European Soccer Best Bets, Projected Odds & Forecast for Bundesliga, Serie A, & La Liga (Dec. 17-20)

European Soccer Best Bets, Projected Odds & Forecast for Bundesliga, Serie A, & La Liga (Dec. 17-20) article feature image
Credit:

David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images. Pictured: Athletic Bilbao standout Inaki Williams.

There wasn’t much drama outside of England this past weekend, with Real Madrid winning the latest derby against Atlético Madrid.

However, we did have one pretty big upset in Italy, with Empoli defeating Napoli in a 1-0 thriller on the road as +700 underdogs.

EMPOLI TAKE THE LEAD OVER NAPOLI!

WHAT A RICOCHET THAT WAS 😳 pic.twitter.com/GEoj1XrwXA

— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) December 12, 2021

This weekend, Ligue 1 in France is on break, while there’s a full slate of Bundesliga, Serie A and La Liga are all in action. The latest matches are headlined by a huge match showdown in Spain between Sevilla and Atlético Madrid, along with a top-of-the-table clash between AC Milan and Napoli.

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

Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Mainz

Frankfurt Odds +125
Mainz Odds +210
Draw +265
Over/Under 2.5 (-125 / +105)
Day | Time Saturday | 9:30 a.m. ET
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Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here

Eintracht Frankfurt is overvalued in this home spot. They might have won on the road at Borussia Mönchengladbach, but lost the expected-goals battle and starting defender Tuta to a red card.

Overall for the season, Frankfurt has really been struggling to create high quality chances, even if they were able to against Gladbach’s Swiss cheese of a back line. Frankfurt is averaging only 1.27 NPxG per match, which is 10th in the Bundesliga, per fbref.com.

They’ll be going up against one of the best defensive outfits in Germany, as Mainz is second in NPxG allowed, third in shots conceded per 90 minutes and first in big scoring chances yielded with only nine conceded in 16 matches. 

The Frankfurt defense has struggled as well, allowing 1.65 NPxG per match, which is 15th in the German top flight. The reason for that is because they’ve conceded a ton of big scoring chances and fifth most box entries in the league. Mainz hasn’t been that great offensively, but they’ve created the fifth-most big scoring chances in Germany.

I actually have Mainz projected as a small favorite on the road, so I love the value on them +0.5 at -140 odds via DraftKings and will make it my top pick.

Pick: Mainz +0.5 (-140)


Bochum vs. Union Berlin

Bochum Odds +190
Union Berlin Odds +150
Draw +235
Over/Under 2.5 (+105 / -125)
Day | Time Saturday | 9:30 a.m. ET
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Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here

Union Berlin shouldn’t be this low against a side like Bochum.

The host side is one of the worst defenses in the Bundesliga, allowing 1.67 NPxG per match, which is the third-highest average in the league. A lot of that is due to the fact they’re susceptible to allowing big scoring chances, conceding 33 so far this season, which is the second most in the Bundesliga. On top of that, they’ll be without one of their starting defenders in Danilo Soares (injured) for this match.

Union Berlin has been a pretty average offense all season long, ranking 10th in NPxG per match and 12th in shot per 90 minutes. However, they’ve created the sixth-most big scoring chances in the Bundesliga, so they should be able to create some high quality chances against Bochum’s defense.

Taiwo Awoniyi has been on 🔥 this #Bundesliga season… and it's no wonder with finishes like that for @FCUnion_EN! 🎯 👏 pic.twitter.com/wHSvcjgzSz

— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) October 27, 2021

 

Berlin also has a top-end striker in the form of former Liverpool player Taiwo Awoniyi, who has been lighting the league on fire with nine goals and a 0.63 xG per 90-minute scoring rate.

The reason Union Berlin are sitting in eighth place is because of their defense, which has been incredibly stout this season, allowing only 1.29 NPxG per match, which is the sixth-best mark in the Bundesliga.

They have also conceded the third-fewest big scoring chances in the league, so I find it hard to believe that Bochum’s bottom-five offense will be able to generate any chances of high quality.

I have Union Berlin projected at +111, so I like the value on the Draw No Bet of -125 odds.

Pick: Union Berlin — Draw No Bet (-125)


Serie A Projections

Best Bets

Fiorentina vs. Sassuolo

Fiorentina Odds -110
Sassuolo Odds +300
Draw +280
Over/Under 3.5 (+135/ -170)
Day | Time Sunday | 6:30 a.m. ET
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Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here

Fiorentina is a highly overrated team, as they’ve scored 31 goals off of 25.7 xG so far. That’s mainly due to the fact they have Serie A leading scorer Dusan Vlahovic on their squad. The Serbian has scored 15 goals off of 9.2 xG this season. Now, he’s a good young striker, but he’s not that good.

Additionally, a lot of Fiorentina’s success has come off beating up on the bottom of the table. Against the last seven teams in Italy, Fiorentina has created 13.7 xG and only allowed 4.5 xG. Against the top 13 teams, they only have 12.7 xG created and 16.2 xG conceded in 10 matches. 

Now, they’re taking on a Sassuolo side currently sitting in 11th place, but in really good form at the moment. They’re unbeaten in their last five matches and come off a convincing 2-1 comeback win against Lazio this past weekend.

GIACOMO RASPADORI GIVES SASSUOLO THE LEAD OVER LAZIO 🔥 pic.twitter.com/5atOUxrjNf

— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) December 12, 2021

 

Their offense has created the sixth-most big scoring chances in Serie A, which is huge, because that’s how you beat this Fiorentina backline that allowed the second-fewest shots per 90 minutes, but has conceded the ninth-most big scoring chances in the league.

