Tottenham remain 9/1 frontrunners of the 48 teams competing in the Europa League group stage despite being drawn in a quartet that will see them clock up more air miles than the Wright brothers.
Last season’s quarter-finalists will be travelling to Russia, Moldova and Norway as part of their Group K assignment to take on Anzhi, FC Sheriff Tiraspol and Tromso.
While the intense journeys may diminish Spurs’ energy levels for the Premier League games that follow, progress should be seamless, as reflected by their 1/4 group winner odds.
Anzhi are the most established of their adversaries, but were eliminated by Newcastle in the round-of-16 last term and will be severely weakened by the cost cutting that has seen Willian and Samuel Eto’o join Chelsea.
A slightly more gruelling workout awaits Swansea if they are to maximise their Europa League opportunity by reaching the knockout rounds.
Michael Laudrup’s Swans were shoved into Group A alongside former Champions League regulars Valencia. Kuban Krasnodar and St Gallen appear unintimidating makeweights; however the duo just eliminated Feyenoord and Spartak Moscow.
The Welsh club, 40/1 long shots to win the competition, are worth considering at 4/1 to top the group, though Valencia’s billing as 4/7 favourites is no huge surprise.
It is unclear to what extent Wigan intend to embrace the Europa League, with Championship promotion unquestionably the top priority, but a generous draw is an incentive to perhaps lure them in.
The Latics – 5/1 to top Group D and 150/1 to lift the trophy – are unlikely to finish above 9/20-rated Rubin Kazan yet should deem Zulte-Waregem and NK Maribor vanquishable foes.
Unless you are really convinced by a squad’s quality, depth and focus, you would arguably be better backing them in their respective group winner market rather than outright at this stage. That’s because three of the past five champions entered via the Champions League fire escape in December. Odds of 5/2 are offered on one of the eight Tuesday and Wednesday night dropouts delivering again.