Borussia Dortmund vs. Ajax Odds, Prediction, Preview: Market Still Undervaluing Ajax
Erwin Spek/Soccrates/Getty Images. Pictured: Ajax captain Dušan Tadić.
- Wednesday Champions League odds have been moving in Ajax's favor, with the Dutch side going from +155 to +135 since Tuesday.
- Dortmund will sorely miss its difference-maker Erling Haaland, and Ajax should use its creativity in the midfield to limit the German outfit's offensive opportunities.
- Anthony Dabbundo breaks down Dortmund vs. Ajax below.
Dortmund vs. Ajax Odds
|Over/Under||3.5 (+115 / -135)|
|Day | Time||Wednesday | 4 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||Paramount+|
|Odds via DraftKings, updated on Wednesday afternoon. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.|
While the Ajax vs. Borussia Dortmund showdown in Champions League action two weeks ago had the potential to be the most exciting, back-and-forth meeting, the Dutch side’s dominance took all the drama out of it early on as it steamrolled to a 4-0 home victory and took control of the Group C standings.
The sides will now meet again Wednesday, this time at Dortmund, where the Black and Yellows now have to look over their shoulders at Sporting Lisbon potentially challenging for second place in the group. Dortmund could still win the group, but it would require beating Ajax and it needs its opponent to drop points in at least one of its final two matches, which appears unlikely given the current form.
Erling Haaland, Dortmund’s star striker and leading goal scoring, is out as well. And for that reason, Ajax continues to be undervalued in the market. A tossup game with Haaland would be correctly priced, but without him, Ajax has way more attacking firepower and the more likely winner.
Questions Surround Dortmund Minus Haaland
Dortmund has played a handful of games without Haaland and the results have been mediocre at best. The Black and Yellows thrashed Augsburg, 2-1, while creating 3.1 expected goals, but Augsburg is Bundesliga relegation fodder. When Dortmund played Borussia Mönchengladbach, they failed to create any high quality chances, produced no goals and 0.5 xG in the match.
Against Lisbon in UCL play, Dortmund earned a 1-0 victory, but created 0.5 xG in the contest. The Dortmund attack is centered around Haaland’s runs in behind once they win the ball and they look to play entirely through him. Replacement attacker Donyell Malen — formerly of PSV Eindhoven — is new to the club and has shown flashes, but lacks consistent striker production.
Dortmund managed 10 shots in the road trip to Amsterdam two weeks ago and Haaland took four of them, including one that went off the post. Haaland also received all progressive passes, more than any other player in the side. His absence is a massive one and Dortmund has no clear or able replacement to match anywhere near his production. He’s producing 1.36 xG+xA per 90 minutes this year, while Malen is at just 0.25 xG+xA per 90 minutes.
I’m expecting manager Marco Rose to make some adjustments, especially on the wings where his fullbacks were exposed. However, Ajax just has far more technical quality on the ball and Dortmund’s defense doesn’t really have many answers to prevent being passed through in this matchup.
Ajax Looking to Continue Dominant Ways
FiveThirtyEight ranks Ajax as the fifth-best team in the world, according to its SPI power ratings and global club soccer rankings. The Sons of the Gods have the fourth-best chance to win this competition as well. My ratings put them seventh in the world, and yet the market has disagreed on the true strength of the squad, placing its odds of winning it outside the top-eight teams. Thus far, Ajax has the best numbers in the entire Champions League.
Their 8.8 xG created in three matches is the most of any team, and the Ajax xG difference is the best in the competition. Only Bayern Munich has scored more actual goals and the club conceded more chances in front of its own goal.
Ajax’s attack ranks fourth in shots/90 minutes in UCL action and has the best overall average quality of shot, tied with Paris Saint-Germain. The possession based system Ajax has under manager Erik ten Hag manipulates opposition defenses with overloads, technical quality of passing and excellent wing play from Antony.
Add in underrated striker Sebastien Haller in front of goal to finish off chances and the Ajax attack is a well-oiled machine. Dortmund had no answers for the overloads on the right wing that tied its defensive line in knots. They also had no answer for Antony on the right wing, who looked a lot like Hakim Ziyech from the Ajax 2018-19 team, cutting in on his left and progressing the ball up the right wing with ease.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Dortmund’s best choice to counter Ajax’s overwhelming passing edge in the midfield was through having the best player on the pitch in Haaland. He’s a difference maker and his goal per game pace in the Bundesliga and UCL for his career can change games. You could make an argument no one player on their current team is more important to that team than Haaland is, because of how the Dortmund attack is centered around him.
Without him, Ajax’s attack should be able to overwhelm a suspect Dortmund defense, score multiple goals and the Black and Yellows will not be able to keep pace.
The market is still catching up to the true strength of this Ajax side, and I’ll keep backing them until it does. Ajax should be favored with Haaland out and I’ll take them on the Draw No Bet line at -115 or better.
Pick: Ajax — Draw No Bet (-115 or better)