European Soccer Betting Previews, March 15-17: Can Dortmund Keep Pace with Bayern Munich?
Getty Images. Pictured: Dortmund celebrating
- The German Bundesliga remains the tightest title race in Europe with both Bayern Munich and Dortmund level on 57 points at the top of the league.
- Both clubs were eliminated from the Champions League Round of 16 and will have to shift all their focus toward the domestic competition now.
- I've broken down the betting market in Germany, along with Spain, Italy and others, to see where bettors are putting their money this weekend.
All the top clubs vying for a domestic league title were victorious in Spain and Germany last weekend: Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich and Dortmund.
Barcelona still old a seven-point lead over Atletico Madrid at the top of Spain’s La Liga while Bayern Munich and Dortmund remain tied for first in the German Bundesliga.
So what should bettors be aware of heading into the weekend?
Here’s a look at look at the public and sharp action around the betting market in Spain, Italy, Germany and other leagues around Europe.
Spain La Liga
Despite going down, 1-0, at home Barcelona rallied back for a 3-1 win against Rayo Vallecano to remain seven points ahead of Atletico Madrid for La Liga title.
Barcelona are now gigantic -5500 favorites to win the league with Atletico coming in at +2500.
Third-place Real Madrid sacked head coach Santiago Solari following their Champions League elimination and replaced him with their previous manager, Zinedine Zidane.
They likely won’t win a trophy this season and have to start preparing for 2019-20 at this point.
Villarreal were the only bottom-five club to earn points last weekend as they earned a crucial 2-0 road win. Just four points separate the five clubs at the bottom of La Liga: Huesca (22), Rayo Vallecano (23), Celta Vigo (25), Villarreal (26) and Valladolid (26).
Looking ahead to this weekend, Barcelona have fallen from +260 to +220 to win at Real Betis. The Catalans just stormed past Lyon, 5-1, in Wednesday’s Champions League second leg and still have a chance to win every trophy this season, but bettors are fading them on the road.
Second-place Atletico Madrid face a stern road test at Atletico Bilbao, and will have to completely forget about their 3-0 debacle to Juventus in the Champions League Round of 16.
However, early sharp money doesn’t have much faith and have been betting against Diego Simeone’s side.
The biggest line moves so far have been toward Real Betis (+465 to +400), Eibar (-115 to -140) and Huesca (+165 to +150).
Something bettors should also keep in mind is the fact that three clubs played in the Europa League Round of 16 on Thursday night: Sevilla, Valencia and Villarreal.
Odds could swing dramatically after those matches are played based on injuries, suspensions, fatigue, etc.
Italy Serie A
The chalk won eight of 10 matches last weekend with no underdog victories and two draws: Sassuolo-Napoli (+300) and Fiorentina-Lazio (+230).
Juventus crushed Udinese, 4-1, in Serie A action and then went on to beat Atletico Madrid, 3-0, to reach the Champions League quarterfinals. Juve will shortly seal their eighth consecutive domestic title, but their ultimate goal is to finally win the Champions League.
In other big news, manager Claudio Ranieri took over Roma and won his first game in charge, 2-1, despite a late red card.
This weekend’s marquee match-up is the Milan Derby on Sunday afternoon with AC Milan hosting Inter Milan. The home side has the very slight edge at +160 odds though there’s been minimal line movement so far.
Since Inter Milan have to play Frankfurt in the Europa League Thursday, there’s a good chance odds eventually move toward AC Milan before kickoff.
Lines that have shifted the most this weekend have been Lazio (-260 to -275), Sassuolo (+165 to +150) and the SPAL-Roma Draw (+265 to +250).
It’s rare to see high totals in Serie A, but four over/unders are listed at 3 goals for this weekend due to big favorites.
Bayern Munich and Dortmund both picked up multi-goal victories last weekend to remain level on points with 57 apiece.
However, Bayern Munich are the clear Bundesliga title favorites at -375 odds while Dortmund are available at +260.
The focus for each club will now to be the domestic league race since each were knocked out by English opposition in the Champions League Round of 16.
Dortmund have a far tougher match-up this weekend as slim -110 road faves at Hertha Berlin while Bayern Munich have enormous -775 odds to beat Mainz at home.
Every single match in the Bundesliga features an odds-on favorite, and the early line movement has shifted toward every one.
There’s also a battle at the bottom of the table with Stuttgart and Augsburg trying to avoid relegation.
Stuttgart are currently even money to be demoted while Augsburg are +400. Both clubs play home matches this weekend with a chance to take all three points and move up the table.
There hasn’t been drastic line movement to speak of, but that will surely change over the next couple days. I would certainly lean toward RB Leipzig (-105) and Augsburg (-160) to pick up wins as favorites, and Dusseldorf (+360) to upset Wolfsburg on their own turf.
Title Races Around Europe
Czech Republic: Slavia Prague recently won, 4-0, to move six points clear of Viktoria Plzen, who suffered an embarrassing 4-0 loss over the weekend.
Slavia Prague are heavy -400 favorites at Prigram on Sunday while Viktoria Plzen are small -110 faves at Teplice on Friday.
Denmark Superliga: Copenhagen’s lead is down to one point over Midjtylland after drawing 2-2 last weekend. Both clubs are listed above -300 to win at home on Sunday and all the early line movement has shifted toward each of them.
France Ligue 1: PSG are the runaway winners in Ligue 1, but they just bowed out of the Champions League as -4000 favorites vs. Manchester United. Despite dealing with some injuries the last couple months, this will be deemed a failed season for the Parisian club.
Greece Super League: PAOK maintained their seven-point lead over Olympiakos after both clubs won by three-goal margins last weekend. PAOK (-245) and Olympiakos (-125) are each road favorites Saturday/Sunday against top-seven clubs.
Netherlands Eredivisie: Ajax have reeled off two straight wins to move within two points of league-leaders PSV. They also have the Champions League quarterfinals to worry about after dethroning Real Madrid in dramatic fashion.
On Sunday, Ajax and PSV are each listed above -170 to pick up road victories and public bettors will be all over them.
Portugal Primeira Liga: Benfica slipped up at home last weekend by drawing 2-2 with Belenenses, and are now tied atop the league with FC Porto.
The edge this weekend is clearly pointed toward Porto since they’re -625 home favorites while Benfica travel to Moreirense at -200 odds.
Want live updates of the action all weekend? Be sure to follow @actionnetsoccer on Twitter for all the latest soccer betting news around the market.