Serie A Odds & Picks: How to Bet SPAL vs. Udinese on Thursday
Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images. Pictured: Andrea Petagna of SPAL.
- Today's Serie A match between SPAL (+245) and Udinese (+114) features two teams at the bottom of the table potentially headed towards relegation.
- SPAL is in last place currently in the league, but the team hasn't been as bad as its record indicates lately: They've posted a -7 goal differential, but in expected goals it's only -3.
- Is the market undervaluing the home team as a result in this battle of league bottom-dwellers? I break it down below and give my favorite pick of the match.
SPAL vs. Udinese Odds
|SPAL odds||+245 [BET NOW]|
|Udinese odds||+114 [BET NOW]|
|Draw odds||+240 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Thursday at 1:30 p.m. ET|
Thursday’s first Serie A match features two teams in the bottom half of the table as Udinese heads to the Stadio Paolo Mazza to take on SPAL. SPAL is in last place in the league and most likely heading down to Serie B, unless they pull off a great escape.
Udinese is in danger of slipping into the relegation battle, as they are only five point clear of the relegation zone. A loss on Thursday would make things a little uncomfortable in the Northeast.
It’s been an awful season for SPAL, earning only 19 points to date. SPAL are now more likely than not, dropping down to Serie B after a two year stint in the top flight.
The underlying metrics do not tell a good story either, as SPAL ranks in the bottom three of Serie A in expected goals for and expected goals against. Their main issue has been their offense, as they average 1.13 xG per match, second to last in Serie A and just ahead of their opponent Udinese.
Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.
Things haven’t gotten much better since the restart as they’ve earned only one point from their last four matches. However, things are not as bad as their -7 goal differential in those games seems. Based on expected goals, SPAL has been competitive only losing the expected goals battle 6.39 to 3.65 in those matches.
Udinese has been in a bad run of form that dates all the way back to January. They’ve won only once in their last 11 matches and their one win came against a 10 man Roma side. Their main issue during that run was their offense, which averaged only 1.32 xG per match. But, offense has been Udinese weak link all season long. I Bianconeri rank dead last in Serie A with 1.12 xG scored per match.
Udinese plays out of a 3-5-2 formation, which can be a risky formation for two reasons: 1) If the two wing back neglect their defensive duties and push too high up the pitch, it can leave the three man back line in a lot of one on one situations and 2) there is no midfield shape.
It takes a true general in the midfield to coordinate where everyone needs to be or else gigantic spaces of the pitch remain open for the opponent to take advantage of. Udinese hasn’t had much success using this formation as indicated by their -7.01 expected goal differential.
[Track all of your soccer bets in The Action Network App!]
This match will not be pleasing on the eyes, as goals will most likely be hard to come by. Based on my model, I think SPAL is slightly undervalued in this match:
- SPAL projected odds: +172 (36.70% win probability)
- Udinese projected odds: +173 (36.63% win probability)
- Draw projected odds: +275 (26.67% win probability)
- SPAL projected xG: 1.28
- Udinese projected xG: 1.28
Even though they are in terrible form, I am going to back SPAL to at least get a draw in this match.