European Soccer Best Bets, Projected Odds & Forecast for Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1 (Jan. 14-17)

European Soccer Best Bets, Projected Odds & Forecast for Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1 (Jan. 14-17) article feature image
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Anthony Dibon/Icon Sport via Getty Images. Pictured: Lille standout Jonathan David.

La Liga is on hiatus this weekend, with Copa del Rey in action, but the Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 have a full slate of matches on deck.

There weren’t many upsets across Europe this past weekend outside of Borussia Mönchengladbach pulling off a huge road upset against European powerhouse Bayern Munich as a +850 underdog in the German top flight.

👏 @Borussia_en complete stunning first-half turnaround to beat the Champions @FCBayernEN 🔄

A proper welcome 🔙 to #Bundesliga action. 👇📺#FCBBMG pic.twitter.com/mJjDayd3qL

— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) January 7, 2022

This weekend, we have a fantastic slate with some huge matches like Gladbach hosting Bayer Leverkusen, Atalanta taking on Inter in Serie A and Marseille going up against Lille in a Ligue 1 showdown.

With the Africa Cup of Nations in full swing this would be an important moment to say my projections below don’t take into account suspensions or injuries, or players who are currently representing their countries in Africa. That, along with the ever-changing COVID-19 news, makes it very important to stay on top of who’s in or out of the lineups before placing a bet.

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

Mainz vs. Bochum

Mainz Odds -145
Bochum Odds +425
Draw +290
Over/Under 2.5 (+105 / -125)
Day | Time Saturday | 9:30 a.m. ET
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This is a fantastic opportunity for Mainz to get back on track after getting throttled by RB Leipzig this past weekend.

Despite that bad performance, this is still one of the best defensive units in Germany that’s only allowing 1.18 NPxG per match. That number gets even better at home where nobody has been able to create anything of quality against them, as they’ve allowed only five goals and kept five clean sheets in their nine home contests.

Now, they’ll be facing a very below average offense in Bochum that’s averaging only 1.00 NPxG per game and ranks bottom five in shots per 90 minutes and big scoring chances in the Bundesliga.

Mainz plays much better at home than they do on the road, as they have a +6 xGDiff on home soil versus a -4.5 xGDiff on the road. Bochum is one of the worst road teams in the German first division, featuring a lowly -11.6 xGDiff and have conceded a whopping 20.8 expected goals in nine away matches.

I have Mainz projected at -172, so I love the value on them at home to get all three points at -145 odds and will make them my top pick.

Pick: Mainz ML (-145)

Arminia Bielefeld vs. Greuther Fürth

Arminia Bielefeld Odds -105
Greuther Fürth Odds +300
Draw +255
Over/Under 2.5 (-105 / -115)
Day | Time Sunday | 11:30 a.m. ET
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We’re back on Greuther Fürth, who is red hot right now, with five points in their last four matches and have three clean sheets in those four matches!

The reason Greuther Fürth is likely going to be providing value week in and week out is because ttheir goal differential of -36 seems isn’t as bad as it seems. They actually have a -16.6 xGDiff, which is around only one xG behind this latest opponent in Arminia Bielefeld, who has a -15.2 xGDiff on the season. 

There’s no denying the fact Greuther Fürth is one of the worst teams in Germany, but this line is a little crazy. Arminia Bielefeld has done a ton of smash-and-grabs this season where it got completely outplayed, but was able to walk away with points.

For example, they beat RB Leipzig, 2-0, but lost on xG by a 1.9-0.7 margin. The club drew with Freiburg in a 2-2 tie this past weekend, but were on the wrong side of the xG metric via a 2.2-0.9 difference. In fact, Arminia Bielefeld has only won the xG competition in three games this season.

Their offense is pathetic at creating high quality chances, as they’ve created more than one xG just six times and have created only three big scoring chances in their last seven contests.

The last time these teams met it finished in a 1-1 draw, but Greuther Fürth really should have earned all three points. Arminia did have a player get a red card in the 68th minute, but Greuther Fürth held a 2.3-0.6 xG edge and had 32 touches in the penalty area compared to just 10 for their opponents.

So, I think it’s crazy Arminia is a -105 favorite, even though they’re at home, where they have the worst xGDiff of anybody in the Bundesliga and have won only once this season.

I love the value on Greuther Fürth +0.5 at -110 odds. 

Pick: Greuther Fürth +0.5 (-110)


Serie A Projections

Best Bets

Sampdoria vs. Torino

Sampdoria Odds +195
Torino Odds +150
Draw +240
Over/Under 2.5 (+110 / -130)
Day | Time Saturday | 9 a.m. ET
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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 are top five in the league. 

Torino is also one of the best pressing teams in Serie A, ranking first in PPDA, second in pressure success rate and first in ball recoveries. So, going up against a Sampdoria team that’s dead last in pressure success rate allowed is a fantastic matchup.

Sampdoria is a very below average team that deserves to be sitting in 15th place. Their defense has been horrific, ranking 17th in NPxG allowed and 14th in both shots conceded per 90 minutes and big scoring chances yielded. In fact, they’ve allowed 11.5 xG in their last seven matches.

