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Global Soccer Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Our Staff’s Favorite Underdog Bets This Weekend (August 28-29)

Global Soccer Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Our Staff’s Favorite Underdog Bets This Weekend (August 28-29) article feature image

Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images. Pictured: Saint-Étienne standouts Wahbi Khazri, left, and teammate Denis Bouanga celebrate a goal.

Talk about a full house of soccer analysts and picks galore.

That’s what we have on deck entering the weekend’s global soccer card, highlighted by six different underdog selections. Handicappers Anthony Dabbundo, Jeremy Pond, Matthew Trebby, BJ Cunningham, Ian Quillen and Michael Leboff have you covered with their live plays.

If you’re new to this preview, our experts look for live underdogs at +200 odds or longer playing on the weekend around the world. Whether it’s a showdown in the Premier League, Ligue 1, Major League Soccer or even the Championship, the goal is simple: Find a team that could deliver a winner.

That said, let’s take a look at the array of top picks from the crew on the card.

Mainz vs. Greuther FürthGreuther Fürth | +390Saturday | 9:30 a.m. ET
Preston North End vs. SwanseaSwansea | +225Saturday | 10 a.m. ET
Celta Vigo vs. Athletic BilbaoAthletic Bilbao | +205Saturday | 11 a.m. ET
Marseille vs. Saint-ÉtienneSaint-Étienne | +390Saturday | 3 p.m. ET
LAFC vs. LA GalaxyLA Galaxy | +380Saturday | 7 p.m. ET
Wolves vs. Manchester UnitedWolves | +380Sunday | 11 a.m. ET

Odds as of Friday night via DraftKings and FanDuel.

Anthony Dabbundo: Greuther Fürth ML (+390) vs. Mainz

  • Odds available at DraftKings
  • Day | Time: Saturday | 9:30 a.m. ET

My first two Bundesliga underdogs of the year both drew, but Greuther Fürth is undervalued in this match as my projections against Mainz on Saturday make them closer to +320 on the moneyline.

Fürth had a tough opening match at Stuttgart in a 4-0 rout, but bounced back with a strong second performance against Arminia Bielefeld in an unlucky 1-1 draw last Saturday. Their expected-goals numbers in that game suggested they probably should have won, as they were dominating even before a red card to Bielefeld left Fürth up a man for the final 30 minutes of the match.

My projections make Mainz the 13th-best team in the league, with Fürth at 16th overall. The line is just too big for two teams who aren’t likely to finish that far apart in the Bundesliga table come the end of the season.

Mainz had an impressive opening home win against RB Leipzig, but that match was more a matter of Leipzig being flat than anything else. In their second game, Mainz failed to score and played even on xG with Bochum, who I have as the worst team in the German top flight, according to my projections.

Mainz is at home and gets the result more often than not, but Fürth should match up well with their host.

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Jeremy Pond: Swansea ML (+225) vs. Preston North End

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

I must like pain. Seriously, why am I going against the club that defeated my underdog selection last weekend this time around?

Well, it’s not because I’m not a Preston North End fan. In fact, I like the Lilywhites. They also have one of the best nicknames in all of soccer. However, I truly think the host side is up against it this time around, despite pulling off a 1-0 win over Peterborough United in Championship play last time out.

Swansea got off to a rough start in the English second division, dropping its opening two fixtures before grabbing a 1-0 road victory at Bristol City in its most recent league affair. The Swans added to their recent momentum and positive efforts with a 4-1 rout of Plymouth in a midweek EFL Cup matchup.

Bottom line, Swansea is playing better than Preston and has the better resume heading into this contest. Sure, the Lilywhites won last weekend, but they lost their other three league fixtures. Back the Swans to get all three road points.

Matthew Trebby: Athletic Bilbao ML (+205) vs. Celta Vigo

  • Odds available at DraftKings
  • Day | Time: Saturday | 11 a.m. ET

This barely fits within our +200 threshold to qualify for the post, but dammit there’s value here.

