|By PAUL GOUGH
English club Newcastle United look a great bet to win on the road at crisis-hit Belgian outfit Club Brugge in the pick of the 24 Europa League matches being played on Thursday.
After a slow start to the season, the Magpies - fifth in the English Premier League last season - are beginning to re-capture their best form and could sew up a spot in the knockout stages of the Europa League with a win in Belgium.
The Geordie club head Group D with seven points, with Bordeaux in second on four points followed by Club Brugge on three and Maritimo on two.
Newcastle, who have beaten high-flying West Brom and secured tough away draws against Liverpool and Sunderland in their past three league games, beat Club Brugge 1-0 when the teams met in England earlier in the competition.
Yet despite that win, their good recent form and the fact that Club Brugge sacked their manager Georges Leekens following a surprise 1-0 home league loss to Zulte-Waregem last weekend, it is Newcastle that go into Thursday's match as underdogs.
The Geordies, who are yet to concede a goal in three matches in the Europa League so far, are great value at $2.98 to win the match at Betfair, with the home side paying $2.58 and the draw priced at $3.55.
Meanwhile, fellow English club Tottenham are hot favourites to finally get their Europa League campaign up and running in Group J with a home clash against Slovenian side Maribor.
Spurs are the $1.30 favourites at Betfair to record their first win in the Europa League this season - following on from three draws - despite being without key midfield duo Sandro and Moussa Dembele due to injury.
Maribor, who are in second place in the group with four points - one ahead of Spurs - are rank outsiders at $12.50, while the draw is paying $6.40.
In the other game in the group, leaders Lazio - on five points - face struggling Greek side Panathinaikos, with the Serie A club clear $1.55 favourites with Betfair.
|Newcastle Utd to win v Club Brugge at $2.98 at Betfair
||Lyon to win v Athletic Bilbao at $3.75 at Betfair|
Liverpool face a tough battle to maintain their lead in Group A when they travel to big-spending Russian club Anzhi.
The Reds are on six points after beating the Russian outfit - second in the group with four points - 1-0 at Anfield on matchday three, but Guus Hiddink's team are clear favourites to win at home.
They are paying $1.72 at Betfair, with Liverpool at $5.30 and the draw paying $4.20.
The other big clash on Thursday comes in Group I, when last year's runners-up Athletic Bilbao are facing elimination from the competition if they lose at home to in-form French team Lyon.
Bilbao have just one point from three games and are a distant 14th in La Liga.
*Note prices subject to change