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European Soccer Best Bets, Projected Odds & Forecast for Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1, More (April 1-4)

European Soccer Best Bets, Projected Odds & Forecast for Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1, More (April 1-4) article feature image
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Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images. Pictured: AC Milan standout Olivier Giroud.

We are finally out of the international break and ready for the stretch run of the European club season. The title races in Italy and Germany are starting to heat up, but there’s still so much drama and intrigue surrounding the races for top four and relegation battles across the continent’s landscape.

This week, we have a high-profile encounters featuring Borussia Dortmund facing RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga; Barcelona taking on Sevilla over in La Liga action; and, Inter Milan squaring off against Juventus in a Serie A showdown. So, it should be a really stretch of matches in European soccer.

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

Gladbach vs. Mainz

Gladbach Odds +120
Mainz Odds +210
Draw +260
Over/Under 2.5 (-135 / +100)
Day | Time Sunday | 11:30 a.m. ET
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Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

I understand Borussia Mönchengladbach is by far the more talented team, but its underlying metrics don’t paint a pretty picture.

Defensively, the Foals have been a bit unfortunate, allowing 51 goals on 43.9 expected goals, but they’ve only held opponents under one xG twice in their last 15 matches. Those instances came against Arminia Bielefeld and Hertha Berlin, who are two of the worst offenses in German top flight. 

Offensively, Gladbach has been good all season, averaging 1.53 NPxG per match, but the club is facing the second-best defense in the league. Mainz is conceding just 1.15 NPxG, plus it has also allowed the fewest big scoring chances in the league.

The reason Mainz is so good defensively is because manager Bo Svensson has switched to a 3-4-2-1 formation, giving the club more tactical flexibility. And he’s also turned it into a pressing monster, as Mainz is sixth in high turnovers and has six goals off turnovers, which is the most in the Bundesliga, per Opta.

So, for a team like Gladbach, which is awful in transition defense and very susceptible to getting beat on the counterattack, this is a horrible matchup. Not to mention the last time these teams played, Gladbach was only able to muster 12 shot-creating actions and 15 touches in Mainz’s penalty area, per fbref.com.

I have Mainz projected as a slight road favorite at Borussia Park, so I love the value on the visitor getting +0.5 on the spread line at -140 odds.

Pick: Mainz +0.5 (-140)


Serie A Projections

Best Bets

AC Milan vs. Bologna

AC Milan Odds -250
Bologna Odds +725
Draw +375
Over/Under 2.5 (-150 / +110)
Day | Time Monday | 2:45 p.m. ET
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Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

The AC Milan resurgence over the past two seasons can be summed up by how rock solid they’ve been on defense. This season, it’s only allowing 0.85 NPxG per match and has become a nightmare to try and play through with how good its pressing has been. The Serie A side has PPDA sitting at 8.8, but it’s forcing 9.17 high turnovers per match, which is the most in the league.

While that’s great, it hasn’t lent itself to many high-quality chances at the other end of the pitch as AC Milan only has three goals off high turnovers, per Opta.

Honestly, the Milan offense hasn’t been creating many chances of late with only 9.4 xG in its last eight matches. The club also are outside the top 10 in big scoring chances, while Bologna, which isn’t a great defensive outfit, is still sixth in big scoring chances conceded.

Offensively, Bologna has been pitiful, but especially bad since the start of the new year in creating just 8.6 xG in its last 10 matches. The problem has been the side is very reliant on set pieces to score a majority of its goals (19 from open play, 9 from set pieces) this season.

*(graphic via infogol.net)

That is great if you’re generating a high number of corners and free kicks, but it’s not a big direct counterattacking-style team. In fact, Bologna has the second-fewest direct attacks in the Italian top flight, per Opta.

So, that slow style of play when Bologna  combined with AC Milan’s elite defense is going to hand itself to a low-event clash just like the last time they met when only 1.6 total xG were created.

I only have 2.23 goals projected for this match, so I love the value on the total staying under 2.5 goals at +110 odds in this meeting.

Pick: Total Under 2.5 Goals (+110)


La Liga Projections

Best Bets

Granada vs. Rayo Vallecano

Granada Odds +155
Rayo Vallecano Odds +180
Draw +225
Over/Under 2.5 (+115 / -160)
Day | Time Sunday | 12:30 p.m. ET
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Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Granada matches have somehow become quite chaotic lately in a low-scoring league like La Liga. The host side is coming off a 3-2 win over Alavés before the international break where four xG total were created between the sides. 

That’s now six of its last eight matches where at least 2.5 total xG were created. A lot of that has to do with just how bad Granada’s defense has been. They are last in La Liga in xGA, shots allowed per 90 minutes, big scoring chances conceded and crosses completed into its own penalty area.

Defending crosses is a key because Rayo Vallecano’s 4-2-3-1 system relies on a lot of its chances being created down the flanks, as it has the third-lowest percentage of its attacks coming through the middle, per whoscored.com.

It shows because Rayo Vallecano averages the second-most completed crosses into the penalty area per 90 minutes. Also, Granada is last in the Spanish top flight in aerial duel win percentage, sitting at 42.8%, per fbref.com.

On the flip side, Granada has found some life in its offense, creating 8.4 xG in its last five matches.

Defensiely, Rayo Vallecano has somewhat fallen off a cliff, which was coming because for the first half of the season it was drastically over-performing its xGA numbers. Since the calendar turned to 2022, Rayo Vallecano hasn’t kept a clean sheet in a La Liga match.

In my opinion, the price on the total going over 2.5 goals at +130 is way too low given the way both clubs are trending. I have 2.42 goals projected in this contest, so I love the total clearing that number at +130 odds.

Pick: Total Over 2.5 Goals (+130)

Ligue 1 Projections

Best Bets

Troyes vs. Reims

Troyes Odds +155
Reims Odds +190
Draw +210
Over/Under 2.5 (+140 / -200)
Day | Time Sunday | 9 a.m. ET
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Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

If you’re looking for a low-event snooze-fest, this is the match for you. Troyes is still fighting off relegation, while Reims is comfortably in the middle of the Ligue 1 table and really can just coast for the rest of the season.

These are two of the three worst offenses in France, as both are averaging less than 1.00 xG per match. I mean there have only been eight matches for Reims and 10 for Troyes where both teams have created at least one xG, and we are 29 matches into the season.

These are also the teams providing the least resistance of anyone in the French top flight, ranking 19th and 20th in PPDA. In fact, Troyes is dead last in the league in high turnovers and shots created off those turnovers. That’s good news for Reims, which really struggles playing through pressure and ranks 15th in pressure success rate allowed, per fbref.com.

The first time these sides met, only 1.4 total xG were created, with Reims maybe having the most inefficient attacking output of the season in the league when it created 0.7 xG off 18 shots and 31 shot-creating actions.

Troyes has had some really bad penalty luck because it has only allowed 26 goals from open play, but conceded eight penalties, which is the most in the first division.

Additionally, Reims best striker Hugo Ekitike, who has scored nine of its 38 goals and boasts a 0.61 xG per 90 minutes scoring rate, is coming off a thigh injury that sidelined him for a month. So, even if he plays, my guess is he will not be 100 percent for this meeting.

I have the Both Teams to Score (No) line projected at -170, so I like the current price of -140 odds and will make it my top pick.

Pick: Both Teams to Score — No (-140)

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