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European Soccer Best Bets, Projected Odds & Forecast for Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1, More (Feb. 11-14)

European Soccer Best Bets, Projected Odds & Forecast for Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1, More (Feb. 11-14) article feature image
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Alexandre Simoes/Borussia Dortmund via Getty Images. Pictured: Borussia Dortmund standouts Erling Haaland, left, and Gio Reyna.

There wasn’t much European soccer drama outside of England this past weekend, but there were some huge results like AC Milan beating Inter Milan to open up the Serie A title race. We also saw Barcelona defeat Atlético Madrid to jump back inside the top four in the La Liga standings.

This weekend’s card is headlined by a huge match in Italy, with Napoli hosting Inter Milan for first place on the line in the Italian top flight. There are some other interesting games like Paris Saint-Germain facing Rennes on Friday; Villarreal taking on Real Madrid on Saturday; and Union Berlin going up against Borussia Dortmund on Sunday in the German first division.

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

Union Berlin vs. Dortmund

Union Berlin Odds +310
Dortmund Odds -115
Draw +240
Over/Under 2.5 (+105 / -125)
Day | Time Saturday | 9:30 a.m. ET
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Union Berlin did lose for the first time in six matches, suffering a 2-0 defeat against Augsburg last Saturday, but it was a pretty fraudulent score line, as Union Berlin won the expected-goals battle by a 2.0-1.6 margin. After that result, Union Berlin has won the xG metric eight times in their last 10 matches.

Now, they have a pretty good home matchup against Dortmund, where they are yet to lose to anybody not named Bayern Munich.

The Black and Yellows are coming off a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Bayer Leverkusen last weekend and has a Europa League playoff match against Scottish side Rangers next week.

Honestly, even though Dortmund is in second place, they haven’t been that impressive this season. Their offense is drastically over-performing their underlying metrics, scoring 54 goals off of only 38.9 expected goals. Also the Dortmund defense is due for some positive regression, but only keeping two clean sheets in 21 Bundesliga matches is quite concerning.

*(graphic via infogol.net)

When these two met earlier this season, Dortmund won ,4-2, but only created 0.9 xG and had a measly 22 touches in Union Berlin’s penalty area.

Since I only have Dortmund projected at +146, I love Union Berlin getting +0.5 on the spread line at +100 and would play it up to -125 odds.

Pick: Union Berlin +0.5 (+100)


Hoffenheim vs. Arminia Bielefeld

Hoffenheim Odds +310
Arminia Bielefeld Odds -115
Draw +240
Over/Under 2.5 (+105 / -125)
Day | Time Saturday | 9:30 a.m. ET
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The Arminia Bielfeld luck box has gotta stop. So far, they have a -6 actual goal differential, but a -16.3 xGDff this season. They’re unbeaten in their last seven matches, picking up 12 points, but their xP is only 6.34, per understat.com.

The reason for that is due to the fact they’ve lost the xG battle a combined 8.9-5.3 margin. So, negative regression is going to hit Arminia like a ton of bricks in the near future. 

On the other hand, Hoffenheim has lost three consecutive matches in the German top flight, but are due for some positive regression, because they only lost the xG metric by a combined 5.2-4.3 overall.

Hoffenheim has been on of the league’s more prolific offenses, averaging 1.69 NPxG per match. They’re also top three in big scoring chances, box entries and crosses completed into the penalty area. Arminia is one of the three worst teams in the Bundesliga in both box entries and cross completed into their own penalty area, so Hoffenheim should have no trouble creating chances.

Arminia presses at an incredibly high rate. In fact, they’re second in pressures per 90 minutes. However, they’re shockingly inefficient, ranking 16th in PPDA and 15th in pressure success rate. Hoffenheim is one of the best teams in Germany playing through pressure, ranking second in both Offensive PPDA and pressure success rate allowed.

I have Hoffenheim’s spread projected at -1.38, so I love their spread line of -1 at -115 odds and will make it my top selection.

Pick: Hoffenheim -1 (-115)


Serie A Projections

Best Bests

Napoli vs. Inter Milan

Napoli Odds +175
Inter Odds +155
Draw +245
Over/Under 2.5 (-115 / +105)
Day | Time Saturday | 12 p.m. ET
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This is a big match to for the Serie A title race between essentially even teams.

We also have Italy’s No. 1 offense taking on the No. 1 defense. Inter is averaging 2.06 xG per game, while Napoli is only allowing 0.70 xG per outing. Inter has created 45 big scoring chances, while Napoli has only allowed seven overall. So, something will have to give in this Saturday showdown.

Napoli has been in fantastic form as of late, winning the xG competition in seven of their last eight matches by a combined 14.21-5.01, which has put them in this position to potentially take over first place in the table.

*(graphic via infogol.net)

Their form at home has been incredible as well, as they have the best xGDiff of anyone in Italy’s first division at +15.6 in 12 home matches.

