Antwerp vs Spurs: Belgians up next in the Europa League

Spurs were rarely troubled as they opened their 2020/21 Europa League campaign, coasting to a 3-0 win over LASK Linz last time out. This Thursday, the group stages continue with a trip to Belgium to face a Royal Antwerp side who finished fourth in their division at the end of last season.

Once again, it looks like we should have a comfortable evening in store but can we keep moving serenely through this competition which is adding to our packed fixture schedule?

Team News

Antwerp vs Spurs: Belgians up next in the Europa League

This preview follows shortly on from Monday night’s encounter at Burnley but there are some obvious points to pick up on. The cut over Toby Alderweireld’s eye suggests that the Belgian won’t feature on Thursday and it’s clearly not worth risking any further damage even if he is considered ready.

Beyond that piece of information, the substitutions made last night would appear to have been tactical or precautionary so we should see the usual Europa League shake up in Belgium. Changes are likely to run through the side, starting with Joe Hart in goal and running through to Carlos Vinicius up top.

Match Odds

Despite conceding home advantage, Tottenham are clear favourites and the best industry odds for the away win currently stand at 11/18 with VBet. The draw comes next at a top price of 10/3 with Betway while victory for the Belgians can be picked up at a best of 5/1 with BetFred.

The comparative strengths of the English and Belgian top flights has clearly influenced the odds setters but Antwerp are in good form coming into this game and momentum can always work in a team’s favour. They should look to be adventurous coming forward and, unlike Burnley, they can pose more of a threat in front of goal.

Side Markets

Harry Kane Tottenham
Harry Kane

Harry Kane was rested from the side that played Linz last time out and, with Carlos Vinicius providing two assists on his debut, that selection policy seems likely to continue. Kane remains favourite to open the scoring at 29/10 with Unibet and 888Sport while the same two bookmakers have Vinicius available at 19/5.

Tottenham players feature more heavily at the head of this market with Son Heung-Min up next at 4/1 with Betway. Gareth Bale, who was kept away from the action at Turf Moor on Monday night, is more likely to start in Belgium and the Welsh winger can be claimed at 19/4 with Unibet and 888Sport. Other, longer options from a Spurs perspective include Dele Alli at best odds of 7/1 with Betway and Lucas Moura at a top price of 15/2 with Unibet and 888Sport.

The first representative from Royal Antwerp is Lior Refaelov who is on offer at a best of 10/1 with 888Sport and Unibet while Ruben Geeraerts is just behind at a top price of 11/1 with GentingBet.

Antwerp have averaged three goals a game in their last five matches and that’s likely to have influenced the thinking behind this week’s Both Teams to Score market. BTTS is quoted at short best odds of 7/10 with GentingBet and Novibet while punters can get a top price of 5/4 by voting ‘no’ in this section. Unusually for Spurs, BTTS hasn’t dropped in either of our last two games so maybe it’s one to avoid at that 7/10 price,

Following on from those numbers, it’s no surprise to see similarly short figures in the Total Goals betting. Betway and BetFred are quoting 4/7 to go Over the 2.5 line while Over 3.5 looks more favourable at 7/5 with 10Bet and VBet.

As for a Correct Score bet, we are nervously edging towards a high scoring away win and, as such, a 3-1 scoreline in favour of Spurs could be worth a small wager at 21/2 with SportNation and RedZone. Those with a more pessimistic viewpoint could, alternatively, look at the 1-1 draw which is listed at 15/2 with GentingBet.

Who Are They?

Founded in 1880, Antwerp have won the Belgian top flight on four separate occasions but their last success came back in 1956/57.  Last season, the team known as ‘The Great Old’ finished in fourth place to claim their Europa League qualifying slot while they also won the Belgian national cup, beating Club Brugge by one goal to nil in the final.

That solitary goal was scored by Israeli International Lior Refaelov who, as we have seen, carries the shortest price for his team in the individual goal scorer betting. The 34 year old isn’t exactly prolific in front of goal but he’s scored four in 11 so far this season and may be the Belgians’ most likely threat.

We’ve yet to meet Antwerp in a competitive game but records list two previous pre season friendlies. In 1978, two goals from Ian Moores and a Glenn Hoddle penalty sealed a 3-1 away win while, two years earlier in 1976, we hosted the Belgians where Gerry Armstrong scored the equaliser in a 1-1 draw.

Verdict

While anything can, and often does happen with Spurs, this should be a comfortable 90 minutes in Belgium on Thursday. Antwerp are in decent form and shouldn’t be ruled out but, even with a second string side, we have the greater quality to justify those pre-match odds.

We’re not confident enough to bet in the match market however so will stay with some of our regular side bets. Over 3.5 goals looks a sound pick and it comes at a reasonable odds against price.

In contrast, Both Teams to Score looks too short this week so we’ll take the unusual step of backing two individual goal scorers. Lucas Moura gave us a return against Linz and the Brazilian has that strong record in Europe. Eight of his 26 goals for Spurs have come in European competition and that’s a much better ratio than his Premier League return.

Moura for an anytime goal is added to Gareth Bale to open the scoring so you can take one, or both, or you can ignore these suggestions completely. All that really matters is three points and a clean bill of health to take down to Brighton this weekend.

Best Bets:

  • Over 3.5 Goals at 7/5 with 10Bet
  • Lucas Moura to score any time in 90 minutes at 23/10 with 888Sport
  • Gareth Bale to score the first goal at 19/4 with Unibet

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