As usual team news is vital because even at this stage some will rest stars, especially those going for league titles or Champions League slots.
Two side being heavily backed are Anzhi and Fenerbahce and I can see why. A lot of eyes will be on Anzhi as the big-spending Russians tackle Hannover at home. Samuel Eto'o will lead the line butnothere will be a start for £30million man Willian who has been signed from Shakhtar Donetsk but is cup-tied.
Anzhi of course are in the middle of a break but if they can hit the ground running they should win by a couple of goals against rivals missing skipper Konstantin Rausch and striker Wellinton. They are 8-11 with William Hill and BetVictor.
There's been plenty of money on Fenerbahce who have taken the likes of former Liverpool stars Dirk Kuyt and Raul Meireles to Turkey. BATE have lost four in a row in Europe and could struggle against a side who won away to Borussia M'gladbach and Marseille in qualifying. Take the Turks at 9-5 with Paddy Power.
Ajax performed well in the Champions League to finish third behind Dortmund and Real Madrid and ahead of Man City. They will want to go all the way as the Europa League final is in their stadium and they should win at home to Steaua. The Dutch are 4-7 at bet365 and BetVictor.
Ukraine teams always take the tournament seriously and Dynamo Kiev should take care of Bordeaux at home. Kiev have decent attackers in the shape of Andriy Yarmolenko and Oleg Gusev and are 10-11 with William Hill and others to notch a home win.
Atletico Madrid are one of those sides who will rest players with top scorer Falcao for example unlikely to start. The Spaniards have won 11 out of 12 at home so should win at 4-9 (various) against Rubin Kazan but there are no guarantees.
It won't be easy for Inter Milan at home to Cluj especially if they rotate their stars. However, home advantage should edge it in favour of the Italians and back Diego Milito to score at 21-20 with sportingbet.
Napoli have treated this tournament seriously and of course Edison Cavani netted four in the group stage against Dnipro. If he starts back him to score first at 9-2 (various) and Napoli are no bigger than 8-15 at BetVictor against Viktoria Plzen.
Lazio have played strong line-ups throughout and are likely to do the same at Borussia M'gladbach. The Italians will miss injured striker Miroslav Klose but will look to in-form Sergio Floccari for goals. This could be a draw with both on target.
Stuttgart have made a stuttering return to action in the Bundesliga with four defeats and could be in trouble against a decent Genk outfit who have scored in their last 12 away games in the tournament, with 11 of them seeing both net. Again take both to score.
And so what of the English sides. It's almost surreal but Metalist Kharkiv warmed up for their tie at Newcastle with a friendly against Whitley Bay as they try to get up to scratch during their winter break.
Metalist were impressive in the group stage while Newcastle have been lifted by moves during the transfer window that saw five French players arrive on Tyneside. However, Alan Pardew's focus will be on the Premier League and this could be a draw.
Ukraine teams always take the tournament seriously and Dynamo Kiev should take care of Bordeaux at home. Kiev have decent attackers in the shape of Andriy Yarmolenko and Oleg Gusev and are 10-11 at William Hill and bet365 to notch a home win.
Spurs are the only English side who don't face a team in the middle of a break. They host Lyon at White Hart Lane in a tie they start as 5-6 favourites with Stan James.
Andres Villas-Boas has fielded strong sides throughout the tournament and if he does so again you'd expect the Londoners to edge a victory. Man of the moment Gareth Bale, with goals in his last four games, is 6-4 (Stan James) to score at any time and 6-1 with Coral to net first.
Anyone who backed Liverpool against West Brom on Monday will fancy the chances of Zenit at home to the Reds. The Russians, 13-10 (various), have quality throughout the side and should beat an outfit that missed Daniel Sturridge more than they should have in the defeat to the Baggies.
Chelsea would love to still be in the Champions League but beggars can't be choosers so the European champions head for Sparta Prague and should show their class. The Blues, however, are only a biggest 8-11 at bet365 and BetVictor and I wanted neared evens.
Ajax (6pm), Anzhi (5pm), Napoli (6pm)
Pays 3-1 at BetVictor
(9-5, Paddy Power)
Both Teams To Score
Bayer v Benfica (6pm)
Atletico Madrid v Rubin Kazan (8.05pm)
Basel v Dnipro (8.05pm)
Stuttgart v Genk (8.05pm)
Pays £107.20 to a £10 stake at Ladbrokes
First scorer double
Cavani (Napoli, 6pm)
Bale (Spurs, 8.05pm)
Pays a biggest £195 at Ladbrokes to a £10 stake