Soccer Odds, Best Bets & Predictions: 10 Picks for Weekend Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A, and Ligue 1 Matches

Credit:

Jasper Juinen/Getty Images. Pictured: Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona, Spain.

  • BJ Cunningham previews his 10 favorite betting positions on this weekend's extensive European soccer card.
  • There are games on tap from Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1 -- and Cunningham has you covered with picks spanning each major time window on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Read on for odds, projections and Cunningham's picks for all four leagues.

This will be the first weekend that all five major European leagues are in play. The Premier League and La Liga returned last weekend, Ligue 1 is already three weeks in, and the Bundesliga and Serie A begin their seasons this weekend.

Here’s a look at some of the action on tap this weekend outside of the Premier League:

  • Bayern Munich opens its season against Schalke on Friday in search of the club’s ninth straight Bundesliga title. The German Chancellor has approved fans being in the stands, so it will feel a little more normal inside the Allianz Arena.
  • The Bundesliga’s match of the weekend features a top-four showdown between Dortmund and Gladbach at Signal Iduna Park. Dortmund swept Gladbach last season, so Die Fohlen will be looking to enact some revenge.
  • Real Madrid begins its title defense this weekend at Real Sociedad and will try to extend its 11-match unbeaten streak in La Liga.
  • Marseille and Lille face off in another top-four battle in France on Sunday. With PSG losing their first two matches of the season, Ligue 1 looks fairly wide open at the moment.
  • Juventus kicks off their campaign for a tenth consecutive Serie A title against Sampdoria on Sunday. They will unveil club legend Andrea Pirlo as manager in hopes that he can not only bring home a Serie A title, but a Champions League title as well.

All odds below are as of Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Bundesliga (Germany)

JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images. Pictured: Robert Lewandowski and FC Bayern Munich.

Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Arminia Bielefield

Eintracht Frankfurt Odds -152 [BET NOW]
Arminia Bielefield Odds +400 [BET NOW]
Draw +300 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 3 (-105/-118) [BET NOW]
Time Saturday, 9:30 a.m. ET
TV ESPN+

Frankfurt finished off their 2019-20 Bundesliga campaign in scorching fashion, winning five of their final seven matches. They dominated their opponents over that stretch, winning on average by +0.43 xG per match (1.81 xGF, 1.38 xGA).

Frankfurt was one of the most underrated teams in the Bundesliga last season. They finished in ninth place, but Die Adler’s +7.60 expected goals differential suggests they should’ve finished in seventh place in the table. They were able to hold onto their entire starting XI in the offseason, so they are due for some positive regression during the 2020-21 campaign.

Arminia Bielefield won the German second-division title last season, but their underlying metrics were nothing to write home about. They tied Stuttgart for the best defensive record in the league (1.31 xG per match) but had the ninth best offense at only 1.56 xG per match.

Based on historical data, newly promoted teams struggle in their first season in the Bundesliga. On average, goal scoring decreases by around 35%, while goals allowed increases at the same rate. Arminia Bielefield is a really small club that lacks the finances to compete in the Bundesliga, so I think they are going to struggle to stay up this year.

Their 2020-21 season did not get off to a hot start, as they lost on Monday in the DFP Pokal (German Cup) 1-0 against fourth-tier side Rot-Weiss Essen. It’s hard to imagine that they are going to turn things around in one week and be competitive against one of the more underrated teams in the Bundesliga.

Projections and Pick

This line is way too low for Frankfurt. They are a significantly better team than Arminia Bielefied and are due for some positive regression as well. Therefore, I am going to back Frankfurt at -152 and would bet them up to -215.

Pick: Frankfurt -152 (play up to -215).

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Dortmund vs. Gladbach

Dortmund Odds -167 [BET NOW]
Gladbach Odds +410 [BET NOW]
Draw +335 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 3.5 (+110/-136) [BET NOW]
Time Saturday, 11:30 a.m. ET
TV ESPN+

Dortmund is due for some negative regression going into the 2020-21 campaign. Last season, they had the biggest discrepancy between actual goals scored and expected goals scored  in the Bundesliga (84 actual vs. 64.26 expected). They did finish second in the league, but based on expected points, they should have finished in fourth place.

