European Soccer Best Bets, Projected Odds & Forecast for Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga & Ligue 1 Matches (Sept. 17-20)

European Soccer Best Bets, Projected Odds & Forecast for Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga & Ligue 1 Matches (Sept. 17-20) article feature image
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Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images. Pictured: Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar.

  • We have another busy slate of weekend matches on the European front, with several interesting meetings taking place.
  • Analyst BJ Cunningham takes a look at the contests and leagues around the continent, plus delivers his best bets, projected odds and totals.
  • Check out his detailed insight and in-depth thoughts below to learn more about the solid card.

Not a lot of drama took place over the past weekend in the other European leagues over the past weekend.

Bayern Munich thrashed RB Leipzig. Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid took care of business. AC Milan and Napoli earned impressive home wins over Lazio and Juventus respectively, and Paris Saint-Germain got their typical multi-goal victory over an interior Ligue 1 opponent.

There are a few big-time matches this weekend, with Juventus taking on AC Milan and PSG squaring off against Lyon.

With Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League taking place during the week, a lot of managers might be rotating their squads on the weekend, so it might be a good idea to check injuries and lineups and 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.

Bundesliga Projections

Best Bets

Hertha Berlin vs. Greuther Fürth

Hertha Berlin Odds -140
Greuther Fürth Odds +390
Draw +300
Over/Under 2.5 (-125 / +105)
Day | Time Friday | 2:30 p.m. ET
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This is perhaps the worst match of the Bundesliga weekend, but it’s on Friday afternoon.

Hertha Berlin did earn a 3-1 win on the road at Bochum last Sunday, but up until this point in the season they’ve been completely anemic on offensive.

Through their first four matches, Hertha Berlin has created a total of 4.46 expected goals, which is the second-lowest mark in the Bundesliga. They also have the second-fewest shot-creating actions, plus they’re dead last in touches inside the opponents’ final third and penalty area, per fbref.com.

Four matches is a small sample size, but this is also a carryover from last season, when they only averaged 1.20 xG per game. To make matters worse, they sold their top two strikers — Matheus Cuhna and Jhon Cordoba — who scored 14 of the club’s 40 goals last season.

Their defense was actually quite solid in the very high scoring Bundesliga, allowing only 1.37 xG, which was eighth best in the German top flight. So, they should be able to shut down a Greuther Fürth offense that has done nothing going forward since promotion.

Fürth is in the relegation zone due to their poor offense, which outside of a 2.15 xG performance against Arminia Bielefeld where they were up a man for almost all of the second half, has only created a total of 1.80 xG in their other three matches.

I only have 2.40 goals projected for this game, so I think there’s value on the total under 2.5 goals at +110 via Caesars and I would play it down to +105 odds.

Pick: Total Under 2.5 Goals (+105)

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Stuttgart vs. Bayer Leverkusen 

Stuttgart Odds +220
Leverkusen Odds +115
Draw +275
Over/Under 3.5 (+130 / -160)
Day | Time Sunday | 9:30 a.m. ET
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Vfb Stuttgart has had an interesting start to the season. After a resounding 5-1 win over Furth, they’ve stalled a bit in losses against RB Leipzig and Freiburg.

However, they have a +1.72 xGDiff through their first four matches and have looked really positive going forward. They’re top five in shot-creating actions and carries into the final third to begin the season, which is a carryover from last season.

During the 2020-21 campaign, Stuttgart averaged 1.53 xG per match, which was actually higher than their opponents on Sunday.

Last season, Leverkusen’s offense wasn’t up to par with the rest of the Bundesliga, averaging only 1.39 xG per match. Now, their offense is likely going to regress after selling one of their best attacking players in Leon Bailey to Aston Villa.

Also, even though Leverkusen has scored 12 goals through their first four outings, they’ve created just 5.72 xG so far. That said, they’re due for some big-time negative regression.

Also, Leverkusen had a Europa League match on Thursday against Ferencvaros, so they could have some tired legs or be rotating their squad for the trip to Stuttgart.

I have this match projected closer to a Pick’em rather than Leverkusen being favored, so I think there’s some value in Stuttgart’s spread of +0.5 at -130 at DraftKings and would play it up to -150 odds.

Pick: Stuttgart +0.5 (-130)

Serie A Projections

Best Bets

Genoa vs. Fiorentina 

Genoa Odds +235
Fiorentina Odds +120
Draw +240
Over/Under 2.5 (-110 / -110)
Day | Time Saturday | 9 a.m. ET
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Listen, Genoa was awful last season. They finished in 11th place, but had -21.93 xGDiff in their campaign. However, a lot of their struggles came on the road. They were much better at home, as they only had a -7.00 xGDiff at the Luigi Ferraris Stadium, as opposed to a -14.93 xGDiff on the road.

They ran into a couple of the big boys in their first two matches, losing to Inter Milan and Napoli, but got their first win of the season last weekend in a 3-2 road win against Cagliari. Also, most of their home success last season came against teams below them in the table, putting together a solid 4-3-2 record and outscoring their opponents by a 15-9 margin.

There aren’t a lot of positives you can take from Fiorentina’s 2020-21 campaign. Their xG numbers were very close to their actual results, so they were deserving of a 13th-place finish with a -15.82 xGDiff overall.

Fiornetina was dreadful on the road, picking up a total of just 16 points in 19 matches with a -11.92 xGDiff. So far this season, they’ve been fortunate, as they’re second to last in non-penalty expected goals with only 2.3 through their first three fixtures.

I don’t think Fiorentina should be favored in this spot, as I have this match projected closer to a pick’em. So, I think there’s some value on Genoa’s spread of +0.5 at -140 and would play it up to -150 odds.

