|By PAUL GOUGH
Lazio are fantastic value to win away against English rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the pick of the 24 Europa League ties being played on Thursday [Friday morning Australian time], as the group stages of this year's competition get underway.
The Spurs-Lazio clash at White Hart Lane pits the two-time winners of this competition in Tottenham against 1998 runners-up Lazio, with both clubs under new managers in Andre Villas-Boas and Vladimir Petkovic respectively.
But while Villa-Boas, who lasted just eight months at Chelsea last season before being sacked, has made a difficult start to life at his second London club, Petkovic has Lazio flying.
The Rome club has a perfect record of three wins from three matches in Serie A this season to be sitting third on the table and trailing reigning champions Juventus by goal difference only.
In contrast big-spending Spurs, who finished fourth in the EPL last season but missed out on a place in the Champions League after Chelsea won the competition, have been struggling domestically.
While Spurs finally recorded their first win of the season on Saturday when they beat newly-promoted Reading, they have picked up just five points in four games and are in tenth spot in the EPL.
And Spurs have been shaky at home after conceding late equalisers to battlers Norwich and West Brom in their only two home league games this season, while Lazio have been superb on the road and have already beaten both Chievo and Atalanta away from home in Serie A.
Luxbet's Andy Scott said Spurs have been well-backed due to the home factor but, given the two club's respective starts to the season, then surely both the draw and a Lazio win are better value bets.
|Liverpool to win v Young Boys Bern at $2.40 at Luxbet
||Lazio to win v Tottenham at $4.10 at Luxbet|
Another English club that has endured a shaky start to life under a new manager in the Premier League in Liverpool under Brendan Rodgers have also been well-backed to win their opening group game away to Swiss club Young Boys.
Liverpool, who share the record with Italian clubs Inter Milan and Juventus for most triumphs in this competition with three apiece, are yet to win four league matches this season and find themselves in an embarrassing 17th place and just above the relegation zone.
But the Reds should enjoy the drop in class against the Swiss side and have been well-backed to win on the road at Luxbet at $2.40, with the home side at $2.80 and the draw at $3.05.
Inter Milan also start their campaign for a record fourth Europa League title on Thursday and are hot favourites at $1.83 to win at home against Russian club Rubin Kazan, while a third English club in Newcastle have been well-supported but are underdogs at $3 to win away at Portuguese club Maritimo, who are favourites at $2.25 at Luxbet.
*Note prices subject to change