UEFA Soccer Predictions | Picks For Italy vs North Macedonia, Denmark vs Slovenia & More
Visionhaus/Getty. Pictured: Destiny Udogie.
We've reached the final stage of UEFA Euro qualifiers with a lot of spots still up for grabs. As it currently stands, Germany, England, France, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Scotland and Austria have already qualified. There are still a ton of compelling group stage matches to finish out qualifying before we move onto the playoff round.
Here are my UEFA soccer predictions in the latest round of Euro qualifiers.
Make sure to check out our latest bet365 promo code to see if you qualify before making your soccer wagers.
UEFA Soccer Predictions
|San Marino Odds||+4000|
|Over / Under|
-275 / +210
Yes, this might not be the most entertaining match, but it's an island match at 10 a.m. ET on Friday and the total is too high.
If you know anything about European qualifiers, you know that San Marino, the smallest nation in Europe, have historically gotten demolished by the rest of the continent because they are the least talented team. So, naturally they will park the bus in front of the 18-yard box try to force their opponents into a lot of low quality chances.
Guess what? They haven't been that bad this qualifying round. In their eight qualifying matches so far, none of their opponents have produced over 3 xG against them, which I know sounds like a very sad feat to accomplish, but for San Marino it's actually a pretty big milestone. In their last match against Kazakhstan they lost 3-0, but held them to just 1.95 xG. Quite honestly, I am not sure Kazakhstan have the offensive firepower to put for past San Marino with ease.
They really haven't been that impressive of an offense, averaging 1.29 xG per match during Euro qualifiers. Their best attacking player, Bakhtiyor Zaynutdinov, who plays for Besiktas in the Turkish Super Lig, is going to miss this match due to injury.
Plus, Kazakhstan are not the type of team that wants to posses a high amount of the ball. They are much better when they are sitting deep in their 5-4-1 and looking to hit teams on the break. It's why they had success against both Slovenia and Denmark early on in this group. They aren't the type of team that is going to successfully build out of the back and look to break down a low block. Plus, the 5-4-1 formation, depending on the personnel, doesn't make it very easy for them to overload the last line of defense.
Say what you will about San Marino, but they are only conceding 2.19 xG per 90 minutes during Euro qualifying and since they aren't scoring or really creating any chances, the totals for their matches remain too high. So, I like the value on the under.
Pick: Under 3.5 (-115 via bet365)
Sign up with the Action FanDuel promo code to get the new user bonus of $150 in bonus bets if your Arsenal team total bet wins and a daily profit boost!
|North Macedonia Odds||+1800|
|Over / Under|
-188 / +140
If you buy into the theory of "bogey teams" then this match is for you, because North Macedonia have been absolutely haunting Italy's nightmares over the past two years.
It all started in the World Cup Qualification playoff, which was supposed to be a showdown between Portugal and Italy for one of the final spots into the World Cup in Qatar. North Macedonia had different plans.
— UEFA EURO 2024 (@EURO2024) March 28, 2022
Then they met again in North Macedonia for a Euro qualifier and Enis Bardhi scored a 81st minute equalizer to tie the match 1-1. What gets lost in that match is it was actually pretty even in terms of xG and North Macedonia out-shot Italy 10 to 9.
Italy only created 1.19 in that match, so it begs the question: what is going to change this time around?
The current Italian National team is nothing like the team that won Euro 2021. Luciano Spalletti has taken over as the new manager, which means Italy are probably going to hold close to 70% possession in this match. But it's not going to matter if they aren't able to create high quality chances.
Spalletti's Napoli teams always played with incredibly high intensity both in and out of possession. When Napoli lost the ball they always pressed high to try and win it back as soon as possible, which meant that teams who were better in possession or good transitional teams could get at Napoli, such as AC Milan. They also were always quick in their transitions once they won the ball back, but this version of Italy doesn't have a player like Khvicha Kvaratskhelia or Victor Osimhen that can single handily unlock an opposing defense, especially one like North Macedonia who are going to sit in a deep low block.
Italy's front line that they played against England was Gianluca Scamacca, Stephan El Shaarawy and Domenico Berardi. That's not exactly a front three that is going to consistently create high quality chances against a solid deep low block.
If you take away the 7-0 loss to England, North Macedonia are only allowing 1.13 xG per match during Euro qualifying.
Given what we've seen from Italy so far during qualifying and given their struggles breaking down North Macedonia, I don't see why this total should be set at 3. So I like the value on the under.
Pick: Under 3 (-105 via bet365)
Barstool has become ESPN BET! Learn more about the new sportsbook and our ESPN BET promo code.
Denmark are no longer the team that went the to the semifinals of Euro 2021 and are in danger of finishing second in one of the easier qualifying groups.
It all started at the World Cup when they crashed out of the group stage for not being clincal enough in the final third and it came down to the fact that they just didn't have a true striker that could finish off a lot of the chances created via crosses or ball circulation. For lack of a better term, things have gotten stale with Danish national team.
To make matters worse for this match, Rasmus Hojlund and Christian Eriksen are both going to miss this match due to injury. However, the market is still pricing them like the Denmark of old and given the fact that they've won three straight qualifying matches.
The key for Denmark to be successful is to dominate the central parts of the pitch. They did that to great success in their run to the semifinals of the Euros, playing an incredibly narrow 3-4-3 and trying to overload the middle of the pitch to outnumber their opponents. However, teams now know thats what they are trying to accomplish, so they are playing incredibly narrow themselves and Denmark don't really have a good plan B option.
Without a big striker that can go win aerial duals or drag defenders with him if the opponent wants to go man to man, teams are just sitting in compact low blocks and daring Denmark to beat them with 1 v 1 in wide areas, and the Danes don't have dominant 1 v 1 wingers to exploit that.
Slovenia play out of a 4-4-2 and did a fantastic job in the first meeting of limiting that central progression and forcing the ball out wide. Denmark did score their only goal from a cross, but outside of that chance they created only 0.6 xG for the match.
Slovenia don't have close to the talent that Denmark has, but they do have the best attacking player on the pitch in this game in Benjamin Sesko. Sesko has struggled to find playing time at RB Leipzig this season, but has still scored three goals in the his 3.3 90s played. He's already scored four goals during Euro Qualifying and is an incredibly dangerous player in transition.
Plus, it's always nice to have a great shot stopper between the post and Slovenia have one of the best in the form of Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak.
I only have Denmark projected at -130 for this match, so I like the value on Slovenia +1 at -120.
Pick: Slovenia +1 (-120 via BetRivers)