European Soccer Best Bets, Projected Odds & Forecast for Bundesliga, La Liga, Ligue 1, More (Jan. 7-10)

European Soccer Best Bets, Projected Odds & Forecast for Bundesliga, La Liga, Ligue 1, More (Jan. 7-10) article feature image

David S. Bustamante / Soccrates / Getty Images. Pictured: Manager Diego Simeone of Atlético Madrid.

Bundesliga and Ligue 1 join Serie A and La Liga in their return from the holiday break this weekend, which means we have a full slate of action across Europe.

Before we jump in, let's take a look at where things stand in each league.


Serie A

La Liga

Ligue 1

This weekend's matches are headlined by a clash between Bayern Munich and Borussia Mönchengladbach, a La Liga showdown pitting Villarreal against Atletico Madrid, along with a Serie A showdown in Rome, with Roma hosting Juventus.

If you'd like to read more about how I determine my projections, you can check it all out here.

You can use these projections to identify betting value on current lines, plus follow me in The Action Network App to see any bets I make during the week.

Bundesliga Projections

Best Bets

Leverkusen vs. Union Berlin

Leverkusen Odds-120
Union Berlin Odds+320
Over/Under2.5 (-130 / +110)
Day | TimeSaturday | 9:30 a.m. ET
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Once again, this is a fade of the overrated Bayer Leverkusen offense.

Leverkusen ended on a skid before the break, losing two out of three matches and now they're facing one of the best defensive outfits in Germany. Union Berlin is only allowing 1.30 xG per match, which is the second-best mark in the league. The reason for that is because they don't allow a lot of big scoring chances close to their own goal.

Union Berlin has only conceded 16 shots in their own six-yard box and 17 big scoring chances, both of which are top five in the Bundesliga. On the other hand, Leverkusen has only taken 14 shots inside the six-yard box and generated 18 big scoring chances, both of which rank in league's bottom half.

On the flip side, Union Berlin has really been struggling to create chances of offense. They're only averaging 1.36 NPxG and 10 box entries per 90 minutes, both of which rank in the bottom half of the Bundesliga. Not to mention, their leading goal scorer — Taiwo Awoniyi — is off to the Africa Cup of Nations event.

Even though Leverkusen has been drastically over-performing offensively, their defense has been rock solid allowing only 1.25 NPxG per match, per

Regression is coming for Leverkusen's high-scoring matches. On average, their games are averaging 4.00 actual goals. Yet, based on expected goals, their fixtures are only averaging 3.03 xG thus far. So, hitting the total over 3.5 goals at a 65% rate isn't going to be sustainable over the season's second half.

I only have 2.41 goals projected for this match, so I like the value we're getting on the total staying under 2.5 goals at +110 odds via DraftKings and will make it my top pick.

Pick: Total Under 2.5 Goals (+110)

RB Leipzig vs. Mainz

RB Leipzig Odds-135
Mainz Odds+350
Over/Under2.5 (-130 / +110)
Day | TimeSaturday | 9:30 a.m. ET
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Ever since RB Leipzig sacked American manager Jesse Marsch, they’ve been playing much better. The Red Bulls have created nine xG in three matches under interim manager Domenico Tedesco.

However, the three clubs they faced were Gladbach, Augsburg and Armenia Bielefeld, who are all in the bottom half of the Bundesliga table in xGA this season. Now, they’ll be facing the second-best defense in the league that's allowing only 1.12 xG per contest. Mainz has also conceded only nine big scoring chances, which is the best mark in the German first division.

RB Leipzig has had defensive issues. And   even though they held Augsburg and Arminia Bielefeld to 2.1 xG in their previous two matches, I wouldn’t call their issues “fixed” after going up against two of the worst offensive teams in that aren’t even averaging more than one xG per game.

The Red Bulls are allowing a whopping 1.57 xG per outing, plus they've conceded the fifth-most big scoring chances in the Bundesliga. In fact, RB Leipzig has only held their opponents less than one xG four times this season across all competitions.

