European Soccer Best Bets, Projected Odds & Forecast for Midweek Serie A, La Liga & Ligue 1 Matches (Sept. 21-23)

European Soccer Best Bets, Projected Odds & Forecast for Midweek Serie A, La Liga & Ligue 1 Matches (Sept. 21-23) article feature image
Credit:

Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images. Pictured: Sevilla standout Youssef En-Nesyri.

  • Midweek soccer makes its appearance on the European landscape, kicking off another slate of solid matchups.
  • Analyst BJ Cunningham dives into the busy card, plus dishes out his best bets, projected odds and totals.
  • Check out his detailed insight and in-depth thoughts below to learn more about the intriguing schedule.

Midweek European soccer is back this week, with Serie A, La Liga, and Ligue 1 in action across the busy landscape.

There wasn’t much drama or upsets this past weekend in these three leagues, as most of the big clubs took care of business. There aren’t many big games during the week, either, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t excitement from a betting perspective.

With Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League taking place last week, a lot of managers might be rotating their squads because clubs like Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, etc… are playing their fourth matches in less than two weeks.

That said, it might be a good idea to check lineups and injuries 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.

Serie A Projections

Best Bets

Bologna vs. Genoa

Bologna Odds +105
Genoa Odds +280
Draw +245
Over/Under 2.5 (-125 / +105)
Day | Time Tuesday | 12:30 p.m. ET
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Bologna was due for some positive regression this season, which will come out of the 4-2-3-1 formation it played a majority of the time last season. When using that style, they were quite prolific offensively, averaging 1.58 xG per 90 minutes.

So far this season, they were playing well up until this past weekend where they were drubbed, 6-1, on the road at Inter Milan. However, before the match against Inter, Bologna had a non-penalty expected goal differential of +1.3 through their first three matches against Salernitana, Atalanta and Verona.

Now, they’ll be facing a Genoa side that’s quite frankly due for a ton of negative regression after finishing 10th last season. Genoa’s actual goal differential was -11, but their xGDiff was -21.97 in the category.

Dating back to last season, they had the fewest shot-creating actions and touches inside the opponents’ penalty area, while their defense ranks in the bottom five of those same two categories, per fbref.com.

Additionally, Genoa was terrible on the road last season, putting up a -14.98 xGDiff, which was the second worst mark in Serie A outside of the three relegated teams.

I have Bologna projected at -119, so I think there’s some value on them at +105 via DraftKings and would play the club down to +100 odds.

Pick: Genoa ML (+105)

Torino vs. Lazio

Torino Odds +250
Lazio Odds +120
Draw +235
Over/Under 2.5 (-140 / +120)
Day | Time Thursday | 12:30 p.m. ET
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Torino has been much improved this season. They were dangerously close to relegation last season, but should have been closer to the middle of the table because based on expected points, they should have finished 11th — rather than 17th — according to understat.com.

Torino lost their first two matches against Atalanta and Fiorentina, but has won two in a row with wins against  Salernitana and Sassuolo. The side has been incredible defensively, allowing only 2.6 xG through their first four matches, which is the best mark in the Italian top flight.

They have a good striker in Andrea Belotti, who scored 13 goals and carried a 0.42 xG scoring rate last season and have brought in attacking help with the likes of Dennis Praet from Leicester City and Josip Brekalo from Wolfsburg.

Sure, Lazio finished just outside the top four last season, but they only accumulated 57.68 xP, which was far below their actual point total of 68. They’re also going through a transition period, with long-time manager Simone Inzaghi leaving for Inter Milan.

Also, Lazio was dreadful on the road last season, picking up 26 of a possible 57 points with a -0.79 xGDiff. Sure, they won their first two matches against bottom-of-the-table sides in Empoli and Spezia by a combined 9-2 score line, but were throughly outplayed by AC Milan two weeks ago and needed a late goal for a 2-2 home draw with Cagliari in Sunday’s fixtures.

I don’t think Lazio should be a road favorite against a well organized side like Torino, as I only have them projected at +168. So, I think we have value on their spread of +0.5 at -130 odds at DraftKings and would play it up to -145 odds.

Pick: Torino +0.5 (-130)


La Liga Projections

Best Bets

Sevilla vs. Valencia 

Sevilla Odds -140
Valencia Odds +400
Draw +285
Over/Under 2.5 (+105 / -125)
Day | Time Wednesday | 12:30 p.m. ET
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Sevilla has been fantastic to start the season, even though they’ve drawn their last two games with Elche and Real Sociedad. They’ve only allowed 2.91 xG through their first four matches, which is the best mark in La Liga.

Tactically, Sevilla use a fantastic blend of pressing and defensive structure out of its 4-3-3 formation. Depending on the opponent, they might press high up the field or sit back and take away key passing lanes in the middle.

It has shown in their underlying metrics as well, as Sevilla only allows 0.91 xG per 90 minutes when playing out of that setup. They were also one of the best teams at home dating back to last season against teams below them in the table going 17-1-2 with a +16.06 xGDiff.

Valencia were brought back down to earth this past Sunday, suffered a 2-1 home loss against Real Madrid. Before the match, Valencia didn’t exactly play a murderers’ row en route to accumulating 10 points against Getafe, Granada, Alaves and Osasuna.

