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Marseille vs. Salzburg - 4/26/18 UEFA Europa League Soccer Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Game
Salzburg vs. Marseille
Date & Time Thursday April 26, 2018, 7:00 PM (EDT)
The Line
The Line: Salzburg +450 / Marseille -150 / Draw +310 -- Over/Under: 2.5
TV Channel
ESPN3
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Soccer | Salzburg vs. Marseille
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Marseille and Salzburg meet Thursday in the soccer UEFA Europa League semifinals at Stade Velodrome.

Marseille has been a tough team to play at home and has several players who can put the ball in the back of the net, as The Phocians enter this tournament with four double-digit scorers this season. When Marseille is aggressive offensively, its more than capable of winning matches in blowout fashion if you’re not careful. The downside with Marseille and the main reason many aren’t quick to back them the rest of the way is sloppy defense. Marseille rarely gets a clean sheet and it doesn’t help that goalie Steve Mandanda is expected to miss six weeks due to a thigh injury. We’re too deep in the tournament and clubs are too explosive to have a squad not capable of getting stops, and that really hurts Marseille’s chances moving forward. Florian Thauvin leads Marseille with 22 goals, Lucas Ocampos has 16 goals and Valere Germain has 16 goals. 

Salzburg enters the semifinals with the worst odds to win the tournament, but after making big comebacks multiple times and playing with house money, nobody is stupid enough to overlook the Red Bulls at this point. Salzburg is a confident bunch that believes its never out of a match and has a young player in Valon Berisha, who can be deadly when he gets a look at the net. The downside with Salzburg are the clear defensive issues, as Lazio let them up for five goals in two matches and teams can get way too comfortable against this club at times. Despite beating Lazio 4-1 in the second leg, Salzburg allowed four shots on target and seven shot attempts overall in just 41 percent possession. Berisha has 13 goals, Hannes Wolf has 12 goals and Fredrik Gulbrandsen has 16 goals. 

These teams played twice last year with the December meeting resulting in a 0-0 draw and Salzburg winning in September, 1-0. The meeting back in December produced a combined six shots on goal.

The over may be worth a look here based on the defensive form of both clubs. However, Marseille is a handful to deal with in its home stadium and is simply the better team overall no matter how you slice it. Salzburg is kind of lucky to be here in the first place and can’t rely on miracles forever. 

I like Marseille to get the victory.

Pick:
Marseille

Randy Chambers has been with Sports Chat Place since 2014 and covers everything from the NFL to WNBA and tennis. Nobody works harder in this business in terms of content produced and amount of sports covered. Formerly a lead college football writer with Bleacher Report and has had his work featured at Fox Sports, CBS Sports and various other outlets.

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