Europa League Final: Sevilla vs. Inter Milan Predictions
Sevilla vs. Inter Milan
When: Friday, August 21, at 3 p.m.
Where: RheinEnergie Stadion, Cologne, Germany
TV: CBS Sports Network
Point Spread: Sevilla +0.5/Inter -0.5
Moneyline: Sevilla +240/Inter +115/Draw +240
Total: Over 2.5 (+100)/Under 2.5 (-134)
To Win the Trophy: Sevilla +120/Inter -167
(Get the best soccer betting lines at 5dimes )
Last Time Out:
Sevilla defeated Manchester United 2-1; Inter Milan routed Shakhtar Donetsk 5-0.
The sides have never played a competitive match in their history.
About the Matchup:
The Europa League isn’t the big prize that the Champions League is, but it’s still a significant trophy worth $4.7 million and a chance to compete against the Champions League winner to the winning side. Sevilla are no strangers to the Europa League final, as they’re playing in this match for the fourth time in seven years and the sixth time overall. Once they get to this level, they’ve proven adept at finishing the job, as they boast a 5-0 mark in the Europa League final.
Inter Milan has long been thought of as one of the giants of European soccer, but in recent years, they’ve found themselves struggling to break through and win a trophy as Juventus has passed them as Italy’s top side. This is the deepest that the Grass Snakes have been in European competition since 2011, which was also the last time that Inter won a trophy of any kind. Can they finally break through and beat Sevilla at what has become the Spaniards’ game?
Truth be told, Sevilla is a little lucky to be here. Manchester United absolutely dominated their semifinal match, but the Red Devils ran into a wall in goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, who made six saves and only allowed a penalty to Bruno Fernandes to beat him. Manchester United further hurt its own cause by wasting chance after chance, while Sevilla took advantage of its opportunities by connecting on its crosses and punishing United’s leaky defense.
That’s not likely to work against Inter, which has been one of the stingiest defenses in the competition. In order to beat this defense, Sevilla needs to get Lucas Ocampos to find open space and take advantage of his chances. The Argentine was Sevilla’s top scorer in La Liga this year, scoring 14 goals against Spanish competition. Still, the only goal he’s scored in the Europa League was the marker that lifted Sevilla past Wolverhampton Wanderers in the quarterfinals.
Sevilla might have the best player coming off the bench in super-sub Munir El Haddadi, but by the time he gets on the pitch, it might be too late to rescue the match. If there’s one thing that Inter knows how to do, it’s play with a lead, so Sevilla has to find a way to get the first goal.
Scouting Inter Milan:
When it comes to defense, nobody has done it better than Inter Milan. Since dropping to the Europa League after finishing third in its Champions League group, Inter has been incredibly stingy, giving up just two goals in five matches. Given that one of those was to a Bayer Leverkusen side that found a way to get past Bayern Munich’s vaunted defense twice, it’s pretty apparent that it takes a lot to score on this side.
But Inter is much more than a strong defensive side. Whether it’s been in Serie A or in the Europa League, Romelu Lukaku has had an excellent season for Inter, scoring 23 goals in Serie A and six goals in the Europa League. He’s really been at his best since coming to Germany, as he’s scored four goals in the past three matches to help see his side into the final. Like Sevilla, Inter also has an Argentine scorer in Lautaro Martinez, who scored twice in the win over Donetsk and was option no. 2 throughout the season for Inter. He might be called on again to find the net if Sevilla focuses on trying to keep Lukaku from providing the difference.
Dan’s Best Bets:
It’s tough to go against Sevilla’s pedigree in this tournament, but I think this is Inter’s time to finally claim a title. Inter has looked much better in recent matches and has shut out five of its past six opponents, and scoring is not really something Sevilla does all that well.
As such, I like Inter to win to nil at +250. It’s never easy to take a team to win to nil in the final of a major tournament, but I think Inter has the defense to do the job, and I was very impressed by how easily they dismissed Donetsk in the semifinals. Sevilla did score twice on Manchester United, but United doesn’t have the defense that Inter does. When you can shut out the likes of Atalanta on the road, as Inter did in Serie A, you’re doing something right.
That’s why, if you want to get aggressive, you might want to back Inter to win this match with under 2.5 goals scored at +340. Four of Inter’s past seven games have resulted in two goals or fewer, and given that five of Sevilla’s previous six matches have featured two goals or less, there’s a lot of value in taking the under here.
Finally, Lukaku is hot right now, and you’re getting +110 for him to find the net at any point in the match. Any time that you can get plus money on a man who’s scored more than a goal per game, it’s a reasonable idea to grab that bet.
Dan’s Score Prediction:
I don’t expect a wide-open affair here. Inter is too good on defense and isn’t likely to allow the set pieces that Sevilla burned Manchester United with, which should choke off the biggest threat they’ll face. I expect Inter to get a first-half goal and then spend the rest of the match in firm control before icing this with a second goal late.
Throw in that Inter has scored exactly two goals in four of its past five matches (and it would have been five of six if not for Lukaku putting in a third goal in the final minute of the game against Genoa), and I’ve got my pick. I’ll take Inter to claim the Europa League title by a 2-0 count at +950.