European Soccer Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Plus-Money Underdogs to Bet This Weekend (March 6-7)

European Soccer Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Plus-Money Underdogs to Bet This Weekend (March 6-7) article feature image
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Tim Goode/Pool/AFP via Getty Images. Pictured: Sheffield United standout David McGoldrick, left, battles for the ball during a game against Aston Villa.

  • Our Action Network soccer handicappers are back with new underdogs they think can earn wins on the European landscape.
  • Sheffield United is the popular choice, with two of our analysts backing the Premier League's last-place club in its match against Southampton.
  • Check out all their picks and detailed insight below.

Our group of Action Network soccer analysts had a rough showing last weekend, with just a single underdog coming through with a victory after a stellar 4-2 performance two weeks ago.

Handicapper Jeremy Pond delivered the lone winner, cashing with Ligue 1 side Metz (+215) in its 2-1 triumph over Bordeaux in the French top flight. Pond will go for three in a row, targeting an intriguing match in the Championship.

The flavor of the weekend comes via Sheffield United, the Premier League’s last-place side. BJ Cunningham and Matt Trebby are all over the Blades in their affair with struggling Southampton at Bramall Lane.

If you’re new to this preview, our experts search for live underdogs at +200 odds or longer playing on the weekend in Europe. Whether it’s a match in La Liga, Serie A or the Eredivisie, the goal is simple: Find a team that could deliver a winner. That said, let’s take a look at the picks.

GAME PICK | ODDS DAY | TIME
Bristol City vs. QPR Bristol City | +230 Saturday | 10 a.m. ET
Sheffield United vs. Southampton Sheffield | +265 Saturday | 10 a.m. ET
West Brom vs. Newcastle Newcastle | +205 Sunday | 7 a.m. ET
Liverpool vs. Fulham Fulham | +700 Sunday | 9 a.m. ET
Athletic Bilbao vs. Granada Granada | +525 Sunday | 3 p.m. ET

Odds as of Friday night via DraftKings.


Jeremy Pond: Bristol City (+230) vs. Queens Park Rangers

  • Odds available at DraftKings
  • Day | Time: Saturday | 10 a.m. ET

Searching for winners in Ligue 1 seems to be the right avenue for success, with both underdogs (Montpellier and Metz) I chose chalking up victories.

However, a small league card is on deck this weekend, so I am turning my attention to the Championship and team I see as a very live play.

Bristol City welcomes struggling Queens Park Rangers for Saturday’s match at Ashton Fate Stadium. The southwest England side nearly pulled off a huge upset last time out, suffering a disappointing 2-1 defeat at the hands of Bournemouth in a midweek contest.

The Robins, who are sitting in 12th in the table and tied with Stoke City on 45 points, jumped out to a 1-0 lead before conceding two unanswered goals to the Cherries in the home fixture.

On the other side, QPR has lost back-to-back league games after winning four on the bounce. Defeats against lowly Birmingham City (2-1) and Barnsley, which came following a scoreless draw with Preston North End, have the visitors reeling at the moment.

Now, QPR has to face a team it hasn’t beaten in nine consecutive meetings in the middle of a bad run of form.

Nigel Pearson, the new Bristol City manager, has a stellar resume when it comes to managing clubs facing the Hoops. Pearson’s teams have gone 5-1-2 (W-L-D) in eight games against QPR, which has to have the club feeling optimistic about their chances.

These sides met back earlier this season, with Bristol City claiming a 2-1 road victory on Dec. 1 at Loftus Road Stadium in London. The Hoops held a 64%-36% edge in possession, but the Robins still left with all three points.

With so much workin in the host’s favor,  I am backing Bristol City to bag all three points at ripe odds. The Robins are in simply better form at the moment. Throw in the fact they’ve won four home matches in a row and the last six overall against the Hoops, and you have to like your chances with this play.

[Bet Bristol City at DraftKings and get an INSTANT $500 deposit match.]

BJ Cunningham & Matt Trebby:  Sheffield United (+270) vs. Southampton

  • Odds available at DraftKings
  • Day | Time: Saturday | 10 a.m. ET

Cunningham: Outside of Brighton, Sheffield United is the most underrated team in the Premier League this season.

In fact, based on Understat‘s expected-points metric, the Blades should have 10.25 more points to their name, which would put them in 18th place and on the cusp of survival. The reason for the large discrepancy is because they’ve had terrible luck in front of net.

The Blades have scored only 16 goals in 27 matches, but created 26.09 expected goals in those fixtures, so they’re due for some positive regression in their final 10 matches.

Ever since its 1-0 upset win over Liverpool in early January, Southampton has picked up only a single point and has been outscored by a 25-5 margin in the process. The Saints have only been able to average 1.00 xGF per match, so a lot of their issues have come on the offensive side of things.

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A lot of that has to do with the 4-4-2 formation Southampton utilizes, which is one of the more defensive setups. Manager Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side likes to press high up the field and have morphed at times into a 4-2-2-2 formation.

However, the high press might run into some trouble when it faces Sheffield United’s 3-5-2 lineup. The reason being is if your formation presses high and adjusts into a 4-2-2-2, then that’s going to leave space out for the Blades’ wing backs to push up the field and exploit the Saints on the outside.

So, I find it hard to believe that a team that hasn’t won a league game in more than two months is favored over anybody, let alone on the road. Give me the Blades at +260 to win back-to-back matches.