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If we date back to last season, the club really struggled to find reliable strikers up top in its 4-4-2 formation, as Carlos Soler was its top goal scorer with 11 goals from the midfield position.

Also, Valencia allowed 1.47 xG per match last season. That was the fourth-highest mark in La Liga, which was quite pathetic considering how defensive that formation is in the first place.

In fact, it allowed the most shot-creating actions of any team in Spain during the 2020-21 campaign. Their offense is due for some negative regression too, because they’ve only created 5.00 non-penalty expected goals through their first five matches, but have scored eight non-penalty goals. 

Sevilla also swept Valencia in both meetings last season, out creating them 2.85 xG to 1.16 xG.

I have Sevilla projected at -199, so I think there is plenty of value on the club at -140 via DraftKings and would play it up to -170 odds.

Pick: Sevilla ML (-140)

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Villarreal vs. Elche

Villarreal Odds -195
Elche Odds +600
Draw +320
Over/Under 2.5 (+110 / -125)
Day | Time Wednesday | 4 p.m. ET
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Villarreal has had a real suspect start to the season, drawing all of their first four matches. With that being said, Villarreal is still a top-six team in Spain. Last season,  they finished with the +14.21 xGDiff.

Villarreal was much better at home than on the road. They had the fifth-best xGDiff (+11.7) in the Spanish top flight, and dominated the bottom nine teams at home. They went 7-2-0, outscoring their opponents by a 15-6 margin.

Offensively, Elche was completely anemic and wound up with the lowest xG per match average (0.80) in the league last season. The club plays a very defensive 4-4-2 formation, much like a lot of Spanish teams do, but struggles to create high-quality chances.

Elche was dead last in shots inside the penalty area; shots inside the six-yard box; shot-creating actions; and, passes leading to a shot. This season, they’ve only created 3.01 xG from open play from their first five matches.

In fact, Elche didn’t have anyone on its roster who averaged more than 0.25 xG per 90 minutes, so I don’t know how they’re going to score against an incredibly well-organized side like Villarreal that allowed only 1.05 xG per match last season at home.

I have Villarreal’s spread projected at -1.25, so I think there is some value on the at -1 at +100 on DraftKings on and would play it up to -105 odds.

Pick: Villarreal -1 (+100)


Ligue 1 Projections

Best Bets

Lille vs. Reims

Lille Odds -140
Reims Odds +425
Draw +270
Over/Under 2.5 (+120 / -140)
Day | Time Wednesday | 1 p.m. ET
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Listen, Lille has taken a big down turn since winning the Ligue 1, picking up only five points in their first six matches, but they’ve been really unlucky. Lille has a +2.66 xGDiff so far.

Their offense, which was completely anemic last season has been awesome to start this season, creating 8.78 xG, which is the third most in Ligue 1. Last season, they only averaged 1.27 xG per match.

They are also due for a lot of positive regression defensively because although they’ve allowed 12 goals (second most in the French top flight), they’ve only allowed opponents to create 6.20 xG so far.

Also, might I remind you Lille has the best defense in Europe’s top-five leagues last season, allowing only 0.67 xG per match out of their patented 4-4-2 formation.

Reims is doing exactly what they did last season, putting together a -1.24 xGDiff through their first six matches and have actually lost the xG battle in four of those games.

In case you forgot what they did last season, Reims finished in 14th place with a -8 goal differential, but had the second-fewest xG and the second-most xGA, which generated a -28.56 xGDiff. They also sold their top striker during the summer who created 40% of their xG last season.

They were one of the worst road teams, putting up a -15.69 xGDiff and only averaged 0.95 xG per match, which was the second-lowest mark in Ligue 1.

I have Lille projected at -236, so I think there’s value on them at -140 on DraftKings and would play it up to -200 odds.

Pick: Lille ML (-140)

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Rennes vs. Clermont Foot

Rennes Odds +100
Clermont Foot Odds +290
Draw +250
Over/Under 2.5 (-110 / -110)
Day | Time Wednesday | 1 p.m. ET
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Rennes has been really poor to start the season, picking up only five points through six matches. Their offense has done nothing as well, creating only 5.94 xG, which is the fourth lowest mark in Ligue 1.

This is sort of a carry over from last season, because they averaged only 1.23 xG per match, but had one of the best defenses in France in allowing only 0.95 xG per game. That number gets even better at home, where they only conceded 0.85 xG per outing during the 2020-21 campaign.

Clermont Foot has had a very positive start to their first Ligue 1 campaign since promotion, picking up nine points through their first nine matches, and have created 9.69 xG thus far.

However, history is not on Clermont Foot’s side. Since 2005, newly promoted teams coming up to the top flight of France see a 29.7% dip in scoring after getting promoted. So for a club like Clermont Foot that averaged 1.82 xG per match in Ligue 2, is projected to only average 1.28 xG per match.

Rennes is also dealing with some injuries right now, as two of their best attacking players — Jeremy Doku and Martin Terrier — will be sidelined until at least October.

I only have 1.99 goals projected for this match, so I think there’s some value on the total under 2.5 goals at -110 via FanDuel and would play it to -120 odds as my top selection.

Pick: Total Under 2.5 Goals (-110)

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