European Soccer Best Bets, Projected Odds for Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga & Ligue 1 Games (Sept. 10-13)

European Soccer Best Bets, Projected Odds for Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga & Ligue 1 Games (Sept. 10-13) article feature image
Credit:

Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images. Pictured: AC Milan standout Olivier Giroud.

  • The international break is over in club soccer, which means we have a full slate this weekend on the European landscape.
  • Analyst BJ Cunningham takes a look at the matches, plus delivers his best bets, projected odds and totals.
  • Check out below why he's backing the likes of RB Leipzig, AC Milan and Spanish giant Real Madrid.

The international break is over, which means the return of club soccer across Europe. Before the hiatus, there was some drama across the continent with Juventus, in its first match without Cristiano Ronaldo, suffering a  1-0 loss to newly promoted Empoli, who was at +1100 odds on the moneyline.

EMPOLI TAKE THE LEAD OVER JUVENTUS 👀 pic.twitter.com/aphvmmP6Pq

— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) August 28, 2021

Outside of Juventus tasting defeat, there were very few upsets. However, there are a lot of big matches this weekend, including RB Leipzig vs. Bayern Munich; Bayer Leverkusen vs. Borussia Dortmund; AC Milan vs. Lazio; Napoli vs. Juventus; and, Monaco vs. Marseille to highlight the card.

If you’re new to our soccer coverage, I will be providing my projections for every match from the Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga and Ligue 1, plus Champions League and Europa League action when they kick off in September.

If you’d like to see my Premier League projections, you can read them here. Also, 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

RB Leipzig vs. Bayern Munich

RB Leipzig Odds +195
Bayern Munich Odds +130
Draw +275
Over/Under 3.5 (+110 / -140)
Day | Time Saturday | 12:30 p.m. ET
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A very interesting encounter headlines this weekend’s Bundesliga action, with former RB Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann returning to Red Bull Arena to face his former club.

RB Leipzig has gotten off to a slow start under new manager Jesse March, losing two of its first three matches. However, the Red Bulls were a tad unlucky in those games, as they’ve out-created opponents by 5.7 to 3.3 margin in expected goals. Leipzig has a new center back pairing still trying develop, but in their last match against Wolfsburg that they lost 1-0, they only allowed one of the four best in Germany take eight shots and create 1.06 xG in defeat.

RB Leipzig finished second in the Bundesliga behind Bayern Munich last season, but when looking at xG and expected points, it was actually better than the nine-time defending champion. Leipzig had a +37.9 xGDiff, compared to Bayern’s +37.06 xGDiff. The reason for that is because it was by far the best defense in the German top flight.

The main reason for its defensive success is because it didn’t allow its opponents to have very many touches, shots or created chances in the final third of the field. RB Leipzig led the Bundesliga in:

  • xG allowed (0.86 per match)
  • Shot Creating Actions allowed (11.21 per 90 minutes)
  • Touches allowed in the final third (38.73/90 minutes)
  • Touches allowed in the penalty area (5.9/90 minutes)
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The main reason they couldn’t keep pace with Bayern is because their offense desperately needed a reliable striker in front of net. They addressed that issue and brought in Andre Silva from Eintracht Frankfurt, who scored 28 goals last season and carried a 0.83 xG per 90 minutes scoring rate.

It’s a bit of a transition period for the Bavarians, so these results aren’t out of the ordinary. They have a new manager and center-back pairing in Dayot Upamecano and Niklas Süle, who are still trying to figure out how to play together.

Bayern Munich also finished in front of net at an incredibly — and frankly — unsustainable rate last season with 99 goals, but only created 75.93 xG in the process. In fact, they’ve struggled against RB Leipzig over the years, as they have juts one win in their last five meetings in the Bundesliga. Also, RB Leipzig won the xG battle in both meetings last season.

I think Bayern Munich is way overvalued in this spot. I have RB Leipzig’s spread of +0.5 projected at -193, so I think there’s good value on the current number of -145 odds.

Pick: RB Leipzig +0.5 (-145)

Gladbach vs. Arminia Bielefeld

Gladbach Odds -230
Arminia Bielefeld Odds +600
Draw +380
Over/Under 2.5 (-155 / +125)
Day | Time Sunday | 1:30 p.m. ET
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Borussia Mönchengladbach has gotten off to a really slow start, losing back-to-back road matches to Leverkusen and Union Berlin. However, they actually won the xG battle in both games despite the final score lines showing 4-0 and 2-1 results. So, they’re due for some positive regression and this is a perfect buy-low spot.

Gladbach might have had a down year in 2020-21, but have a ton of talent on this roster with the likes of Marcus Thuram, Alassane Plea, Lars Stindl and Matthias Ginter, who was a key part of Germany’s defense during the European Championships. And quite possibly the best player at the European Championships — goalkeeper Yann Sommer — is between the posts, so this is a really good roster.

