Europa League Picks: Best Bets for Manchester United-Barcelona, More

The second leg of any knockout round can be like the wild, wild west.

Thursday's UEFA Europa League knockout round playoffs should possess plenty of drama after very little was decided in the eight opening legs last week.

Manchester United and FC Barcelona are locked at two goals apiece in the marquee matchup in knockout round playoffs, but that is just the start of the exciting storylines.

Juventus, Bayer Leverkusen, Roma and Ajax are all either trailing or tied in their two-legged series.

Some bets are easier to make because you know what teams need to advance to the round of 16, so for example, betting the Roma money line does not make sense when it needs two goals to win, so a spread bet makes more sense if you believe Jose Mourinho's side will bounce back from defeat in Austria last week.

That is just one of the scenarios in play for Thursday's slate, which could see the lead change multiple times in each series.

Europa League Picks

Overall Soccer Record: 86-87

Midtjylland vs. Sporting Lisbon (-115) (12:45 p.m. ET)

Sporting Lisbon had one of the most disappointing results last week.

The Portuguese side drew at home with Midtjylland, who is viewed as one of the weaker sides left in the competition.

Sporting does not have to worry about the away goals rule, so it just needs a one-goal win to advance into the round of 16.

The Danish side has two wins in 11 games in Europe this season, while Sporting got two key results in the UEFA Champions League group stage in the form of a draw against Tottenham and a win over Eintracht Frankfurt, both of whom advanced to the UCL knockout round.

Monaco vs. Bayer Leverkusen (12:45 p.m. ET)

Over 2.5 Goals (-150)

Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen played the highest-scoring first leg with five goals between them.

Monaco worked its way back into the contest from 2-1 down to win 3-2, but the job is not done yet for the principality side.

Leverkusen rested its starters over the weekend to focus on the second leg at the Stade Louis II. The German side could get a huge boost in the form of Patrik Schick, who returned to the field last week after a four-month layoff.

Schick and Florian Wirtz will be crucial to Leverkusen's success with Moussa Diaby out injured. Monaco has two terrific scorers in its own right in Wissam Ben Yedder and Breel Embolo.

We should see another wide-open contest with Leverkusen pushing from the start, and with that in mind, I have no problem paying the extra juice on the over.

Roma (-1.5; +195) vs. RB Salzburg (3 p.m. ET)

If you think Roma will beat RB Salzburg, the better angle is to bet on the Roma spread.

Not only do you get more value on that prop, but you are also betting on the exact result Roma needs to advance to the round of 16.

Roma needs to make up a one-goal deficit from last week, so if you do simple math, it has to win by two goals to stay alive.

Jose Mourinho's side won five of its last six home games, and it produced a clean sheet in each of those victories.

Rennes (-1.5; +175) vs. Shakhtar Donetsk (3 p.m. ET)

Follow the same thought process with Roma for Rennes.

The French side is down one goal to Shakhtar Donetsk, but it has hope because of how incredible its home form has been.

Rennes is 12-2-2 at home across all competitions and it has six multi-goal victories. Rennes bagged two or more goals in 12 of its 16 home games.

I'm riding with the spread over the money line and Rennes' team total because of the value it carries.

Manchester United vs. Barcelona (3 p.m. ET)

Over 2.5 Goals (-120)

The first leg between Manchester United and Barcelona produced four goals.

Do not be surprised if the match is as wide open as last week's affair because of the stakes in play.

Manchester United may have an easier time breaking down Barcelona because Pedri is out injured.

United's Marcus Rashford is the most in-form striker in the world right now and Robert Lewandowski should be involved in a handful of Barcelona's chances.

I think the fast-paced nature of this game breeds chances and we get a few goals from the stars, just like we saw a week ago.

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