Mainz beat RB Leipzig on opening weekend via an outstanding defensive performance. They scored in the 10th minute, plus they held RB Leipzig to 1.1 xG and 17 shot-creating actions despite the losers maintaining a whopping 70% possession.

I only have RB Leipzig projected at -107, so I like the value on Mainz +0.5 at +115 odds in this spot.

Pick: Mainz +0.5 (+115)

Serie A Projections

Best Bets

Empoli vs. Sassuolo

Empoli Odds+155
Sassuolo Odds+165
Over/Under3.5 (+110 / -130)
Day | TimeSunday | 6:30 a.m. ET
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Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here

Empoli is a highly overrated team in Serie A right now. They might be sitting in ninth place, but have a -5.3 xG differential on the season, so it's been a bit of smoke and mirrors for them.

Their defense has been leaking goals left and right and is really one of the worst in Italy, allowing 1.73 xG per match. They're also conceding the most box entries and completed crosses into the penalty area of anyone in the league. Now, they have to face a Sassuolo offense that has been on fire, creating 11.6 xG in their last eight matches.

Empoli's form at home has actually been one of the worst in the Italian top flight. It has a -6.2 xGDiff and allowed a whopping 21.0 xG in 10 home games, which is by far the most in Serie A this season.

I have Sassuolo projected as a +106 favorite, so I like the value on their Draw No Bet line at +100 odds in this matchup.

Pick: Sassuolo — Draw No Bet (+100)

Torino vs. Fiorentina

Torino Odds+165
Fiorentina Odds+165
Over/Under2.5 (-115 / -105)
Day | TimeSunday | 8:30 a.m. ET
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Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here

I can’t get over how good Torino’s numbers are this season, especially on the defensive side. They're only allowing 0.80 NPxG per match, 10.1 shots per 90 minutes and 9.5 box entries per game, all of which is top five in the league.

Even their last match before the break, they went on the road to the San Siro to take on Inter Milan, who is averaging 2.17 xG per match and held them to only 0.90 xG in a 1-0 loss. In fact, Torino has only conceded 10.97 xG in 19 contests from open play. That's the second-best mark in Serie A.

Fiorentina’s xG numbers are improving after being one of the league's more overrated teams for most of the first half, but they struggle whenever they have to face a good defense. Against Inter, Napoli, Torino, AC Milan, Juventus and Roma, Fiorentina averaged only 1.03 xG per match. Against the rest of the Serie A clubs? They averaged 1.84 xG per game. 

Fiorentina has does Serie A’s leading goal-scorer in Dusan Vlahoovic, who has 16 goals in 19 matches. However, his xG per 90-minute scoring rate is only 0.54, as he’s scored those 16 goals off 11 xG thus far. That said, I don’t expect him to keep up this kind of rate throughout the season.

Additionally, only 22 of Fiorentina’s 34 goals have come from open play, as they’ve been benefited by six penalties so far this season, which is the third most in the league.

Fiorentina’s road form has also been horrendous, as they have +8.9 xGDiff at home, but a -1.7 xGDiff on the road. 

When these two met early on, Fiorentina walked away with a 2-1 win, but only created 0.60 xG and had just nine shots in the match. So, it’s going to be really difficult for them to score if they're not able to create high-quality chances.

I have Torino projected as a -103 favorite, so I love them on the Draw No Bet line at -105 odds.

Pick: Torino — Draw No Bet (-105)

La Liga Projections

Best Bets

Levante vs. Mallorca

Levante Odds+120
Mallorca Odds+245
Over/Under2.5 (+115 / -140)
Day | TimeSaturday | 8 a.m. ET
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Levante is reaching the desperation point, as they're currently in dead last with only eight points through their first 19 matches.

The host side's main issues have come on defense, especially lately. They've allowed 12 goals in their last three matches, including five goals to Villarreal this past Monday. That said, they're not as bad as the 41 goals they've conceded, as they're only yielding 1.43 xG per match. However, that's 17th in La Liga and they're still allowing 13.3 shots per 90 minutes.