A lot was going on off the field last year with former manager Marco Rose announcing in the middle of the season he was leaving for Borussia Dortmund, so the Foals kind of quit on him.

Most of Gladbach’s struggles last season came on road, but at home they had a +9.18 xGDiff and only allowed 1.04 xG per match, which was the third-best mark in the Bundesliga.

Also, this is a perfect spot to fade a luck-box team like Arminia Bielefeld, who has started off with three consecutive draws, but has been beaten on xG by a whopping combined 6.00-1.97 margin. This is also a carryover from last season when they had the second-worst expected goal differential (-27.84), but somehow survived relegation.

I have Gladbach’s spread projected at -1.33, so I think there’s value on their spread of -1.5 at +135 odds via DraftKings and would play it down to +125 odds.

Pick: Gladbach -1.5 (+135)

Serie A Projections

Best Bets

Torino vs. Salernitana

Torino Odds -175
Salernitana Odds +500
Draw +310
Over/Under 2.5 (-125 / +100)
Day | Time Sunday | 9 a.m. ET
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I’ve mentioned it a few times before the season, but Salernitana earning the second automatic promotion spot in Serie B will go down as one of the luckiest situations in soccer history.

In Serie B last season, Salernitana had a -14.29 xGDiff, which is unheard of for a club to gain promotion. Also, according to transfermarkt.com, their total squad value is not just the lowest in Serie A, but it’s lowest in all of Europe’s top five leagues.

Their first two matches against Bologna and Roma showed how overmatched they are in the Italian first division. In terms of shot creating actions, they’ve allowed 69 through their first two matches, which is the highest in  Serie A, while generating only 19 shot-creating actions for the lowest in the league.

Also, if we look at non-penalty expected goals, they’ve been out created 3.5 to 1.11 in the category. But hey, they just signed 38-year-old and former Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribéry, so that will solve all of their problems, right?

Franck Ribery arrived to sign his contract with Serie A’s Salernitana 📸 pic.twitter.com/RfUOAooKeu

— B/R Football (@brfootball) September 6, 2021

Torino also lost their first two matches against Atalanta and Fiorentina, but unlike Salernitana, they’ve been quite unlucky, as they’ve won the combined xG battle by a 1.68-1.45 margin.

Torino was dangerously close to relegation last season, but should have been closer to the middle of the table because based on xP, they should have finished 11th — rather than 17th — according to understat.com.

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, so they should be able to pick apart Salernitana’s defense.

I have Torino projected at -212 and the spread at -1.24, so I think there’s some value on the spread of -1 (+105) at DraftKings and would play it to +100 odds.

Pick: Torino -1 (+105)

AC Milan vs. Lazio

AC Milan Odds +125
Lazio Odds +220
Draw +250
Over/Under 2.5 (-150 / +120)
Day | Time Sunday | 12 p.m. ET
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AC Milan had an incredible resurgence last season, finishing in second in Serie A and putting 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 two games, beating Sampdoria on the road and thrashing Cagliari in a 4-1 home win before the international break. Where AC Milan really struggled last season was at home against the top five teams in Italy, losing all four by a combined score of 10-1 margin. However, they dominated the rest of Serie A at the San Siro, going 9-6-1 with a +16.32 xGDiff overall.

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.

Maurizio Sarri is back with the club and hasn’t lasted more than one season at his last two stops of Chelsea and Juventus. For years, Lazio played a 3-5-2 formation under Filippo Inzaghi and now Sarri has them playing out of a 4-3-3 setup.

Also, Lazio was dreadful on the road last season, picking up 26 of a possible 57 points with a -0.79 xGDiff. Sure, they’ve beaten two bottom-of-the-table sides in Empoli and Spezia in their first two matches by a combined 9-2 score line, but AC Milan will be a massive step up in competition.

I have AC Milan projected at +104, so I think there’s little bit of value on them +125 at DraftKings or better.

Pick: AC Milan ML (+125)

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La Liga Projections

Best Bets

Levante vs. Rayo Vallecano 

Levante Odds +110
Rayo Vallecano Odds +265
Draw +245
Over/Under 2.5 (+100 / -125)
Day | Time Saturday | 12:30 p.m. ET
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Levante is likely going to be battling relegation once again, because last season they averaged only 1.08 xG per match, while also allowing 1.45 xG per contest. Their defense allowed the fourth-most shot-creating actions, the third-most touches in their own penalty area and fourth-most carries into the 18-yard area, per fbref.com. So, I don’t believe this is a team that deserves to be a +110 favorite over a better-than-horrible side like Rayo Vallecano.

