European Soccer Odds & Betting Picks: Our Experts’ Favorite Underdog Bets This Weekend (Jan. 30-31)

European Soccer Odds & Betting Picks: Our Experts’ Favorite Underdog Bets This Weekend (Jan. 30-31) article feature image
Credit:

Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Images. Pictured: VVV Venlo star Georgios Giakoumakis.

  • European soccer continues to go full tilt this weekend, with matches taking place across the continent.
  • Our staff has targeted four teams it thinks could pull off upsets as live underdogs.
  • Take a look below to see who is in our sights.

Things got off to a respectable start in this weekly feature last week, with Bundesliga outfit Wolfsburg (+250 odds) pulling off the 1-0 upset win against Bayer Leverkusen during the European soccer fixtures.

Our staff’s other two longshot picks secured impressive draws in La Liga and Serie A action, so pulling off the potential hat trick wasn’t far off on debut.

Now, we turn our attention to a quartet of new clubs we’ve set our sights on.

And if you’re new to this preview, our analysts will look to uncover live underdogs at +200 odds or longer playing on the weekend across the European landscape. Whether it’s a game in the Bundesliga, Championship, Eredivisie or maybe even the Russian Premier League, the goal is simple: Find a team that could deliver an upset victory.

Here are the teams we believe have a good chance at pulling off an upset.

Game Pick | Odds Day | Time
Boro vs. Norwich City Boro | +295 Saturday | 7:30 a.m. ET
FC Utrecht vs. VVV Venlo VVV Venlo | +240 Saturday | 2 p.m. ET
Villarreal vs. Real Sociedad Real Sociedad | +215 Saturday | 3 p.m. ET
Brighton vs. Spurs Brighton | +210 Sunday | 2:15 p.m. ET

BJ Cunningham: Norwich City vs. Middlesbrough (+295)

  • Odds available at DraftKings
  • Day | Time: Saturday | 7:30 a.m. ET

Norwich City is the current leader in the second division of English soccer, but don’t let the club fool you.

The Canaries’ xGD of +8.9 is fifth best in the league, mainly due to the fact that they are due for some negative regression defensively. They’re allowing under one goal a match, but their xGA is all the way up at 1.21 per match.

Norwich City earned a 1-0 win over Middlesbrough in the first meeting this season, but Boro won the battle of expected goals and missed a penalty. In fact, the Canaries only created 0.78 xG from non-penalty scoring chances. 

Middlesbrough suffered a 3-0 loss to relegation side Rotherham earlier this week, but a number of its best players, including Chuba Akpom, were rested in anticipation of this contest.

Manager Neil Warnock’s side has the third-best xGD in the Championship at +12.9, sitting behind only Brentford and Watford.

Boro is way overdue for some positive regression on offense, as it has scored 30 goals on the season, but created 38.6 in total. In fact, Middlesbrough has won the xG goals battle in six of its last seven matches. Additionally, it might be getting back defender Dale Fry, its best defender who missed Wednesday’s match due to a facial injury.

This is a classic matchup of positive versus negative regression. Needless to say, I’d rather be on the side that is due for things to start going its way. I have Middlesbrough projected at +171 for this match, so I think there is plenty of value on them at +295 odds.

[Bet Middlesbrough at DraftKings and get $250 FREE.]

Jeremy Pond: Fortuna Sittard vs. VVV Venlo (+230)

  • Odds available at DraftKings
  • Day | Time: Saturday | 2 p.m. ET

We take you to the Netherlands for this potential upset special, with VVV Venlo hitting the road to take on Fortuna Sittard in Eredivisie action.

The Good Old — yes, that’s really Venlo’s nickname — are unbeaten in five consecutive matches, as well winners of four on the bounce. Their most recent triumph was the most impressive of all, with Georgios Giakoumakis scoring four goals in a 4-1 rout of third-place Vitesse during midweek play.

What makes Venlo’s stellar run the most captivating is the fact it had lost five of six fixtures prior to the start of the hot streak.

On the other side, Fortuna Sittard has won four of its last six contests in league play. However, the host has dropped its last two home affairs and has just one win in its last three matches.

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These clubs are currently part of a logjam on the table, with both sitting on 22 points with Sparta Rotterdam and Heracles Almelo. Needless to say, a win for either would go a long way in their potential climb up the standings.

If you comb through basic overall statistics, Venlo has the better numbers. The Good Old hold a 1.74 xG — 1.42 xG advantage over Fortuna, plus they maintain a 3.0 xG+A — 2.42 xG+A edge as well.

And most of the Venlo production is because of Giakoumakis, who leads the Eredivisie with 20 goals. No other player in the Dutch top flight comes close to the Greek international’s haul, with two players far away on 11 goals each.

That said, I am backing Venlo to continue its torrid run through the Dutch top flight and bag all three road points. Giakoumakis, who is arguably the most in-form striker in Europe, is leading me to believe he won’t stopped against an opponent that sits bottom five in the league in goals allowed (37) this season.

[Bet VVV Venlo at DraftKings and get an INSTANT $500 deposit match.]

Matthew Trebby: Villarreal vs. Real Sociedad (+215)

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

This is a pretty important game for European qualification in La Liga. Villarreal, led by Unai Emery, are two points behind Sevilla, who have a game in hand. Sociedad are five back of Sevilla because the Basque side has just five points from its last seven games.

Last week, I was advising to pick against Sociedad for a home matchup with Real Betis, who fought back from a two-goal deficit to get a 2-2 draw. The performance, at least, was encouraging for Sociedad, who won the expected goals battle, 2.25-0.64.

According to non-penalty expected goal difference, these teams are only separated by 0.61 on the season. 

Villarreal’s latest triumphs have come against inferior opposition, and they have yet to beat a fellow top-six team this season. Sociedad have the more expansive attack, which means they’ll be going for it on Saturday. Any number over +200 is great value for this matchup, which should be a great one.

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

Anthony Dabbundo: Brighton & Hove Albion (+210) vs. Tottenham Hotspur

  • Odds available at DraftKings
  • Day | Time: Sunday | 2:15 p.m. ET

Tottenham Hotspur losing to Liverpool in what was its worst performance of the season is one thing. Losing Harry Kane for an extended period of time in Thursday’s match is another.

And Kane’s absence is something I have major doubts they’ll be able to overcome.

Spurs averages 1.39 xGF per match this season per FBref.com, with Kane leading the line at 0.54 xG per 90 minutes. The backup options are less than ideal, due to the fact manager José Mourinho has to choose between inexperienced Carlos Vinicius or Gareth Bale, who is cooked, in my opinion.

Another major concern is the club’s performances when trailing this season. They’ve hardly been behind this year, trailing for a total of 120 minutes the entire campaign.

However, when Spurs had to come out to play against Leciester City, Everton and Liverpool, they’ve looked weak at the back and struggled to generate shots.

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Spurs have taken 13 shots in those two hours of football when trailing, which is a very discouraging number for their loyal fans.

That said, this is as much a fade of Spurs without Kane than anything, but Brighton looks primed to embark on a big run, based on its xG numbers as well.

I’d play the Seagulls up to +190 in this potential upset victory.

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

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