Bundesliga Betting Preview: Our Best Bets for Mainz vs. Koln, Bayern Munich vs. Union Berlin

Credit:

Sebastian Widmann/Bongarts/Getty Images. Pictured: Joshua Kimmich

May 17, 2020, 07:40 AM EDT
  • There are two Bundesliga matches on Sunday, May 17: Mainz (+290) at Koln (-115) and Bayern Munich (-670) at Union Berlin (+1500).
  • Here are our favorite bets for the two-match slate on Sunday:

There’s a pretty clear headliner for Sunday’s two-match Bundesliga slate.

Germany’s most famous and successful soccer club, Bayern Munich, will return to action with a showdown against upstart Union Berlin. Bayern is a prohibitive -500 favorite to win their eighth consecutive Bundesliga title, but it remains to be seen how the Bavarians will adapt after the two-month hiatus.

Should Bayern slip up against Union Berlin, their -500 odds suggest that is very unlikely, the door will be open for Borussia Dortmund or Borussia Monchengladbach to turn the heat up on the Bavarians over the next two months.

Prior to Bayern’s trip to Berlin we’ll see Mainz, in the thick of the relegation battle, take on Koln at 9:30 on FS1.

Here are our favorite bets for Sunday’s Bundesliga matches:


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Jeremy Pond

Mainz at Koln

9:30 a.m. ET, FS1

This Sunday showdown pits two middle-of-the-pack clubs against each other. FC Köln has been in much better form than its visiting foe, reeling off eight wins in its last 12 league contests. The Billy Goats, who are eighth in expected goals (36.74) in the Bundesliga, have also won five of their last six home league games.

In contrast, Mainz has been the definition of lackluster over the course of the second half of the season, winning just three league contests in its last 12 games. Mainz, which sits 12th in expected league goals (33.59), has also struggled on the road, winning just four of 12 league away matches and earning just one shutout along the way.

I love FC Köln in this fixture due to its better form and success on home soil, where it has won five of its last six contests.

I am also going to make a smaller play on the total going over 2.5 goals. The total has surpassed that number in Mainz’s last seven road matches and FC Köln’s last eight games in Bundesliga action.

The Bets: FC Köln money line (-115); Total Over 2.5 Goals (-162)

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Michael Leboff

Mainz at Koln

9:30 a.m. ET, FS1

The lone Bundesliga match on Sunday morning features mid-table FC Koln hosting Mainz, who are in the thick of a relegation battle and just three points clear of Fortuna Dusseldorf in 16th place.

Home-field advantage was always going to be muted in these ghost games, so it isn’t all that surprising that home sides only won one of the six matches on Saturday. It’s hard to learn anything from a six-game sample size but it is interesting to note, especially since Sunday’s opening match features an odds-on home favorite.

Another thing I was keeping a keen eye on during Saturday’s six-match slate was how long it took for teams to get going. Anecdotally, it seemed like everybody’s touch was a bit off and plenty of golden scoring chances (looking at you, RB Leipzig) went awry.

I’ll once again throw around the small-sample caveat, but only two of the 16 goals scored on Saturday came within the first 25 minutes and they were both scored by the same team (Monchengladbach). It’s hard to predict the type of impact a two-month hiatus in the middle of a season would have on teams, but one would think that the break will have an adverse effect on scoring, at least until these players begin to get used to the new rhythm of the Dystopian Bundesliga.

Stat Koln Mainz
Goals For 39 34
Expected Goals For 36.74 33.59
Goals Against 45 53
Expected Goals Against 38.31 46.58

Even though their statistical profile doesn’t leap off the page, I gave some serious thought to playing Mainz at +280. The Carnival Club may have trouble creating any offense against an OK defensive side on Sunday, but these weird conditions should provide a more level playing field compared to normal times. Koln are in “better form” and have home-field advantage, but you can toss both of those things out the window right now. The Billy Goats grade out as average and, up until their hot run before the break, were in the relegation battle, as well.

My main focus on this game will be on the total. Neither one of these sides feature a prolific attack and there’s not much star power to speak of, though Jhon Cordoba is a potential under-wrecker for Koln, so I immediately started my breakdown with the Under and tried to work backwards.

While both of these teams average more than 3 goals per game (Koln 3.36/Mainz 3.48), their expected goals show that both of these teams are better defensively (that doesn’t mean they’re good) than their results show.

The market seems to be moving towards the over, which isn’t surprising based on the goals per game numbers I highlighted above, but I think bettors may be underestimating how much the the long layoff will come into play for a pair of teams that don’t have much scoring punch.

In addition to playing the Under 2.5 at +125 or better, I’m also going to sprinkle the game to end 0-0 at the highest number I can find.

The Bet: Under 2.5 (+128)

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Brad Cunningham

Bayern Munich at Union Berlin

12 p.m. ET, FS1

Bayern’s attacking output jumps off the page right away. The Bavarians lead the league in goals for and expected goals for and have scored three or more goals in eight of their 12 road matches this season.

One area of the field Bayern will look to attack is the six-yard box. Bayern  boast the best expected goals for per game inside the yard box of 0.64 xGF, while Union Berlin have the worst defensive expected goals inside the six-yard box at 0.51 xGA per game.

Ultimately, I think Union Berlin will not be able handle Bayern Munich’s attack and Bayern will score at least 3 goals.

My model has has the total expected goals scored at 4.03. Since the over/under of 3.5 is at plus odds, I think there is good value on the over.

My Pick: Over 3.5 (+112)

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