Offensively, Levante is a highly underrated team as well, as they're averaging 1.22 xG per match, which is good for 10th best in La Liga. The main reason for that is they've actually created 20 big scoring chances, which could be huge facing a Mallorca defense that has allowed the eighth-most big scoring chances and 26 shots inside the six-yard box, which is the league's most.

⚡️ 𝙎𝙪𝙥𝙚𝙧 speed.
⚽️ 𝙎𝙪𝙥𝙚𝙧 goal.
🌟 𝙎𝙪𝙥𝙚𝙧 Take Kubo. #LaLigaSantander |

— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) December 9, 2021

Mallorca has been creating a ton of big scoring chances themselves, with 21 on the season, which is sixth best in the Spanish top flight. So, they should be able to create chances on one of the worst defenses in Spain.

I have 2.55 goals projected for this match, so I'm backing the total clearing 2.5 goals at ripe +115 odds in this affair.

Pick: Total Over 2.5 Goals (+115)

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Villarreal vs. Atlético Madrid

Villarreal Odds+175
Atléti Odds+165
Over/Under2.5 (+115/ -140)
Day | TimeSunday | 3 p.m. ET
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Sure, Villarreal has created 8.8 xG in their last three matches against Rayo Vallecano, Real Sociedad and Levante. However, now it’s time to face a real defense in Atlético Madrid. Los Colchoneros is No. 1 in every single La Liga defensive metric, including 0.72 xG per match. That average isn't only the best mark in Spain, but sits first among Europe’s top five leagues.

In fact, Atlético Madrid has now gone nine consecutive league matches allowing less than one xG in impressive fashion. That’s how good manager Diego Simeone’s side is playing right now.

Atlético Madrid has been pretty good offensively as well, averaging 1.40 xG goals per match, plus it sits third in shot per 90 minutes and big scoring chances in league play. Defensively, the club has been pretty average, ranking 10th in NPxG allowed per game, but they have struggled against some of the bigger sides in Spain.

In four matches against Barcelona, Atlético , Real Madrid, and Sevilla, manager Unai Emery’s Villarreal side allowed a whopping 7.54 xG in those games. So, I don’t think Atlético Madrid will have any trouble creating chances.

*(graphic via

The first time these two clashed, Atlético Madrid thoroughly dominated Villarreal despite the 2-2 scoreline. Los Colchoneros won the xG goals battle by a 1.99-0.4 margin. In fact, Villarreal scored on their only two shots of the match, with Atlético Madrid outshooting them by a stunning 23-2 gap.

I have Atlético Madrid projected as a +111 road favorite, so I love their Draw No Bet line of -110 via DraftKings and will make it my top selection.

Pick: Atlético Madrid — Draw No Bet (-110)

Ligue 1 Projections

Best Bets

Metz vs. Strasbourg

Metz Odds+310
Strasbourg Odds-110
Over/Under2.5 (-105 / -115)
Day | TimeSunday | 9 a.m. ET
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Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here

Well, I'm not sure who Metz has left to trot out on the field in this match. At the time of this writing, starters Alexandre Oukidja (goalkeeper), Habib Maïga (center midfielder), Boubakar Kouyaté (center back), Pape Sarr (center midfielder), Dylan Bronn (center back) and Opa Nguette (striker) are sidelined.

Even with them in the lineup, Metz has been one of the worst teams in France , especially on offense. The club is only averaging 0.83 NPxG per game, which is far and away the lowest mark in the French top flight. Metz is also averaging a putrid 10 shots and 6.4 box entries per 90 minutes, which rank last in France.

Things don't get much better defensively, as they're allowing 1.54 xG per match and are bottom five in every single defensive metric. Now, they'll be going up against a Strasbourg offense that's the No. 1 team in France at creating big scoring chances, with a whopping 34 so far this season.

Additionally, when these two met earlier in the season, Strasbourg dominated the match, winning 3-0 and triumphing on xG via a 2.0-0.5 advantage.

With six starters out for Metz, I'm not sure how they compete in this matchup. So, I love Strasbourg at -110 odds to grab all three points on the road.

Pick: Strasbourg (-110)

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