Napoli will also have a rest advantage, with Inter having played this past Tuesday in the Coppa Italia. That said, this is a great spot for them to overtake their foe in the table.

I have Napoli projected as a +144 favorite, so I like Napoli via the Draw No Bet wager at +100 odds in this matchup.

Pick: Napoli — Draw No Bet (+100)

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Empoli vs. Cagliari

Empoli Odds -105
Cagliari Odds +285
Draw +275
Over/Under 2.5 (-150 / +130)
Day | Time Sunday | 9 a.m. ET
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Cagliari has put in some really impressive performances over their last seven matches, despite not getting the results they deserve. Since Dec. 18, Cagliari has a +1.2 expected goal differential and created nine big scoring chances in seven games, compared to creating only 11 in their first 17 outings.

They played a very difficult schedule in those seven matches as well, including showdowns with Juventus, Roma, Fiorentina and Atalanta.

In contrast, Empoli has been in pretty terrible form. They haven’t won a Serie A match since Dec. 12 and have a -2.6 xGDiff during that time span. Empoli has one of Italy’s worst defenses, which allows 1.64 NPxG per game. They’re also one of the worst two teams in big scoring chances allowed, box entries conceded and crosses completed into their own penalty area.

"Stai andando forte
Apri tutte le porte"
🎶🕺🏻#Pereiro X #Sanremo2022 pic.twitter.com/U2C4fcVG8t

— Cagliari Calcio (@CagliariCalcio) February 7, 2022

Also, the home/road splits for Empoli are quite shocking. They’re playing pretty well away from home, putting up a +1.6 xGDiff thus far. However, in 12 home league games, they have a -11 xGDiff and yielding 2.35 xG per match.

That said, I have no clue why they’re a -105 home favorite against a Cagliari team trending in the right direction.

I only have Empoli projected at +136, so I love the value on Cagliari getting +0.5 on the spread line at +100 odds.

Pick: Cagliari +0.5 (+100)


La Liga Projections 

Best Bets

Rayo Vallecano vs. Osasuna

Vallecano Odds +120
Osasuna Odds +255
Draw +225
Over/Under 2.5 (+130 / -165)
Day | Time Saturday | 12:30 p.m. ET
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This one could turn into a snoozefest, given how good both defenses are and these clubs’ style of play. Vallecano and Osasuna are both top 10 in La Liga in NPxG allowed, plus both sit top eight in big scoring chances conceded.

Osasuna typically plays very defensive, out of either a 4-1-4-1 or 4-4-2 formation, which has been very successful considering they’re fifth in the league in xG this season. However, it has hampered them offensively because they’re creating a measly 0.84 NPxG, per fbref.com.

Additionally, a lot of where Osasuna creates their chances is down the flanks via swinging in crosses to the penalty area. Well, Vallecano is No. 1 in La Liga in crosses allowed in their own penalty area.

On the flip side, Vallecano hasn’t created much from open play, averaging only 0.89 xG per match. However, they have generated the most xG in league play off set pieces. The problem is Osasuna is top five in Spain in xGA per set piece.

Shockingly, only three times in an Osasuna match have both teams created more than one xG each. Additionally, when these two met earlier in the season, Vallecano won, 1-0, and total of only 0.8 xG were created in the meeting.

I have the Both Teams to Score — No wager projected at -198, so I love the value on the current price of -115 odds.

Pick: Both Teams to Score — No (-115)


Ligue 1 Projections

Best Bets

Lyon vs. Nice

Lyon Odds -105
Nice Odds +270
Draw +280
Over/Under 2.5 (-130 / +110)
Day | Time Saturday | 3 p.m. ET
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This price is too high for Lyon, given how bad its defense has been this season. After 23 matches, the club is 16th in Ligue 1 in NPxG allowed (1.39), which isn’t what you’d expect from a team of their stature. The issues can be boiled down to the fact they’re allowing too many high-quality chances. Foes have created a whopping 34 big scoring chances, including Monaco with three last time out.

Now enters a Nice offense that has been incredibly prolific under new manager Christophe Galtier, even though they’re playing out of a 4-4-2 formation. In Galtier’s tactical system, Nice is averaging 1.72 xG per 90 minutes, while only allowing 1.09 xG per 90 minutes, per understat.com.

Nice is also in incredible form away from home as well, going unbeaten in their last eight matches with a +4 xGDiff on the road this season.

Lyon is the second-best pressing team in France by PPDA and have the most high turnovers that have led to shots. However, Nice is top seven in Offensive PPDA and pressure success rate allowed, per understat.com.

Nice did have a really bad loss at home to Clermont Foot this past Sunday, but rebounded Wednesday, smashing Marseille in a 4-1 win in the Coupe de France. So, it seems it was just a bad day for Galtier’s men.

I have this match projected fairly close to a Pick’em, so I love Nice getting +0.5 on the spread line at -110 odds and will make the club my top pick.

Pick: Nice +0.5 (-110)

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