If we purely look at non-penalty expected goal differential, because Fiorentina has had a lot of penalty luck this season getting six penalties, the club is at +3.5, while Sassuolo is at +1.8 overall. So, these teams are not that far off of each other, even though there are six spots separating them in the table.

I only have Fiorentina projected at +141 odds. If you look at FiveThirtyEight, they only have Fiorentina at 45% and infogol.net actually has Sassuolo projected as a slight favorite.

That said, I like Sassuolo getting +0.5 at +100 odds on DraftKings to get a result on the road.

Pick: Sassuolo +0.5 (+100)

Torino vs. Verona

Torino Odds +125
Verona Odds +235
Draw +245
Over/Under 2.5 (-110 / -110)
Day | Time Sunday | 12 p.m. ET
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Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here

Torino is one of the biggest under-performing teams in all of Europe, but they’re starting to get some of that positive regression back after a deserving 2-1 over Bologna this past weekend. The Torino defense is one of the league’s best allowing only 0.82 NPxG per match, which is the third-best mark in the league. They’re also third in shots allowed per 90 minutes and first in preventing crosses into their penalty area.

The biggest thing with this matchup is Torino is the best pressing team in Italy, as they’re first in PPDA and ball recoveries, while Verona is 17th in pressure success rate allowed and dead last in ball recoveries conceded. So, Torino should be able to win the ball in the middle of the pitch and create some chances on the counterattack.

Sasa Lukic sets up Antonio Sanabria to give Torino the lead vs. Bologna 💥

Clean finish 🧼 pic.twitter.com/3gksMIrSxp

— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) December 12, 2021

Verona is one of the biggest overperformers offensively in Italy, as they’ve scored 33 goals off of 23.3 xG thus far. So, going up against one the best defensive outfits in the league should cause some negative regression.

Offensively, Torino has been pretty, ranking seventh in NPxG, but have created the third-most big scoring chances, while Verona is 14th in big scoring chances allowed.

I have Torino projected at -114, so I love the value on them at +125 odds.

Pick: Torino +125


La Liga Projections

Best Bets

Granada vs. Mallorca

Granada Odds +145
Mallorca Odds +205
Draw +230
Over/Under 2.5 (+140/ -175)
Day | Time Sunday | 8 a.m. ET
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Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here

I understand these are two bottom-half-of-the-table teams in La Liga, but I do think this total is a tad too low.

Granada is without a doubt the worst defense in Spain. They’re allowing 1.43 npxG per match, 15.69 shots per 90 minutes and 1.56 big scoring chances per match, which are all last in the Spanish top flight.

Offensively, Mallorca is only averaging 0.85 NPxG per match, but they’ve created the sixth-most big scoring chances in Spain, so going up against the worst defense in the league should allow them to create some high quality chances. They also have some talent and pace going forward in the form of Real Madrid loanee Takefusa Kubo.

⚡️ 𝙎𝙪𝙥𝙚𝙧 speed.
⚽️ 𝙎𝙪𝙥𝙚𝙧 goal.
🌟 𝙎𝙪𝙥𝙚𝙧 Take Kubo. #LaLigaSantander | @RCD_Mallorca pic.twitter.com/3dfIB1A17s

— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) December 9, 2021

Granada has been struggling to create chances, with only 15.1 xG in 17 games. However, they’ve been playing much better as of late, with 9.8 xG in their last seven matches.

A lot that can be contributed to manager Roberto Moreno switching to a 4-4-2 formation, which has given them more structure and was the setup they averaged the most xG/90 minutes last season. However, when playing out of the 4-4-2, Granada has been leaking goals, allowing 1.60 xG per 90 minutes.

So, with the change creating more high-scoring matches, along with Mallorca being below average in every defensive metric, including 13th in NPxG allowed has me believing we’ll see a higher scoring match than expected.

I have 2.52 goals projected for this clash, so I like the value on the total clearing two goals on the alternative line at -125 odds.

Pick: Total Over 2 Goals (-125)

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Athletic Bilbao vs. Real Betis

Athletic Bilbao Odds +105
Real Betis Odds +270
Draw +245
Over/Under 2.5 (+115 / -135)
Day | Time Sunday | 10:15 a.m. ET
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Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here

This is a perfect buy-low spot on Athletic Bilbao and sell-high spot on Real Betis. Athletic Bilbao has been incredibly unlucky of late, as they’re winless in their last eight games, but have won the xG battle a combined 11.2-7.8 margin.

So, they’re way overdue for a win. They play a very similar style to that of Atlético Madrid, playing out of a 4-4-2, staying organized and compact defensively. And it’s worked this season, because they’re one of the best defensive teams in Spain, allowing only 0.79 NPxG per match, which is the second-best mark in La Liga, per fbref.com

The biggest thing in this matchup, though, is the 4-4-2 tries to clog up the middle of the pitch and force opponents to beat them with crosses into the box. It shows with Athletic Bilbao because it’s their biggest weakness, ranking the ninth in crosses completed into their own penalty area.

Well, Real Betis is typically a team that likes to play through the middle of the pitch, as they’ve completed the third-fewest crosses in La Liga this season.

Real Betis’ defense has been very fortunate and really due for some negative regression, as they’ve only allowed 16 goals off 21 xG so far. They’ve also allowed 23 big scoring chances so far, which is the third most in La Liga, while Athletic Bilbao has created the fourth-most big scoring chances.

I have Athletic Bilbao projected at -107 odds, so I like them at +111, which is currently available at Caesars and would play it down to +105 odds at DraftKings and will make it my top selection.

Pick: Athletic Bilbao ML (+111)

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