Gladbach was one of the best offensive teams in Bundesliga last year. Their 73.58 xG ranked third in the league and was 7.58 less than their actual total of 66 goals, so their due for a little bit of positive regression offensively going into this season. Die Folhen brings back their entire starting XI, so they should be able to give Dortmund all they can handle.

Dortmund swept Gladbach last year but was outplayed in both matches. Gladbach won the expected goals battle by a combined 5.35 to 2.66, so it’s hard to imagine Dortmund will be able to get lucky for a third time in a row.

Projections and Pick

Based on my projections, I think Dortmund is overvalued at home. Gladbach is absolutely capable of not only getting a result, but winning outright at Signal Iduna Park. They outplayed Dortmund in both meetings last year and I think they will finally get them this time around. I am going to back Gladbach +0.5 at +130 and would bet it up to -105.

Pick: Gladbach +0.5 (+130). Play up to -105.

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RB Leipzig vs. Mainz 05

RB Leipzig Odds -286 [BET NOW]
Mainz 05 Odds +700 [BET NOW]
Draw +450 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 3.5 (-112/-110) [BET NOW]
Time Sunday, 9:30 a.m. ET
TV ESPN+

Do you remember what RB Leipzig did to Mainz last season? If not, let me refresh your memory. RB Leipzig humiliated Mainz by combined score of 13-0 in two matches. Even though RB Leipzig has lost Timo Werner to Chelsea, they are still one of the best teams in the Bundesliga. They were able to hold on to the rest of their starting XI despite a lot of interest from other clubs.

Timo Werner was undoubtedly the heart and soul of their attack, but the reason Leipzig finished third last year was because of their defense. They allowed only 1.11 xG per match, which ranked second in the league behind Bayern Munich. Leipzig also still has plenty of fire power up front with Yussuf Poulsen and Christopher Nkuku, who combined to average 0.88 xG per 90 minutes last year, so they shouldn’t see a steep drop off offensively.

Mainz barely survived relegation in 2019 and project to be in the fight again this year. No significant reinforcements were brought in during the offseason, so its hard to imagine they’ll improve their -16.71 xGD from last season.

Projections and Pick 

I honestly don’t know how Mainz is going to slow down RB Leipzig after the lackluster showing in both matches last year. I have Leipzig’s projected margin of victory at -2.00, so I think there is some value on the home side’s spread of -1.5 at -105 odds. However, I would only play it up to -111.

Pick: RB Leipzig -1.5 (-105). Play up to -111.

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Wolfsburg vs. Leverkusen

Wolfsburg Odds +190 [BET NOW]
Leverkusen Odds +140 [BET NOW]
Draw +240 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 3.5 (-112/-110) [BET NOW]
Time Sunday, 12:00 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+

Leverkusen were dealt a big blow right before the season started as Kai Havertz was sold for $71 million to Chelsea. He was the heart and soul of the Leverkusen attack after the restart, scoring six goals in eight appearances. Leverkusen tried to replace him by signing Patrik Schick from RB Leipzig, but I don’t think he’ll be able to replace Havertz’s production.

Die Werkself found a lot of success utilizing a 4-2-3-1 formation last season. They averaging 2.12 xGF per 90 minutes when they lined up in that fashion. However, I’d imagine that number will come down with the loss of Havertz.

Leverkusen is a team that takes the initiative to try to outscore you, because their high-risk style leaves their defense exposed, as evidenced by their 1.36 xGA per 90 in the 4-2-3-1.

Wolfsburg was one the best defensive teams in the Bundesliga last season, ranking third in the league with 1.23 xGA per match. They allowed the fewest big scoring chances from non-penalty situations last season in the Bundesliga, so they should be able to contain Leverkusen’s attack.

Projections and Pick

I think the wrong team is favored in this match. Wolfsburg had a better expected goal differential (+12.52) than Leverkusen (+11.20) last year, but somehow finds itself as a slight underdog at home. I think there is tons of value on Die Wolfe in this match on the draw no bet line at +100 odds, and I would play it up to -123.

