Lazio to Land the Odds

  • By: Ben Coley
  • Last Updated: November 21 2012, 15:09 GMT

Papiss Cisse can score first for Newcastle

2pts Lazio to beat Tottenham at 6/4 (BetVictor).

1pt Papiss Cisse to score first v Maritimo at 7/2 (General).

Tottenham travel to Lazio in arguably the pick of Thursday's Europa League ties and it's the Italian side who look worth backing.

The Biancazzurri have been in good form at home lately, beating rivals Roma in a pulsating derby having earlier put three past Panathinaikos to move into pole position in Group J, and victory here would see them through as group winners.

With their next Serie A game not until next Tuesday, coach Vladimir Petkovic can name a strong side and attacking trio Miroslav Klose, Libor Kozak and Sergio Floccari are all firing in what's a strong attacking unit.

Spurs, on the other hand, have their problems. Back-to-back defeats to Manchester City at Arsenal of course don't represent a crisis but they do undermine what had previously been a fine away record, and a 5-2 loss at Arsenal will have hurt badly.

Andre Villas-Boas is determined to progress in this competition but is expected to rest William Gallas and with Steven Caulker carrying an injury, there could be a big hole at the heart of the visitors' defence.

Tottenham also host West Ham on Sunday and with that distraction firmly on the horizon I'd expected several chances to be made to a side who were chasing shadows for much of Saturday's North London derby.

Moussa Dembele was described as having a 50 per cent chance to make this game last week and his absence continues to hinder Spurs, and with only Atletico Madrid good enough to win a Europa League tie at the Stadio Olympico last year the hosts look a bet at odds-against.

Newcastle host Maritimo knowing victory will put them in a great position to top Group D and long odds-on quotes accurately reflect the fact that they should be good enough against a team who've won just once in 11 games.

However, instead of steaming into the hosts at odds-on I'll suggest a small wager on Papiss Cisse to score first.

The Senegal striker was forced to miss Saturday's defeat to Swansea after his national side invoked FIFA's five-day rule, forbidding any player who pulls out of their international squad from representing their club side soon after.

With that in mind he'll be fresh and raring to go, and with Shola Ameobi a doubt I expect boss Alan Pardew to recall Cisse in a game that he needs to win - Newcastle's final game is a tough-looking trip to Bordeaux.

Cisse endured a slow start to the season but has now scored in three of his last eight matches and against a side who shipped five goals at Porto earlier this month I'd expect him to have his share of chances.

Yohan Cabaye is missing for Newcastle and he'd have been a live competitor for first goalscorer honours so in his absence and against a poor side, 7/2 is a very fair price about Cisse.

Liverpool's future in the competition may well depend on what they do on Thursday when Swiss outfit Young Boys visit Anfield.

As I've written several times, opposing Liverpool on home soil is a pretty solid policy and 15/2 about Young Boys is very fair, particularly given that they've beaten Udinese twice in this competition already.

However, Brendan Rodgers is likely to name a very strong side for this as Liverpool's final group game is away at Udinese, and although I couldn't back them at the price I do expect them to edge past their opponents.

  • Preview posted at 1300 GMT on 21/11/2012.