Tottenham Hotspur v LASK Linz: Austrians Get Group Stage Underway
We’ve already played three games in this season’s Europa League but the competition is really only just starting. The group phase now comes into play and, first up in our section is a home tie with the Austrians of LASK Linz.
LASK, as they are more commonly known, finished fourth in the Austrian Bundesliga last season and it should be a comfortable night, but our generous defence will leave any side with the feeling that they’re in with a chance.
It all kicks off this Thursday at 8pm and here are our thoughts on the 90 minutes.
Both Giovani Lo Celso and Eric Dier sat out the weekend fixture but their issues are both thought to be minor. They are currently listed as doubts but both may make the subs’ bench at the very least. Elsewhere, Japhet Tanganga’s thigh problem is more serious and there is no date currently listed in terms of a return.
Otherwise, with no suspensions in place, Jose Mourinho has a full squad to select from as we get ready to welcome the Austrians to the new White Hart Lane.
Spurs are a long way clear in the outright betting markets with the best odds on the home win currently standing at 19/50 with Novibet. The draw is the next available option at a top price of 23/5 with VBet while victory for LASK Linz is quoted at a best of 31/4 with RedZone.
We’re facing an unknown quantity and that can always be dangerous but, with the exception of the first game away to Plovdiv, our Europa League campaign has been plain sailing so far. Clearly we should win it but, those looking to back Tottenham may want to seek better value in the side markets.
Five goals in three Europa League matches for Harry Kane sees our main striker take an obvious place at the summit of the first goalscorer betting. Harry is on offer at best odds of 13/5 with Unibet and 888Sport to open the scoring but will he start the game now that we have added Carlos Vinicius to our squad?
The odds setters certainly feel that the former Benfica man will get his chance as they’ve installed Vinicius as second favourite at a top price of 7/2 – also with Unibet and 888Sport. Son Heung-Min struck first on Sunday and he’s only just behind at a best of 4/1 with Betway.
Spurs’ players dominate this market with Gareth Bale next up at 17/4, followed by Dele Alli at 11/2, Steven Bergwijn at 6/1 and Lucas Moura at 13/2: Once again, all of those figures are with 888Sport and Unibet.
We have to go down a little further to find LASK Linz’s first representatives with both Andreas Gruber and Marko Raguz listed at best odds of 11/1 with Betway.
Even if Tottenham convert on their position as clear match favourites, there should be some scope for Both Teams to Score to drop in. Defence remains a concern and, with BTTS getting close to Even Money at a best of 5/6 with GentingBet, it seems to offer some decent value.
Neutral punters will also be eyeing up the total goals betting after Spurs’ recent escapades. A modest bet on Over 2.5 combined goals is predictably short at a top price of 5/9 with SportNation and RedZone while a push to Over 3.5 extends to 7/5 with the same two bookmakers.
Based on recent results, it could be a case of going higher this week and backing Over the 4.5 line which would return 16/5 with SportNation and RedZone once again.
As for our regular Correct Score bet, if the match goes to form then some optimistic neutrals may be looking at a 4-1 home win which is quoted at 69/4 with GentingBet. As Spurs fans, we know we should be a little more cautious and there could be some interest in the 2-2 draw which is on offer at best odds of 18/1 with GentingBet and VBet.
Who are They?
Founded in 1908, LASK have a long history in Austrian domestic football and it’s largely been a successful one. Much of that success has come in the post-war years with 1964/65 being notable as the club claimed the domestic league and cup double. The 1960s were the ‘golden years’ as far as LASK were concerned with a second place in the league together with three runners up slots in the Austrian Cup.
In more recent years, the club’s best performance came in 2018/19 when they finished as runners up to Red Bull Salzburg. In a division where Red Bull dominate, LASK are generally among those teams fighting for second place.
As we’ve seen from the betting markets, Andreas Gruber and Marko Raguz are considered to be the biggest threats to our defence on Thursday night. Of the two, Raguz is more of an out and out forward and, while his overall return for LASK is a modest one, the 22 year old has scored six goals in his first seven games of the 2020/21 campaign.
Gruber, on the other hand, is regularly deployed on the wing. Having transferred across from the dissolved Mattersburg in the summer, he’s also been in good touch with four goals in seven so far this season. There is, therefore, some threat in the ranks and both men will be hopeful of breaching our defence on Thursday night.
The Europa League has this tendency to produce opponents who are unknown quantities. There are no head to head stats so we can only go by the relative strengths of the respective divisions. Of course we should win, but even if we were convinced enough to back a positive result, those victory odds of 19/50 are just too short for comfort.
Instead, we will conclude with our usual round of prop bets and we’ll start with Lucas Moura to score anytime. Like one of our former Brazilian players, Paulinho, Moura divides opinion but he does have this tendency to produce important goals.
The goal-feasts of recent games aren’t guaranteed to continue but we’ll get behind a high scoring game by backing Over the 4.5 line. Finally, while it would be nice to see a clean sheet, the Both Teams to Score wager could be relatively safe in the light of recent form.
- Lucas Moura to score any time in 90 minutes at 2/1 with Unibet
- Both Teams to Score at 5/6 with GentingBet
- Over 4.5 Goals at 16/5 with SportNation