European Soccer Betting Preview, February 8-12: Top Clubs Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich Need to Bounce Back
Getty Images. Pictured: Atletico Madrid celebrating a goal against Real Madrid last summer
- Many top clubs around Europe struggled last weekend and will need to bounce back, including PSG, Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid.
- The marquee matchup of the weekend is undoubtedly Atletico Madrid-Real Madrid (Saturday, 10:15 a.m. ET), but there are other notable battles including Fiorentina-Napoli (Saturday, 12 p.m. ET) and Dortmund-Hoffenheim (Saturday, 9:30 a.m. ET).
There were plenty of surprises around Europe last week with PSG, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan all losing as favorites, while Barcelona and Juventus both had to settle for draws.
Below I’ve broken down the betting market across Spain, Italy and Germany, as well as taking a look at other leagues around Europe including France and Portugal.
Spain La Liga
In last weekend’s La Liga action, Real Madrid made up ground at the top of the table and are now just eight points behind Barcelona and two points behind Atletico Madrid. Current odds to win the title are Barcelona -800, Atletico Madrid +900 and Real Madrid +1000.
The schedule at this time of year is jam-packed with tournaments, and Real Madrid just played a Copa del Rey semifinal vs. Barcelona (1-1 draw). The top three Spanish clubs all have Champions League Round of 16 matches coming up, too, so there’s plenty to think about during February.
The marquee matchup this weekend happens to be Atletico Madrid against Real Madrid, a game with massive implications for the rest of the season. Atletico (+145) are the slight favorites over Real (+215), but a draw may not be the worst result for either squad, especially if Barcelona drop points. So far there has been very little line movement since odds opened, but I’d definitely lean toward the draw (+230).
Barcelona will face a tough test on the road at Athletic Bilbao, and they may consider resting Leo Messi, at least for part of the match. He’s coming off a 30-minute appearance in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday night and they’ll need to be careful with Lyon on the Champions League schedule for Feb. 19th.
The biggest line moves in La Liga this weekend have been on Huesca (+330), Valencia (-120) and Levante (+275). I’m certainly intrigued by the odds on Huesca to win, as well as the Espanyol-Rayo Vallecano draw (+265).
Italy Serie A
In last weekend’s Serie A matches, Juventus drew, Napoli won and Inter Milan lost, leaving Juventus just nine points clear of Napoli at the top of Serie A.
In a strange twist of events after deadline day, Napoli striker Marek Hamsik may not be going to China just yet, since the clubs have been unable to agree on financial terms. Hamsik is the club’s all-time leading scorer with 121 goals and would be an enormous loss for the rest of the season.
Toward the bottom of the table, Bologna responded after sacking their head coach by beating Inter Milan, 1-0, as +850 road underdogs. On Sunday, they find themselves as slight +130 home favorites against Genoa and will hope to earn another three points to get out of the relegation zone.
Bettors have been privy toward all the big favorites this week, causing line movement on Roma (-155), Juventus (-170), Atalanta (-335) and Sampdoria (-185).
Dortmund surprisingly gained a point on Bayern Munich last weekend and are back to being -130 title favorites. They now possess a seven-point lead over both Bayern and Monchengladbach for Bundesliga supremacy.
This weekend, Bayern Munich are the biggest favorites (-440 vs. Schalke), while Dortmund (-140) have a more difficult home match against Hoffenheim.
Bettors aren’t as enamored with the favorites in the Bundesliga like they are in Serie A, and all the biggest odds movement has gone toward the underdogs: Hoffenheim (+375), Schalke (+1350) and Frankfurt (+340).
I tend to agree with the line shifting toward Hoffenheim, but not so much on Schalke or Frankfurt.
Other leagues around Europe
France Ligue 1: Last weekend, PSG were handed their first league loss of the season, 2-1, at Lyon. They still have a ten-point lead over Lille with two games in hand, but the result makes things just a little more interesting.
PSG were also nearly upset in the Coupe de France on Wednesday night before settling things in extra time, 3-0. The draw paid out +1100 in that one, and PSG were massive -1650 favorites to win in regulation.
Netherlands Eredivisie: PSV and Ajax both cruised to easy victories last weekend, meaning PSV remain the -185 title favorites with Ajax listed at +145.
In upcoming matches, PSV are -170 favorites at Utrecht while Ajax are -475 road favorites against Heracles.
Scotland Premiership: In midweek action, Celtic retained their six-point lead over Rangers at the top of the table as both teams were victorious in midweek action. The league is off until Feb. 16/17 when Celtic play at Kilmarnock, and Rangers take on St. Johnstone.
Portugal: It’s getting snug at the top of the table with first-place Porto slipping up last weekend, drawing 0-0 with Vitoria SC. Their lead over Benfica has been cut to 3 points, and their lead over Braga cut to 4 points.
All three teams are heavy favorites this weekend: Porto (-200) at Moreirense, Benfica (-625) vs. Nacional, and Braga (-310) vs. Chaves.
Want live updates of the action all weekend? Be sure to follow @actionnetsoccer on Twitter for all the latest soccer betting news around the market.