A throat infection might have ruled Wayne Rooney out of Manchester United’s Europa League second leg against Ajax at Old Trafford tomorrow evening, but odds of 37/100 for a home victory indicate the Red Devils should still have more than enough to progress to the last 16.
Even so, there are a number of factors which suggest there could still be value in betting on the draw on the night at 7/2.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side built a 2-0 lead in the first leg in Amsterdam thanks to goals from Ashley Young and Javier Hernandez and Ajax’s away record this season appears to rule out a comeback for the Dutch side.
United’s lack of strength in depth has been exposed on a number of occasions this season, perhaps most notably in a 3-2 defeat by Blackburn at Old Trafford when Jones, Hernandez and Nani all featured.
Frank de Boer’s men have won just six of their 12 away matches in the Eredivisie and only scored in two of the three games on their travels in Europe.
As such, the odds 15/2 for an Ajax win quoted in bwin’s 3Way football betting market should perhaps be avoided, even if Ferguson plans to rotate his squad.
Phil Jones, Nani, Young, Hernandez, Tom Cleverley and Chris Smalling, all of whom have been missing from the first team to varying degrees in recent weeks, are set to be given game time.
But while the quality of those players should ensure United avoid defeat and progress to the next round, victory on the night is far from a foregone conclusion.
After all, United’s lack of strength in depth has been exposed on a number of occasions this season, perhaps most notably in a 3-2 defeat by Blackburn at Old Trafford when Jones, Hernandez and Nani all featured.
It should also be pointed out that United dropped points twice in three home games in their failed Champions League group campaign earlier this year, with both failures coming in matches in which Rooney was absent through injury.
And Ajax looked more than capable of scoring against the reigning Premier League champions in the first half of last week’s first leg, even if United assumed control as the match wore on.
This means that Ajax are good bets to score at the very least, with odds of 39/50 looking short for a side which bagged four at the weekend.
And with United far from full strength, a bet on Ajax to scramble a draw could yet pay off at 7/2.
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