They mainly play out of a very defensive 4-4-2 and over the past two seasons have a -8.19 xGDiff when using that formation. 

Rayo Vallecano looked fantastic before the international break, trashing Granada in a 4-0 blowout, and out-created their foes by 2.41-0.78 xG difference. They were the second-best team in the Spanish second division last season, creating 1.60 xG per match, while only allowing 1.04 overall. So, this isn’t a club that’s not automatically headed for relegation. 

I only have Levante projected at +152, so I think there’s value on Rayo Vallecano’s spread of +0.5 at -125 at DraftKings and would play it to -130 odds.

Pick: Rayo Vallecano +0.5 (-125)

Osasuna vs. Valencia  

Osasuna Odds +145
Valencia Odds +215 
Draw +215
Over/Under 2.5 (+125 / -150)
Day | Time Sunday | 10:15 a.m. ET
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Osasuna has been one of the best La Liga teams to start the season, even though they have just one win to go along with two draws. In their three matches, they’ve created a whopping 6.46 xG; 68 shot-creating actions; 656 touches in the opponents’ final third; and, 118 touches in the opponents’ penalty area, which is top three in the Spanish top flight.

With all that offensive prowess, their defense has held up allowing only 2.03 xG; 32 shot-creating actions; and, 40 touches in their own penalty area, per fbref.com.

Valencia has also gotten off to a good start, but playing against Getafe, Granada and Alaves is not exactly what you would call a murderers’ row. If we date back to last season,  the club really struggled to find a 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.

Maxi Gomez had issues as the No. 1 striker, putting up a 0.22 xG per 90 minutes scoring rate, which won’t help its cause this season.

Although its defense isn’t due for a lot of negative regression, it 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.

I have Osasuna projected at +122, so I think there’s some value on them at home. That said, I’m going to take the added protection of the Draw No Bet line at anything -130 at DraftKings or better.

Pick: Osasuna — Draw No Bet (-125)

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Real Madrid vs. Celta Vigo

Real Madrid Odds -255
Celta Vigo Odds +700
Draw +425
Over/Under 3.5 (-165 / +135)
Day | Time Sunday | 3 p.m. ET
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Real Madrid is in a bit of a look-ahead position with a Champions League match against Inter Milan on Wednesday, but I think they’re undervalued in this spot at home.

Madrid has been solid through their first three matches, as they’re atop La Liga with seven points and a +1.77 xGDiff. Last season, they dealt with a lot of injuries throughout the season, but are finally healthy and can build off a second-place finish with a +26.37 xGDiff.

The question mark surrounding the club entering the season is in their new center-back pairing of Éder Militão and Nacho Fernandez after the longtime duo of Sergio Ramos and Raphaël Varane left the club this summer.

Ramos and Varane did miss substantial time during last season’s campaign, combining for only 46 La Liga appearances. However, Militão and Fernandez have a lot of experience playing together and there shouldn’t be a major drop off for a club that only allowed 1.02 xG per match last season.

Celta Vigo has been dreadful to begin the 2021-22 campaign, losing two of their first three matches and have been out-created by a 5.84-2.61 xG margin. They’ve also allowed the fifth-most shot-creating actions and fifth-most touches in their own penalty area, per fbref.com.

Real Madrid beat Celta Vigo in both meetings last season, out-creating them 3.39 1.49 on xG in the process. So, I have a hard time seeing how things are going to drastically improve for Celta Vigo.

I have Real Madrid’s spread projected at -1.53, so I think you’re getting some value on Madrid -1.5 at +120 at DraftKings or better.

Pick: Real Madrid -1.5 (+120)


Ligue 1 Projections

Best Bets

Monaco vs. Marseille

Monaco Odds +110
Marseille Odds +255
Draw +260
Over/Under 2.5 (-120 / -105)
Day | Time Saturday | 3 p.m. ET
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Marseille was one of the most overrated teams in all of France last season. They finished in fifth place with +2.80 xGDiff, while Monaco finished two spots above them with a +36.4 xGDiff.

Monaco has had some bad luck to open the season, winning just one match, but have a +2.41 xGDiff in two matches. They were also one of the best teams at home last season, averaging 2.23 xG per game, while only allowing 0.82 xG.

Last season, Marseille’s offense was kind of abysmal. They ranked in the bottom half of Ligue 1 in shot-creating actions, touches inside the opponents’ penalty area and passes that led to a shot.  All that led to them only averaging 1.30 xG per match, so I think this is a perfect buy-low spot on Monaco. 

I have Monaco projected at -160, so I think there’s plenty of value on them at +110 via DraftKings and I would play it up to -130 odds.

Pick: Monaco ML (+110)

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