Celta Vigo are favored against Bilbao, but I’m not entirely sure why. They have one point from their first two matches and have conceded just two goals, but last week’s 0-0 draw against Osasuna was an embarrassment.

According to Understat, Celta Vigo lost the xG battle by a 2.58-0.08 margin. Zero point zero eight. Against Osasuna.

That’s embarrassing. Celta fought hard against Atlético Madrid in the first match week but lost the match.  However, I see Bilbao taking all three points in the west of Spain this week as well.

Bilbao have only scored once between draws against Elche and Barcelona, but have created 2.07 xG. Clearly, the game can be taken to Celta Vigo and I expect the Basque club to do so, just as they did to Barcelona last week.

BJ Cunningham: Saint-Étienne ML (+400) vs. Marseille

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

Marseille was one of the most overrated teams in all of France last season. They finished in fifth place with +2.80 xGDiff, but they’re being priced in this match like they’re one of the top four teams in France.

Last season, their offense was actually 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 they shouldn’t even be considered as one of the country’s top four clubs.

Saint-Étienne is due for positive regression both offensively and defensively this season. So far, they’ve just been average with three draws and -0.1 xGDiff through their first three matches. However, in their last outing against Lille, they finally switched their formation out of a 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 setup.

The 4-4-2 was not leading to much success, as they had a -2.24 xGDiff when playing out of it a season ago. So with the formation change, Saint-Étienne should start to look more lively going forward and create more chances in front of net.

I have Saint-Étienne projected at +332 and they swept Marseille in both meetings last season, winning 2-0 on the road and 1-0 at home. So, I think there’s good value on them at +400 odds.

Ian Quillen: Los Angeles Galaxy ML (+380) vs. LAFC

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

The latest El Trafico fixture probably won’t feature either Los Angeles Football Club star Carlos Vela or Los Angeles Galaxy standout Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.

That’s probably a net advantage for the visitors, though. Even if not, LAFC is extremely overpriced as a -160 favorite. However,  betting markets have been doing this to the host all season.

The main reasons here? 1) Overcompensation for home-field advantage in the rare MLS away match without heavy travel; and, 2) LAFC’s drastic underperformance of their xG totals.

Depending on which data you cite, LAFC’s -3 goal differential is as much as 20ish goals behind xG predictions. Yet, at some point you have to search for lurking variables And there’s an obvious one here: the lack of a starting-caliber center forward to partner with Vela and Diego Rossi.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy’s mediocre xG totals are hurt by their obvious defensive learning curve under incoming manager Greg Vanney. Four of their five worst matches in xG conceded came back in April and May.

Analytically, the absence of each respective star is a wash, but LAFC have earned two points in the three matches without Vela. The Galaxy have 14 points in 11 without Chicharito.

Michael Leboff: Wolves ML (+380) vs. Manchester United

  • Odds available at DraftKings
  • Day | Time: Sunday | 11:30 a.m. ET

The Bruno Lage revolution at Wolverhampton is not off to a great start with the Black Country side dropping both of its opening matches via 1-0 score lines. Wolves are one of four teams yet to score in the 2021-22 season, but if you can look past the goose egg there are some encouraging signs heading into a tough match with Manchester United. 

Wolverhampton might not be lighting up the scoresheet or the shot charts, but they’re creating enough scoring chances that it’s well within reason to expect them to start finding the back of the net. Wolves rank sixth in xG created per FotMob and sit eighth in shots on target per match.

Manchester United typically have their most success against teams that like to press high up the pitch and play a man-marking style, but we’re not likely to see that out of Wolverhampton. This isn’t the sit-back-and-counter team we saw under Nuno Espírito Santo, but Wolves aren’t an all-action bunch either.

Wolverhampton has been solid defensively through two games, only allowing one goal from open play in two matches against Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur, as well as conceding just 1.9 xG in those fixtures. 

United are unbeaten in their last 27 road matches and will go for the Premier League record at the Molineux Stadium. The odds might suggest it should be a relatively straightforward affair for the Red Devils, but I think Wolverhampton is underrated and represent great value on the moneyline at +380 odds.

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