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La Liga, Bundesliga Betting Picks: Our Favorite Bets for Augsburg-Mainz, Schalke-Leverkusen and Osasuna-Real Sociedad (June 14)

La Liga, Bundesliga Betting Picks: Our Favorite Bets for Augsburg-Mainz, Schalke-Leverkusen and Osasuna-Real Sociedad (June 14) article feature image

Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images. Pictured: Robin Le Normand

Sunday’s slate of soccer matches is headlined by a pair of Spanish giants from Madrid. Atletico Madrid will take on Athletic Bilbao in the morning, and then at lunchtime Real Madrid will restart their 2019-20 campaign against Eibar.

While those matches may draw the most attention from casual fans, our soccer writers think there is more betting value elsewhere on the card.

Check out our favorite bets for Sunday’s footy action below:

Michael Leboff

Augsburg at Mainz

9:30 a.m. ET, FS1

Only one point separates 14th-place Augsburg and 15th-place Mainz in the Bundesliga table and a look below the surface shows that these two teams are near mirror images of one another.

When you convert the listed odds to implied probability you see how tight this game is projected to be:

  • Mainz: 41.4%
  • Draw: 28.2%
  • Augsburg: 30.4%

All of this makes sense as neither Augsburg nor Mainz do anything particularly well. They both grade out below average defensively and are pretty pedestrian going forward, too.

Weirdly the two teams are in near-identical form going into the weekend. They each have a win, two draws and two losses from their last five matches.

Augsburg Mainz
Goals for per game 1.37 1.3
Expected goals for per game 1.41 1.42
Goals against per game 1.9 2.07
Expected goals against per game 1.74 1.9
Total goals per game 3.27 3.37
Total expected goals per game 3.15 3.33

Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.

At the moment, neither Augsburg nor Mainz are in too much relegation danger but a loss for either side on Sunday morning could put them in a precarious situation. Werder Bremen, currently in 16th place, are just four points behind Augsburg and three behind Mainz.

Both teams will want to add a bigger buffer between them and Werder as we head into the season’s final three weeks.

Even though both of these teams average over 3.25 goals per game bookmakers are expecting a relatively tight affair as the Over/Under is set at 2.5 goals, which is on the lower end for the Bundesliga. Perhaps the oddsmakers are expecting both sides to keep things safe and avoid a big mistake that could land them in a precarious position to close out the season.

Recent form also points to a low-scoring match as these two teams have combined to score just four goals in their last six games combined.

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Both of these offenses are sputtering at the moment but I don’t trust either defense to hold things together for 90 minutes. No team in the Bundesliga has kept fewer clean sheets than Mainz and 70% of Die Nullfunfer’s matches have gone over 2.5 goals this season.

Augsburg’s defensive numbers are a bit stronger than that, but they rank seventh worst in expected goals allowed and 67% of their matches have eclipsed 2.5 goals.

Both teams are in awful scoring form and maybe they do play things close to the vest and skate to a low-scoring draw, but I think this total is too low from a statistical standpoint. I’ll back the Over 2.5 goals up to -130.

Pick: Over 2.5 (-124)

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BJ Cunningham

Bayer Leverkusen at Schalke

12 p.m. ET, FS2

Schalke are in the worst form of any Bundesliga team since play resumed. With only one point out of a possible 15 since the league restarted, Schalke’s season and chances at a Europa League spot are all but finished.

Goal scoring has been the main issue for David Wagner’s men as they’ve managed to create only 0.64 expected goals per game in their last five matches. Schalke are a much better team than they’ve shown the second half of the season.

In the first half of the season, Schalke earned 30 of a possible 51 points, with a goal differential of +8. Since then, they’ve managed only 8 points of a possible 39 and have been outscored 25 to 6. Schalke are much too talented to be playing this bad going forward.

Leverkusen have taken a step back in their last few matches after a blazing hot run of form. In their last three matches, Die Werkself has lost twice at home and stole a win at Freiburg in a game where they lost the expected goals battle, 0.43 to 0.78. In fact, Die Werkself has a -3.35 xG differential in their past three matches.

Leverkusen do boast a fantastic record on the road this season, earning 31 of a possible 45 points with a goal differential of +9. However, expected goals shows those results to be a bit misleading, as Leverkusen has a -0.65 xG differential.

Additionally, Die Werkself’s expected points are almost 10 points lower than their actual points on the road (31 actual vs. 20.66 xPoints).

All reports are indicating that Leverkusen’s best player, Kai Havertz, should be fit for this game after missing the last two games due to injury.

Die Werkself absolutely need Havertz as he’s been their main goal threat with five goals in four games since the break. He will need to have a significant impact on the game if Leverkusen are going to earn all three points.

I’ll be honest, this is a really tough game to handicap.

On paper it looks like an easy Leverkusen win given how bad Schalke have been over the past month. However, Leverkusen’s odds are a bit shocking and I don’t trust Leverkusen at that steep of a price.

Based on my model I have a lot of value on Schalke:

  • Schalke 04 projected odds: +253 (28.37% win probability)
  • Schalke 04 projected xG: 1.19
  • Leverkusen projected odds: +115 (46.52%)
  • Leverkusen projected xG: 1.55
  • Draw projected odds: +298 (25.11%)

It’s a bet that makes me a bit sick, but I can’t ignore this much value, even if Schalke are in a horrendous run of form.

I’m backing Schalke +1 in hopes they can squeeze out a draw in this game.

Pick: Schalke +1 (+108)

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Jeremy Pond

Osasuna vs. Real Sociedad

4 p.m. ET, beIN Sports

This is a huge match for Real Sociedad right out of the gate. The upstart side from San Sebastián is in the midst of a stellar La Liga campaign, with high hopes of securing a coveted Champions League berth.

Currently, Real Sociedad are tied with Getafe on 46 points in the standings, but holds the tiebreaker that puts them alone in fourth place. Getafe was dealt a crushing blow Friday when they suffered a 2-1 loss against Granada, dropping crucial points in the Champions League race. Spanish giants Atletico Madrid are hot on both their heels, just a point back in the chase.

Osasuna are sitting in no man’s land at the moment, with very little to play for the rest of the way. The club is 11th in the standings and in no danger of being relegated, which is possibly the reason why they have struggled recently in La Liga action. Osasuna, which is seventh in expected goals (38.44) in the league, has lost four of their last six and have gone winless in nine of their last 12 league tilts.

I am backing the hosts to grab all three points in this affair. Real Sociedad, ranked sixth in expected goals (41.80) in the league, have so much to play for the remainder of the campaign and can’t afford a misstep right out of the gate. The powerful club were in brilliant form prior to the hiatus, winning seven of its last eight matches and 10 of 12 games across all competitions, and I expect that form to continue against Osasuna.

Play the home side with confidence against Osasuna, which has lost five consecutive matches across all competitions in San Sebastián.

Pick: Real Sociedad -143

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