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European Soccer Best Bets, Projected Odds & Forecast for Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga, More (March 18-21)

European Soccer Best Bets, Projected Odds & Forecast for Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga, More (March 18-21) article feature image
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David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images. Pictured: Atlético Madrid standout João Félix celebrates with his teammates.

Not many storylines came out of last weekend’s fixtures across the European soccer landscape except for Lionel Messi and Neymar getting booed by their own fans against Bordeaux after Paris Saint-Germain collapsed against Real Madrid in its Champions League matchup.

😬

(via ​​@beINSPORTSUSA)pic.twitter.com/sXuN436SEu

— B/R Football (@brfootball) March 13, 2022

Looking ahead to this weekend’s card, the slate is headlined by one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports. Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona square off in the latest El Clásico. Outside of that tilt, there aren’t too many big games across Europe, but there without a doubt will be plenty of drama.

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.

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Bundesliga Projections

Best Bets

Bochum vs. Gladbach

Bochum Odds +200
Gladbach Odds +130
Draw +240
Over/Under 2.5 (-130 / -110)
Day | Time Friday | 3:30 p.m. ET
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Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Borussia Mönchengladbach finally had a decent defensive performance this past Saturday, but it was against a club featuring of the Bundesliga’s worst offenses Hertha Berlin. Bochum started out the season as one of the worst offenses in Germany, but it has been on fire over the past two months.

Now it faces a Gladbach defense that has completely fallen off a cliff and showing no signs of improvement when it has to go up against a decent offense. Since Nov. 27, the side is allowing 2.02 xG per match and 30 big scoring chances in 14 games.

The only clubs it has kept under one expected goal during that run are Arminia Bielefeld and Hertha Berlin, who have two of the three worst offenses.


TIME FRAME XG PER MATCH
Before Jan. 15 1.01 
After Jan. 15 1.56

On the flip side, the offense is still performing at a high level for Gladbach, averaging 1.65 xG per match and sits second in Germany in shots per 90 minutes. Defensively, Bochum is pretty horrendous when it has to face talented attacking teams.

Against the top-six offenses by xG (Gladbach included), the team has allowed 16.5 xG and 23 big scoring chances in eight matches.

I have 3.14 goals projected for this game, so I like the price on total over 2.5 goals at -130 odds via BetMGM and will make it my top pick.

Pick: Total Over 2.5 Goals (-130)


Serie A Projections

Best Bets

Empoli vs. Verona 

Empoli Odds +180
Verona Odds +145
Draw +240
Over/Under 2.5 (-160 / +115)
Day | Time Sunday | 10 a.m. ET
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Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

This line truly bothered me when I saw it.

Just so we’re all clear how ridiculously wrong Serie A has been this season, there have been 794 goals scored off 755 xG, per fbref.com. That means based on the quality of chances throughout the league, there have been almost 40 more goals scored than there should have been thus far.

One of the biggest culprits as to why that is the case is Verona, which has scored 54 goals off of 39.6 xG, which is truly insane. Even its last five matches, the side has scored 11 goals from 5.7 xG overall. So, it’s safe to say that negative regression is coming at some point. 

Empoli has slightly over-performed, but is another inept Serie A offense, averaging only 1.28 xG per match. The problem with Empoli is it does create a lot of chances; they’re just not of the highest quality. Empoli is seventh in the Italian top flight in shots per 90 minutes, but 16th in big scoring chances.

On the flip side, Verona’s defense is actually quite underrated, allowing 46 goals off only 35.2 xG overall. Verona is also a very good pressing team, ranking third in PPDA and created the most high turnovers in Serie A, per Opta. However, it only has the sixth-most shots on those turnovers.

To show just how crazy the over-performance in Italy is from a Both Teams To Score perspective, where I define a situation as both teams “should” score if each create at least one xG in a match.

So, it’s pretty crazy to me that the BTTS wager is currently sitting at -190 odds at BetMGM, implying that both are scoring 65.52% of the time.

Needless to say, I love the “No” on Both Teams to Score -No at +135 odds.

Pick: Both Teams To Score — No (+135)


La Liga Projections

Best Bets

Rayo Vallecano vs. Atlético Madrid

Rayo Vallecano Odds +280
Atlético Madrid Odds +225
Draw +105
Over/Under 2.5 (+125 / -175)
Day | Time Saturday | 4 p.m. ET
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Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

We could have a potential hangover here for Atlético Madrid, which is coming off a 1-0 win against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Tuesday, but it’s still in a heated top-four race in La Liga, so this match will get its full attention. 

Rayo Vallecano has been a nice story since promotion, but it has been in horrific form since the start of the new year. In 2022, Vallecano has picked up three points in its last 11 matches. The reason for that is because it was drastically outperforming its expected goals in 2021.

Through its first 18 matches of the season, Vallecano had a +8 actual goal differential, but sits a -0.1 xGDiff overall. Now, over its last nine matches, -12 actual goal differential with a -5 xGDiff, per understat.com.

The last time Atlético Madrid faced Vallecano, it was one of the more dominant performances of the entire La Liga season. Atlético won the match in a 2-0 shutout, holding Vallecano to just 0.16 xG for the entire contest. 

*(graphic via infogol.net)

Defensively, Atlético Madrid has been in good form in the Spanish top flight, allowing 4.7 xG in their last six matches, but what has really improved has been its offense creating 11.8 xG and 20 big scoring chances created in their last five contests.

Rayo Vallecano is an average defense, sitting 10th in La Liga in NPxG allowed per match, but has conceded 10 big scoring chances in its last five games.

I have Atlético Madrid projected at -124, so I like the value on the club to grab all three points at +105 odds in this meeting.

Pick: Atlético Madrid ML (+105)


Ligue 1 Projections

Bets Bets

Reims vs. Lyon

Reims Odds +320
Lyon Odds -120
Draw +270
Over/Under 2.5 (-115 / -115)
Day | Time Sunday | 12:05 p.m. ET
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Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

If you’re a longtime listener of Wondergoal, you know how much I despise Reims. However, the great Albert Einstein once said, “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”

So, I like this spot for Reims at home against Lyon. Reims is slightly over-performing, currently sitting with a +1 actual goal differential and a -6.6 xGDiff. That being said, the side is undervalued against Lyon. 

Lyon will be playing its fourth match in 11 days and, most importantly, will be away from home where it has really struggled. Lyon has -5.6 xGDiff away from the Groupama Stadium, allowing 1.89 xG per match, per fbref.com.

Reims is one of the worst offenses in Ligue 1, but is solid defensively, ranking eighth in NPxG allowed per match. Reims does allow a ton of shots, but it hardly yields high-quality chances, conceding only 0.82 per 90 minutes. In fact, Reims have only conceded four big scoring chances in its last 11 matches and they’ve faced PSG, Monaco and Marseille during that stretch. 

So, I think this line is a tad inflated toward Lyon, as I only have the club projected at +133. Both Infogol & FiveThirtyEight also only have Lyon at 48%. That said, I like the value on Reims +0.5 at +105 odds.

Pick: Reims +0.5 (+105)

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