Bundesliga Betting Picks and Preview: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for Saturday, May 16

Credit:

Christian Verheyen/Borussia Moenchengladbach via Getty Images.

May 15, 2020, 05:11 PM EDT

All eyes will be on the Bundesliga this weekend as Germany’s top division becomes the first major sports league to restart play after a two-month hiatus due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The matches commence at 9:30 a.m. ET with a pair of televised matches on FS1 and FS2 and wrap up with a 12:30 p.m. ET showdown on FS1 between Borussia Mochengladbach and Frankfurt.

Here are our favorite bets for the six matches on Saturday:


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Anthony Dabbundo

Schalke at Borussia Dortmund

Time: 9:30 a.m. ET

There simply isn’t enough of a sample size of games without fans to judge just how they effect home-field advantage and how much that varies by sport.

Putting home field aside, the break couldn’t have come at a better time (relatively speaking, of course) for Schalke, who was winless in its last seven Bundesliga matches before the layoff and had slipped from third place in the table to sixth. While Dortmund lost its last game to PSG in the Champions League (also without fans) just before the stoppage, it had won its last four Bundesliga matches, out-scoring its opponents 9-1 in those four matches.

I’m not putting much weight on both teams’ recent form, though, due to the unusual circumstances. While Germany typically has almost a month off for its winter break, this break is double that, and neither side has had much time playing together again to get back into form. Combine that with a derby type intensity, and it’s reasonable to expect sloppy play, especially early on in the match.

Last time these two teams met, at Schalke in October, the hosts held Dortmund to just 0.4 expected goals and kept a clean sheet in a goalless draw. But that was before Dortmund signed Erling Haaland, one of Europe’s top young strikers, in January. At age 19, Haaland scored 12 goals in his first eight matches. He was a major reason for BVB’s uptick in form.

But his goal-scoring run wasn’t sustainable, and it’s unlikely to continue, especially post-layoff. His 12 goals came despite just 5.9 xG, implying that given his shot volume and quality of the chance, he massively over-performed expectations.

Combine that with fellow young forward Jadon Sancho’s uncertain fitness levels and Marco Reus’ absence from Saturday’s game, and Dortmund’s second-best league attack is both short-handed and prime for some regression. Dortmund will also be without Emre Can and Axel Witsel, two key central midfielders.

On the other side, Schalke has had goal-scoring issues for nearly the entire season. Even when they won more matches early on, it was less from creating more chances than its opponents and more from finishing those chances off at a higher rate. To date, Schalke ranks 14th (of 18) in the Bundesliga in xG created, and 13th in goals scored. The visitors have created more than 1.3 xG in a match just one time since the start of the winter break on Dec. 21.

It’s always dangerous to play a Dortmund under given their propensity for defensive mistakes and willingness to play wide-open games. But with Schalke’s inability to consistently score multiple goals in a match, I’ll lay the under 2.5 goals at +136. I’d also consider looking toward a “No” on Both Teams to Score at +120 or better.

The pick: Under 2.5 goals (+128)

[Bet now at FanDuel. CO, NJ, PA, IN and WV only.]

Brad Cunningham

Freiburg at RasenBallsport Leipzig

Time: 9:30 a.m. ET

Expect to see Leipzig spend a lot of time in Freiburg’s penalty area.  In their previous meeting, Leipzig weren’t very effective at creating chances inside the penalty area, as 58.3% of their shots came from outside the penalty area. That was out of character for Die Rotten Bullen, who rank third in the league with an average of 1.35 expected goals from inside the penalty area per match.

While RB Leipzig are an offensive force, defense isn’t a strong suit for Frieburg, which allows the third-most expected goals from inside the penalty area (1.22) and most shots per game in the Bundesliga.

Leipzig, which averages 16.2 shots per game, should have plenty of chances in this game and, on paper, the Red Bulls should be able to put Freiburg away for an easy win. The expected goals in my model for this matchup have it at 3.02 for RB Leipzig to 0.71 for Freiburg. Based on those numbers I think there is value on RB Leipzig spread of -1.5.

The Bet: RB Leipzig -1.5 (-112)

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Jeremy Pond

Freiburg at RasenBallsport Leipzig

Time: 9:30 a.m. ET

Things could not have been going better any for RB Leipzig prior to the shutdown of the sports world.

The Champions League side, which is second in expected goals (57.66) in the Bundesliga this season, sits just four points behind league leader Bayern Munich in the title race. Leipzig was unbeaten in its last seven matches across all competitions before the break and suffered just one loss in its last 16 Bundesliga contests.

On the other side of the pitch, things could not be more different. tFreiburg has just one win in its last five league tilts and has lost nine of its last 10 road league games is a must.

I am not a huge fan of the spread number, so I am backing the total going over the number. Leipzig’s last eight matches against Freiburg have seen the total surpass 2.5 goals and I don’t see that streak ending here. Don’t be surprised if Leipzig hits the number on its own.

Play the total going over the number with confidence and sprinkle a little on Leipzig striker Timo Werner to score the game’s first goal at 2/1 odds.

The Bets: Over 2.5 Goals (-175); Timo Werner (RB Leipzig) To Score First (+240)

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Michael Leboff

Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Eintracht Frankfurt

Time: Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET

There’s a lot to think about when handicapping the first slate of Bundesliga matches. Will rust play a factor? Will players be motivated playing in an empty stadium?

One team I expect to give an honest account of themselves is Borussia Monchengladbach. Die Borussen are enjoying a surprisingly successful campaign and currently sit in a Champions League spot. Gladbach even have an outside shot at making a title run should the hiatus have an adverse effect on Bayern Munich and/or Borussia Dortmund.

Gladbach’s success this season has been no fluke, either. Marco Rose’s side have created the third-most expected goals for (xGF) this season and their 34.54 expected goals against ranks sixth in the Bundesliga.

In normal circumstances the six-point gap between them and the German Giants on top of the table would be far too wide to be interesting with just nine matches remaining, but there are so many unknowns ahead of us that you just can’t discount Monchengladbach from the title race.

If Bayern Munich or Dortmund drop some points during the expected adjustment period and Gladbach come out of the gates hot, who the hell knows.

Gladbach’s 200-1 odds mean they only need to win the Bundesliga 0.50% of the time for this bet to have value and I’ll absolutely take that price on a team that is essentially a three-game winning streak away from making things very, very interesting.

As for this weekend, I like Gladbach to get the job done against Frankfurt, a team that has underwhelmed after a wonderful 2018-19 campaign.

Die Adler’s underlying numbers suggest they should be higher in the standings but they are stuck in the middle of the table and don’t have much to play for the rest of the season. I expect motivation to be a key factor in the early going of the Bundesliga’s restart and Frankfurt fit the bill of a team being asked to play out the string.

The Bets: Borussia Monchengladbach to win the Bundesliga (200-1); Borussia Monchengladbach (+130) over Eintracht Frankfurt

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