Pick: Genoa +0.5 (-140)

Juventus vs. AC Milan 

Juventus Odds +115
AC Milan Odds +230
Draw +260
Over/Under 2.5 (-120 / +105)
Day | Time Sunday | 2:45pm ET
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Life without Cristiano Ronaldo in Serie A is not going well for Juventus at the moment. They lost 1-0 at home to newly promoted Empoli in their first match without him and followed that up with a 2-1 road loss at Napoli last weekend.

However, they might have gotten a little bit of their confidence back during the week, beating Swedish side Malmo in the Champions League on Tuesday.

However, Juventus was the best team in the Italian top flight last season based on expected points and xGDiff, plus they were by far and away the best home team. They had a whopping +26.64 xGDiff in 19 matches and averaged 2.36 xG per game.

Now, Ronaldo was a big part of that, carrying a 0.96 xG per 90-minute scoring rate, but the rest of Juventus’ squad is still there and has a ton of talent.

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AC Milan had an incredible resurgence last season, finishing second in Serie A and put up a +26.21 xGDiff. They’ve kept pretty much their exact same squad for the 2021-22 campaign as well.

The Rossoneri looked fantastic through their first three matches, winning all three by a combined score of 7-1. However, AC Milan played a Champions League match in England against Liverpool on Wednesday, losing 3-2, so they will have one less day of rest and travel than Juventus.

AC Milan was also the benficiary of some massive penalty luck last season, as they were awarded 20 penalties during the campaign, which was six more than anybody in Europe’s top five leagues.

I have Juventus projected at -115, so I think there’s value on them at home at +115 via DraftKings and would play it down to +110 odds.

Pick: Juventus ML (+115)

La Liga Projections

Best Bets

Valencia vs. Real Madrid

Valencia Odds +285
Real Madrid Odds -110
Draw +280
Over/Under 2.5 (-130 / +110)
Day | Time Sunday | 3 pm ET
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Valencia has also gotten off to a good start, but playing against Getafe, Granada, Alaves and Osasuna isn’t exactly what you would call a murderers’ row and even last weekend they beat Osasuna 4-1, but only created 0.92 xG for the match. 

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.

They haven’t made any significant summer signings and they’re still playing out of the same formation, so I think this is a perfect spot to sell high.

Real Madrid has been solid through their first four matches, as they’re atop La Liga with 10 points and a +2.82 xGDiff.

I know they had a Champions League match Wednesday against Inter Milan, but Real Madrid has a ton of squad depth to rotate guys if they need to for this fixture.

Real Madrid was one of the best teams on the road last season, going 12-6-1 with a +12.85 xGDiff, while Valencia was completely overrated at home with a +11 actual goal differential, while they had a -3.21 xGDiff. 

I have Real Madrid projected at -151, so I think there’s good value on Los Blancos at -110 on DraftKings and would play it up to -130 odds.

Pick: Real Madrid ML (-110)


Ligue 1 Projections

Best Bets

Reims vs. Lorient

Reims Odds +125
Lorient Odds +225
Draw +240
Over/Under 2.5 (+120 / -140)
Day | Time Sunday | 9 a.m. ET
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Reims is doing exactly what they did last season, putting together a -2.05 xGDiff through their first five 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.

Lorient hasn’t been great to begin this season, but they were due for a lot of positive regression defensively. They conceded 68 actual goals, but their opponents only created 52.48 xG overall.

Yes, Lorient has only one road win since the start of last season, but do you know who that one victory came against? You guessed it… Reims. They swept them last season, earning a 3-1 road victory and 1-0 home shutout. They also out-created them by a 3.31-0.94 xG margin.

I have Reims projected at +198, so I think there is some value on Lorient’s spread of +0.5 at -145 via DraftKings and I would play it up to -165 odds.

Pick: Lorient +0.5 (-145)

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PSG vs. Lyon

PSG Odds -300
Lyon Odds +750
Draw +475
Over/Under 3.5 (+105 / -125)
Day | Time Sunday | 2:45 p.m. ET
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The Parisians have been cruising to begin their Ligue 1 campaign, but haven’t faced the stiffest of competition. Through their first five matches, they’ve played Troyes, Strasbourg, Brest, Reims and Clermont Foot, which isn’t the most powerful group.

So, facing off against a Lyon side that actually beat them by a 1-0 score line at the Parc des Princes last season could be a tough matchup.

PSG also looked horrible Wednesday, settling for a 1-1 draw with Belgian side Club Brugge in Champions League action and it was a deserved result because the expected goals battle was even.

Brugge (1.40) 1-1 (1.46) PSG

— The xG Philosophy (@xGPhilosophy) September 15, 2021

PSG also has some injury concerns for this match. Kylian Mbappe was forced off with an ankle injury in the Brugge game, and at the time of writing , remains questionable for this contest.

Kylian Mbappe is forced out of PSG’s game against Brugge with an injury pic.twitter.com/gRyWXNOYzX

— B/R Football (@brfootball) September 15, 2021

Lyon missed out on a Champions League spot by one point last season, but had a very impressive campaign, averaging 2.17 xG per match that was second only to PSG in the French top flight.

Now, we have to take into account Memphis Depay — Lyon’s best player last season — signed with Barcelona over the summer. Depay was everything to Lyon’s attack, recording 21 goals and 12 assists, but I don’t think the club will see a precipitous drop because of the talent in the squad overall.

Lyon had three other attackers on their roster who averaged over 0.45 xG per 90 minutes last season, so they’re still a potent attack even without Depay.

This season, the offense hasn’t skipped a beat, averaging 8.68 xG through their first five matches and have the second-most shot-creating actions in the league.

I think PSG is overvalued in this home spot, as I only have them projected at -157 odds. That said, I think there’s value in Lyon’s spread of +1.5 at +105 on DraftKings and would play it up to -115 odds.

Pick: Lyon +1.5 (+105)

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