Pick: Wolfsburg Draw no Bet (+100) up to -123

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La Liga (Spain)

Denis Doyle/Getty Images. Pictured: Sergio Ramos and Real Madrid CF.

Huesca vs. Cadiz

Huesca Odds +114 [BET NOW]
Cadiz Odds +300 [BET NOW]
Draw +195 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 2.5 (-107/-113) [BET NOW]
Time Sunday, 10:00 a.m. ET
TV beIN Sports Connect

Huesca toped Cadiz by one point to win La Liga 2 last season. Even though it was only a one-point gap, Huesca is by far the better team. Huesca had the best xG differential in the league at +0.47, with the best offense that averaged 1.77 xGF per match. They surprised a lot of people in their opening match and drew with Villarreal on the road. Of the three promoted teams, I think Huesca has by far the best chance of staying up.

Cadiz is incredibly fortunate to be in La Liga right now. They ended the La Liga 2 season last year with a -7.36 xGD, which should have put them in the middle of the table. They did not look competitive offensively in their first match against Osasuna, losing 2-0 at home and creating only 0.79 xG for the match. Cadiz generated only 1.15 xGF per match in the second division last year, so I think they are going to have a really hard time scoring goals in the top flight of Spanish football.

Projections and Pick

In my opinion, Huesca is undervalued in this match. They are by far the better side and  were the best home team in La Liga 2 last season. Therefore, I am going to back the home side at +115 and I would play it up to -113.

Pick: Huesca +115 (play up to -113).

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Granada vs. Alaves

Granada Odds +104 [BET NOW]
Alaves Odds +325 [BET NOW]
Draw +205 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 2.5 (+100/-120) [BET NOW]
Time Sunday, 12:30 p.m. ET
TV beIN Sports Connect

Granada was one of the best stories in La Liga last season, going from newly-promoted to Europa League qualification. They boasted a +3.07 xG differential after the restart, with a stellar 1.01 xGA defensive record.

The key for teams like Granada to take the next step is to hang on to their most talented players and add as much talent as their budget allows. They were able to hold onto their entire starting XI and add talented players like young winger Kenedy on loan from Chelsea and experienced defensive midfielder Maxime Gonalons from Roma. Those two should be fantastic additions to an already solid starting XI.

Alaves barely survived relegation last season, finishing only three points above the relegation zone. They had the second-worst expected goal differential in La Liga last season (-19.78), as they ranked in the bottom-five in xGF and xGA. No significant upgrades were made in the transfer market, so its hard to imagine they won’t be in the relegation fight again this year.

Projections and Pick

After their 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao over the weekend, it looks like Granada hasn’t lost a step from their 2019-20 form. Granada defeated Alaves twice last year by a combined score of 5-0 and should have trouble with them this time around at home. I am going to back Granada at +105 and would bet them up to -105.

Pick: Granada +105 (play up to -105).

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Serie A (Italy)

Matteo Bottanelli/NurPhoto via Getty Images. Pictured: Juventus.

Fiorentina vs. Torino

Fiorentina Odds -117 [BET NOW]
Torino Odds +310 [BET NOW]
Draw +270 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 2.5 (-125/+100) [BET NOW]
Time Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+

The 2019-20 campaign was really disappointing for Fiorentina, who finished the season with their lowest point total in over a decade. However, Viola was really unlucky all season long. Based on expected points, they should have been four spots higher in the table and should have 5.92 more points to their name. So, they are due for some positive regression during the 2020-21 campaign.

Torino survived relegation by only five points and were one of the worst teams in Serie A over the second half of the season. In their final 19 matches of the 2019-20 campaign, they earned only 13 points and were outscored by their opponents 21 to 42.

The guys at Total Football Analysis have done a fantastic job breaking down why Torino found themselves in this bad run of form last season.

The summary: Their three-man back line struggles against pacy, skillful players and against teams that over-commit players into the final third. Fiorentina checks both of those boxes.

Projections and Pick

I think Fiorentina is undervalued at home to open up the season. They beat Torino 2-0 at home two months ago, and I don’t think they’ll have much trouble repeating that scoreline. I’m going to back the home side at -118 and I would play it up to -130.

