betis Live Stream: fuboTV
Zenit vs Real Betis Betting Lines
|Zenit St Petersburg||pk -135||+145||2½ -120o||1½ +115o
|Real Betis||pk +105||+190||2½ -110u||1½ +170o
Zenit vs Real Betis Prediction
We’re not sure Zenit deserves to control the Las Vegas odds, but we are sure this is going to be a back-and-forth battle. They’;re two offensive-minded teams, led by Dzyuba and Juanmi Jimenez, not to mention that Jimenez is among La Liga’s top scorers with 12 goals.
Zenit is stronger when playing at home. However, the Spanish side hasn’t lost in its last six road games in all competitions. Expect that trend to continue, with the total to going over.
Score Prediction: Zenit 2, Real Betis 2