When these teams met on Oct. 30, it was a dominating Torino performance. The club cruised to a 3-0 shutout victory, won on xG by a 2.2-0.2 margin and held 63% possession, while holding Sampdoria to just five total shots.

I have Torino projected as a -106 favorite on the road, so I love their Draw No Bet of -120 odds in this matchup.

Pick: Torino — Draw No Bet (-120)

Sassuolo vs. Verona

Sassuolo Odds +125
Verona Odds +220
Draw +260
Over/Under 2.5 (-165 / +135)
Day | Time Sunday | 6:30 a.m. ET
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Sassuolo is in stellar form at the moment. They’re unbeaten in their last nine matches, with the offense carrying them. Sassuolo has created a whopping 15.4 xG in those nine games, including 4.1 xG against Empoli this past Sunday.

In fact, Sassuolo has created six big scoring chances in their last two fixtures since the break. So, going up against a Verona defense that has only kept two clean sheets all season is a fantastic matchup.

Mettetevi comodi 🍿… ecco i 5⃣ gol neroverdi di #EmpoliSassuolo 😍⚽️

Gli highlights completi sono online su https://t.co/pINv5QoNWZ 🎥#ForzaSasol 🖤💚 pic.twitter.com/bQRIdZAEu9

— U.S. Sassuolo (@SassuoloUS) January 10, 2022

Now, lets talk about how overrated the Verona offense has been this season. They’ve poured in 37 goals on 28.7 xG and sit 14th in big scoring chances. So, offensive regression is coming for them. And against a Sassuolo defense that’s fifth in big scoring chances allowed, we just might see some regression. 

The biggest thing for Verona and why they’ve been successful is that they’re a very good pressing team, ranking top five in PPDA, pressure success rate and ball recoveries. However, Sassuolo is fifth in both pressure success rate and ball recoveries allowed. So, Verona is going to have a difficult time winning the ball in the middle of the pitch. 

Finally, Sassuolo has been much better at home than they’ve been on the road, with a +3.9 xGDiff at home versus a -2.6 xGD on the road. 

I have Sassuolo projected at -105, so I like the value on them at +125 odds to grab all three home points.

Pick: Sassuolo ML (+125)


Ligue 1 Projections

Best Bets

Saint-Étienne vs. Lens

Saint-Étienne Odds +250
Lens Odds +110
Draw +260
Over/Under 2.5 (-110 / -105)
Day | Time Saturday | 11 a.m. ET
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Saint-Étienne is a club that’s underperforming, as they have a -23 actual goal differential, but only a -10.1 xGDiff this season. However, this is a spot I think they’re a tad overvalued, even though they’ve been so bad.

Things have also gone from bad to worse in their last five Ligue 1 matches, as they’ve lost all of them by a combined score of 12-1 during the slide. In those games, they created zero big scoring chances and conceded 12 on defense. 

In addition, Saint-Étienne is currently without five starters who are at the Africa Cup of Nations, including their top striker — Wahbi Khazri — who has 25% of their xG this season. If there’s one positive to Saint-Étienne it’s the fact they’re one of the best pressing teams in the French top flight. They rank fourth in PPDA, third in pressure success rate and second in ball recoveries.

However, Lens is top five playing against pressure, so it’s a terrible matchup.

Lens is a top-five offense in France, averaging 1.47 NPxG per match, 13.3 shots per 90 minutes and 1.55 big scoring chances per game. They’re also averaging the second-most xG per game (1.54) on the road, sitting behind only Paris Saint-Germain, per fbref.com.

I have Lens projected at -109 odds, so I like them at +110 to grab all three points on the road.

Pick: Lens ML (+110)

Marseille vs. Lille

Marseille Odds +140
Lille Odds +210
Draw +235
Over/Under 2.5 (+105 / -125)
Day | Time Sunday | 2:45 p.m. ET
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There’s no reason why Marseille should be favored in this match. Let’s first start with the xGDiff ahead of this affair, where Marseille +12 actual goal differential and only a +5.5 xGDiff, while Lille has an even actual differential, but a +9.2 xGDiff this season. 

Sure, Marseille picked up a 1-0 win against Bordeaux last Friday and created 2.2 xG in the victory. Yet, for some reason, Ligue 1 allowed the match to go on despite Bordeaux having 20 guys out due to positive COVID-19 test results.

Marseille features the No. 1 defense in France if you look at actual goals, as they’ve conceded 15 in 19 matches. However, they’re due for negative regression, as they’ve conceded 22.1 xG so far. On the flip side, Lille has conceded 26 actual goals, but only 19 xG, which is the league’s best mark.

*(graphic via infogol.net)

When these teams met earlier this season, Lille completely dominated Marseille in a 2-0 win via a brace from Jonathan David, who should be back in the lineup after his positive COVID-19 test 12 days ago. They won the xG battle by a solid 2.67-0.43 margin and had 33 touches in the penalty area, compared to only 18 from Marseille.

Additionally, Marseille is going to be without young striker Bamba Dieng, who has created the second-most xG on the team. 

I have this match projected as a Pick’em, so love the Lille Draw No Bet wager at +120 odds and will make it my top selection.

Pick: Lille — Draw No Bet (+120)

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