Pick: Fiorentina -118 (play up to -130).

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Juventus vs. Sampdoria

Juventus Odds -375 [BET NOW]
Sampdoria Odds +950 [BET NOW]
Draw +480 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 3 (-129/+104) [BET NOW]
Time Sunday, 1:45 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+

Juventus may have won the Serie A title for a ninth straight year last season, but their underlying metrics told a different story. They only achieved the third-best expected goal differential behind Atalanta and Inter, with only the fourth-best xGF per match in Serie A.

Juventus swapped Mirlam Pjanic for Arthur from Barcelona during the transfer window, which could pay off in the long run. However, in the short run, they’ve lost their quarterback in the center of the midfield. They also have a new manager, so they could be a little vulnerable in the first few match of the season.

Sampdoria finished the season in 15th place with a goal differential of -17. However, they only had a -7.29 expected goal differential, indicating they are due for some positive regression. Sampdoria lost twice to Juventus last season by a combined score of 4-1, but the expected goals scoreline was a lot closer than the actual score (4.06 to 2.81).

Projections and Pick 

Juventus is probably going to win this match, but Sampdoria has the talent on its roster to hang with the Italian Champions. Therefore, I am going to back Sampdoria’s spread of +1.5 at +107 and would play it up to -105.

Pick: Sampdoria +1.5 (+107). Play up to -105.

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Ligue 1 (France)

FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images. Pictured: Thiago Silva and Paris Saint-Germain team mates.

Brest vs. Lorient

Brest Odds +138 [BET NOW]
Lorient Odds +200 [BET NOW]
Draw +220 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 2.5 (+118/-148) [BET NOW]
Time Sunday, 9:00 a.m. ET
TV beIN Sports Connect

Stade de Brest was a lot worse than their -3.0 goal differential showed last season. They had a -14.05 expected goal differential and were really fortunate defensively.  They conceded 1.58 xG per match, which was significantly higher than their 1.32 actual goals allowed per match. They’ve been poor in their first three matches of the season, getting outscored by their opponents 7 to 4.

Lorient has started out well in its return to Ligue 1. They’ve won once and lost twice, but they have won the expected goals battle by a combined score of 3.95 to 3.64, which is a really positive start for a newly promoted side.

The reason Lorient placed atop the Ligue 2 table last season was due to its offense, which averaged 1.75 xG per match. It also boasted the third-ranked defense, allowing only 1.26 expected goals per match.

Projections and Pick

Brest is due for some negative regression this season, and Lorient’s positive start shouldn’t warrant Brest being a favorite in this match. I am going to back Lorient Draw no Bet at +116 and would bet it up to +100.

Pick: Lorient Draw no Bet (+116). Play up to +100.

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Marseille vs. Lille

Marseille Odds +135 [BET NOW]
Lille Odds +205 [BET NOW]
Draw +225 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 2.5 (+133/-1167) [BET NOW]
Time Sunday, 3:00 p.m. ET
TV beIN Sports Connect

Marseille may have finished second in Ligue 1 last year, but they were criminally overrated. They finished with the fifth-best expected differential (+4.4). Marseille started their 2020-21 campaign is amazing fashion, winning their first two matches, including a 1-0 win at PSG on Sunday. However, their underlying metrics show they’ve been outplayed in both matches, losing the expected goals battle 4.20 to 1.87. They also have a match with Saint-Etienne on Thursday, so they will be playing their third match in seven days against one of top-four teams in France last season.

Lille has been really good through their first three matches, winning twice and drawing once. They’ve carried over their stellar defensive performance from last season (1.01 xGA per match), allowing only one goal in those three matches. If Lille can continue to build off their 2019-20 season, in which they had the second-best expected goal differential in Ligue 1, they should have no trouble at Marseille on Sunday.

Projections and Pick 

Based on my projections, I think this match should be around a pick’em rather than Marseille being favored. Lille is a better team than Marseille and should have a great opportunity against a team playing their third match in seven days. I am going to back Lille Draw no Bet at +133 and would play it up to +127.

Pick: Lille Draw no Bet (+133). Play up to +127.

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