A comprehensive 2-0 victory over Wolfsburg ensured Everton qualified for the last-32 of the Europa League as Group H winners.
Their performances in the pre-Christmas pool suggest Roberto Martinez is regarding the competition as an opportunity, not a hindrance, to land an elusive Champions League place next season and they rate as an excellent bet to go and get it.
The Toffees are 16/1 joint third-favourites to hoist the trophy, with Tottenham’s 14/1 the second-shortest price behind the 7/4 for ‘any other team’ to drop out of the Champions League and win it.
But based on their showings so far, Everton rank as good a wager as any in the Europa League outright market.
A tough-looking group has been navigated with consummate ease.
Victory at Wolfsburg was the Bundesliga club’s first loss on the homestead since March.
Currently sitting second in the German top tier, Dieter Hecking’s men shipped six goals in two matches with the Blues, while universally lauded clean-sheet keepers Lille were hit for three at Goodison Park.
A potential banana skin in deepest, darkest Krasnodar was dodged despite a largely second-string side being fielded too.
Their boss has previous when it comes to long-odds cup wins.
In beating Manchester City in the 2012/13 FA Cup final, Spanish tactician Martinez guided Wigan to their first major trophy triumph.
Their win was even more miraculous when factors such as they conceded just one goal following their 1-1 third round draw with Bournemouth, which was the only match of the entire campaign that was contested at home, are considered.
Champions League ‘drop-outs’ haven’t fared so well in the consolation competition of late.
Eight of the previous 12 names to be etched onto the trophy were all in the draw for the initial group stage, including three of the past four.
One of Roma and Man City, as well as Liverpool, are the biggest hitters facing demotion to the Europa League, the other names parachuting in for the knockout stage should hold no fear for those vying to occupy the highest point of the podium in May.