With a place in the last 16 round at stake, Juventus will host Nantes in the first leg of their Europa League playoffs tie on Thursday evening at Allianz Stadium. I Bianconeri will be hoping to translate their fine domestic form to the continental competition as they are looking to bring an advantage to France in the rematch scheduled in seven days.
Nantes will also enter the game on a high, though. They have managed back-to-back clean sheet wins over Ajaccio and Lorient in the previous two Ligue 1 affairs to move up to the 13th in the league table. They are now ten points above the red zone and the relegation scrap is behind Antoine Kombouare and his troops, despite a sloppy kick-off to the season. Can they use this momentum to leave Turin undefeated on Thursday? Let’s take a look at our top betting picks and predictions for this game.
Juventus vs Nantes Betting Tips
Juventus have gone through a very difficult period in the last couple of months. They were deducted 15 points by the Italian football federation to drop into the bottom half of the Serie A standings straight from the potential Scudetto challenge. Massimiliano Allegri had a very tough task to find motivation for his players who will not see a European competition next season unless they go all the way in Europa League this term.
Nevertheless, Juventus have managed to find some sort of rhythm just in time for this clash with Nantes. They will go into this on the back of three consecutive victories without shipping a single goal in the process. I Bianconeri dispatched Lazio to qualify for the Coppa Italia semifinal at the start of this run. Juve could struggle to get things going at the opposite end here, though, since Nantes have been extremely tough to break down lately. Les Canaris have kept seven clean sheets in eight Ligue 1 affairs since the World Cup break.
Both outfits have been very tough to break down lately
Both Juventus and Nantes have done superbly in defense in recent matches and we do not have many reasons to expect a high-scoring affair when they come across each other. Massimiliano Allegri’s troops still boast one of the best defensive records in Serie A with 17 goals allowed in 22 matches and they will enter this on the back of three consecutive clean sheets in all competitions. Nantes, on the other side, kept their net untouched in seven of the previous eight league outings. We can see great value in backing the Under 2.5 goals FT pick at the 9/10 odds.
Juve should find a way for a narrow win in the first leg
The bookies see Juventus as firm favorites, pricing them at 4/11 to claim the victory in this first leg in Turin. Indeed, I Bianconeri do own a much greater experience in European competitions and we do believe it could do them a favor on Thursday. Nonetheless, we by no means expect any kind of drubbing knowing how good Nantes have been at the back in their recent outings. Last but not least, we should mention that Juventus saw off Nantes 2-0 in the home leg of their Champions League semifinal back in 1996. We will go for the 1-0 scoreline this time around, a bet paid at the 5/1 odds at the moment.