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Hoffenheim has had a forgettable 2020-21 German Bundesliga season thus far, as it sits in 12th place with 23 points on the strength of six wins and five draws in 21 matches. The team fared much better in the group stage of the 2020-21 UEFA Europa League, finishing first in Group L with five victories and a draw for 16 points. Hoffenheim hopes to remain unbeaten in the competition when it takes on 2020 Norwegian Eliteserien runner-up Molde in the first leg of the 2020-21 UEFA Europa League Round of 32 on Thursday. 

Hoffenheim vs. Molde is one of 16 first-leg matches on Thursday, with the second leg of the 2020-21 UEFA Europa League Round of 32 taking place next week. Dynamo Kiev vs. Brugge opens the slate at 10 a.m. ET, followed by eight matches at 12:55 p.m. ET and seven at 3 p.m. ET. Before locking in any 2021 UEFA Europa League picks for any matches on Thursday, make sure you see what SportsLine's European soccer guru Martin Green has to say.

After working in the sports betting industry for several years, Green became a professional sports writer and handicapper. Since then, his European soccer picks have been spot-on. In fact, Green has generated over $16,900 for $100 bettors since the 2017-18 season.

Now, Green has analyzed Thursday's UEFA Europa League action and locked in his top picks. He's sharing his best bets only at SportsLine.

Top Europa League predictions for Thursday, Feb. 18

One of Green's best bets for Thursday: He's expecting both teams to get on the scoresheet (-170) in the RB Salzburg vs. Villareal match.

RB Salzburg failed to advance past the group stage in the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League, finishing with one win and one tie in six matches. But it has been tearing it up in the Austrian Bundesliga since being blanked by Atletico Madrid 2-0 on Dec. 9 in its final Champions League outing. 

Salzburg is riding a five-game winning streak during which it has outscored its opponents 15-3 and has produced at least two tallies in seven straight matches. Villarreal, which is sixth in the Spanish Primera Division standings, was first in Group I in the 2020-21 UEFA Europa League as it recorded 17 goals in its six contests.

"This should be an entertaining game between two teams blessed with a wealth of attacking talent," Green told SportsLine. "Salzburg is strong on attack, but it is not so hot defensively, and that should allow Villarreal to create plenty of chances."

How to make Europa League picks for Thursday, Feb. 18

Green also is high on a team that is in the midst of a lengthy unbeaten streak and "has dangerous forwards." He has discovered a critical X-factor that has him backing this club and is only sharing who it is over at SportsLine

So what are the Europa League best bets for Thursday? And what critical X-factor makes one team a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to get the top picks for the UEFA Europa League, all from the expert who has generated over $16,900 since the 2017-18 season.