Trebby: This is more a fade on Southampton than a buy of Sheffield United, although the Blades are finally getting some results in this year.

Since Jan. 15, the Saints have been the worst team in England’s top flight, taking just one point from their last nine with a -20 goal difference that includes a 9-0 drubbing against Manchester United that saw them down to nine men at the end.

Since Danny Ings went down with an injury, Southampton have been chasing goals. The Saints have scored just four goals in their last seven games, and two of those came against Newcastle United in a match they lost.

Sheffield United has had a tough run of fixtures here, playing Champions League hopefuls Chelsea, West Ham United, Liverpool and Aston Villa in its last five matches, actually beating the Villains on Wednesday at Bramall Lane.

While the Blades have won just four times in 11 fixtures in 2021, they’re organized enough to frustrate a Saints team that isn’t scoring of late. At a number this big, the Blades are definitely the team with the value.

[Bet Sheffield United at DraftKings and get $250 FREE.]

Anthony Dabbundo: West Bromwich Albion vs. Newcastle United (+205)

  • Odds available at DraftKings
  • Day | Time: Sunday | 7 a.m. ET

My power ratings make Newcastle and West Brom two of the worst four teams in the Premier League, but the gap between them is significant. The Magpies are bad, but the Baggies are far worse.

Even without striker Callum Wilson, Newcastle shouldn’t be this significant of a road underdog against one of the worst Premier League teams in years. West Brom is a full half xG per 90 minutes worse than Newcastle’s number, according to FBref.com, and 0.67 goals worse in my ratings.

The Magpies come into this game on extra rest, having not played during the middle of the week, while the Baggies played Thursday and lost 1-0 to Everton.

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This line is inflated because West Brom’s recent form in attack has improved, but its defense has still allowed 3.5 more expected goals and 12 actual goals more than every other team in the league.

Newcastle’s own attack has improved since the return of Allan Saint-Maximin, averaging 1.18 xG in its last six games since his return. For the year, the Magpies are under one xG per 90 minutes.

My own ratings make Newcastle at +158 odds away from home and I will fade the league’s worst team at +205 here.

[Bet Newcastle now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Michael Leboff: Liverpool vs. Fulham (+700)

  • Odds available at DraftKings
  • Day | Time: Sunday | 9 a.m. ET

It isn’t everyday that you get close to 8/1 odds to fade a team that’s in disarray. However, that’s what we’re dealing with Sunday, as scuffling Liverpool hosts in-form Fulham at Anfield. 

With its loss to Chelsea on Thursday, Liverpool have now dropped five of its last six matches and are 3-1-6 (W-D-L) since the first of the year. During that span, the Reds have seen their 68-match unbeaten run at home end; they lost to their biggest rival for the first time in a decade (and first time at home in 22 years); and, dropped all the way to seventh place. 

A lot of their struggles can be chalked up to injuries and fatigue, but bettors aren’t here to take pity. We’re here to find advantages, and I think Liverpool’s struggling defense gives Fulham a chance to pull off the shocker. On the season, the Reds rank mid-table with a 1.31 expected goals allowed per 90 minutes.

Over their recent six-game slide, that number has ticked up to 1.8 xG/90 minutes. When you’re on your 20th center-back pairing, your defensive numbers will suffer and put a strain on the rest of the team. We’re used to seeing Liverpool’s offense run rampant, but it hasn’t scored more than a goal once in its last six games and has been shutout in two of its last three matches.

Hosting a team in a relegation spot should spell some relief for Liverpool, but this isn’t a great time to be taking on Fulham. The Cottagers have only lost four of their last 12 matches — albeit with six draws — and have made a significant improvement on defense.

Fulham has conceded four goals in its last seven matches and it’s not like the club is just getting lucky, as it’s surrendering just 0.97 xG per 90 in that span.

Liverpool’s defense is leaky enough at the moment that even an offensively-challenged team like Fulham can give it troubles and I have faith that the visitor’s defense can hold up its end of the bargain to make a game of this.

The listed odds imply that Fulham have a tiny chance of winning this match. I think that is pretty low, considering the current form and motivation of these clubs. I’d play the underdog down to +700 odds.

[Bet Fulham now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

Kieran Darcy: Athletic Bilbao vs. Granada (+525)

  • Odds available at DraftKings
  • Day | Time: Sunday | 3 p.m. ET

Why is eighth-place Granada such a heavy underdog against 10th-place Athletic Bilbao? Well, the underlying numbers paint a rather different picture. Granada is 15th in La Liga in terms of xG differential at -9.5, according to FBref.com, and the host is seventh at +6.8 on the numbers.

However, there are some circumstances here that make me think Granada is worth a shot this week. Athletic Bilbao had to play a Copa del Rey semifinal at Levante on Thursday, while Granada had the week off. And even though the host won, it needed to play 30 extra minutes to do so. Now, Athletic Bilbao faces a pretty short turnaround.

On the flip side, there’s a chance Granada manager Diego Martinez will be looking ahead to next week’s Europa League match with Molde. However, I’m hoping he’ll send out a strong Starting XI on Sunday, given his team has had the week off.

Granada is coming off a 2-1 win over Elche; it just eliminated Napoli in the Europa League’s Round of 32; and, it defeated Athletic Bilbao, 2-0, in their first league meeting of the season back in September.

Granada at better than 5-1 odds? Not a bad play in my opinion.

[Bet Granada now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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