Newcastle can book their place in the last-32 of the Europa League with victory over Maritimo at St James' Park on Thursday night. The Magpies are currently sitting pretty at the top of Group D after taking eight points from their four games in the competition so far and they are firm favourites against Maritimo who are bottom with two points.
Maritimo have endured a tough time of it in Europe and it is no surprise to see that they are 11/2 underdogs in the match odds with Ladbrokes, who make Newcastle 2/5 favourites. The draw is priced 3/1 but Newcastle manager Alan Pardew will have his eye on all three points as they look to book their place in the knockout stages with a game to spare.
Newcastle's efforts in Europe have been in stark contrast to their Premier League form as they lost consecutive home games for the first time since 2010. They went down 2-1 to Swansea at the weekend, a result which leaves them down in 12th place in the table, and they are now winless in their last four matches in all competitions.
It is a far cry from their excellent form of last season but they should still have enough for Maritimo as they look to enhance their record of having suffered only one defeat in their last 14 European outings. Their efforts in the Europa League so far this season have been based on a strong defence as they have kept three clean sheets in four and the 11/8 for them to win to nil looks decent value.
That industry best price looks even better when you consider that Maritimo have managed to score only one goal in the competition so far and they have lost both of their away games without scoring. Furthermore, the Portuguese side have failed to score in three of their last four outings in all competitions and the only goal they managed came from the penalty spot.
Maritimo, who are 12th in the Portuguese League, are generally pretty strong at the back though and 15 of their 17 games this season have gone under 2.5 goals, with under 2.5 goals this week available at 10/11 with Ladbrokes bookmakers. Newcastle have enough quality to nick a win and it will be interesting to see who Pardew selects up front.
Demba Ba is 7/2 joint-favourite to score first after notching eight goals this season, while Papiss Cisse, who has scored three this term, is available at the same price. Pardew likes to rotate his strikers for the Europa League though and Shola Ameobi looks a decent punt at 5/1 and the big forward has scored a couple of goals in this competition already.
Ameobi will be keen to cement a regular place in the team and he could help Newcastle to victory against a Maritimo side that have won just one of their last 11 outings. The Portuguese side lack the firepower to cause Newcastle problems and the Magpies are a best price 11/2 to win 2-0 in the correct score market.
Newcastle v Maritimo Form
Check the season's statistics for both Newcastle and Maritimo, plus the odds ahead of Thursday's match.
Newcastle v Maritimo Tips
Tip #1: Newcastle to win 2-0 @ 11/2 with Ladbrokes.
Tip #2: Shola Ameobi to score first @ 5/1 with Ladbrokes.
Tip #3: Under 2.5 goals @ 10/11 with Ladbrokes.
Correct Score Odds
11/2 Newcastle 1-0
11/2 Newcastle 2-0
8/1 Newcastle 2-1
8/1 Draw 0-0
8/1 Draw 1-1
25/1 Draw 2-2
18/1 Maritimo 1-0
45/1 Maritimo 2-0
25/1 Maritimo 2-1
First Goalscorer Odds
7/2 Demba Ba
7/2 Papiss Cisse
5/1 Shola Ameobi
13/2 Sammy Ameobi
7/1 Bradden Inman
7/1 Hatem Ben Arfa
8/1 No Goalscorer
10/1 Philippe Fidelis
10/1 Danilo Dias
Odds supplied by Ladbrokes.com, who offer live betting in-running for all Europa League matches.
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