European Soccer Betting Analysis
By: Monty Andrews
Barcelona remain the class of La Liga, but second place is very much up for grabs as one of the league's biggest rivalries resumes this weekend at the brand-new Wanda Metropolitano.
The busy and exciting world of European soccer can sometimes be difficult to navigate for bettors. Monty Andrews takes a look at some of the most important news stories, odds, key injuries, and betting trends to help with your footy wagers.
Fixture of the Week: Atletico Madrid v. Real Madrid
Barcelona remain the class of La Liga, but second place is very much up for grabs as one of the league's biggest rivalries resumes this weekend at the brand-new Wanda Metropolitano. Atletico Madrid (+210) come in as slight underdogs on Bet365 for this one, despite having yet to drop a decision through their first 11 matches this season (six victories, five draws). Real Madrid (+120) are still looking for their championship form, but bounced back nicely from losses to Girona and Tottenham with a 3-0 thrashing of La Liga minnow Las Palmas in league action two weeks ago.
Can Tottenham Stay Hot?
Tottenham made a major statement with its Champions League rout of Real Madrid - and now have their sights on sole possession of second place in the English Premier League as they travel to Emirates Stadium for a pivotal encounter with Arsenal. Spurs (+162) are virtually even with the hosts (+150) as they look to build on a narrow 1-0 win over relegation candidate Crystal Palace. Arsenal have shown poor form of late, with league losses to Watford and Manchester City and a disappointing Europa League draw with Crvena Zvedza among its recent results.
RB Leipzig are fortunate to find themselves in second place in the Bundesliga table - at least from a goal differential standpoint. Leipzig will look to make believers out of the remaining doubters this Saturday as they visit a Bayer Leverkusen side that hasn't dropped a league game in more than a month. The road side, which is just plus-5 in goals in the year, is installed at +220 on Bet365 after rebounding from two-goal losses to table leader Bayern Munich and Champions League foe FC Porto with a 2-1 triumph over Hannover. Bayer Leverkusen (+115) have three wins and three draws in their last six games.
Clash of Contenders
The battle for Serie A supremacy has become a five team race - and two of those clubs go head-to-head this Saturday at Stadio Olimpico as Roma entertain Lazio. The hosts (+130) have reeled off four consecutive league triumphs - most recently a 4-2 slugfest over Fiorentina - to keep pace with the rest of the table leaders. But Lazio (+190) have been even more impressive, having won six straight league wins - and nine consecutive victories across all competitions - since a 4-1 setback to Napoli back on Sept. 20. Lazio enters the weekend four points back of table-leading Napoli, while Roma are five points off the pace.
Manchester City superstar Sergio Aguero has been cleared by doctors after fainting during Argentina's 4-2 loss to Nigeria in a Tuesday friendly. He's expected to play this weekend for Man City (-334) against host Leicester City (+850).
Talented striker Aritz Aduriz will remain with Athletic Bilbao through 2019 after signing a one-year contract extension with the team. The 36-year-old has four goals in league play for Bilbao, which is a +120 favorite for Saturday's tilt with Vilarreal (+230).
Bayern Munich star James Rodriguez was dismissed from Chile's national team late last week after putting forth a dismal effort in a 2-1 loss to South Korea. He'll look to bounce back for Bayern, installed at -700 for Saturday's tilt with visiting Augsburg (+1,400).
Genoa is going with a familiar face at the helm, giving Davide Ballardini his third stint as head coach. Ivan Juric was fired after Genoa opened the season with one win in 12 matches; they're slight +145 faves this weekend at Crotone.
Liverpool right-back Nathaniel Clyne has undergone surgery on his wonky back and is expected to be out until at least February. It's a major blow for a Liverpool squad that sits fifth in the EPL table and is a +6,600 longshot to win the title.
Barcelona will be without midfielder Javier Mascherano for up to four weeks after he suffered a hamstring injury during the international break. Barca is an overwhelming -350 favorite on Bet365 for this weekend's visit to Leganes (+850).
Stuttgart captain Christian Gentner might return this weekend, two months after suffering severe facial injuries in a match against Wolfsburg in September. Stuttgart (+400) could use Gentner's help as they host Borussia Dortmund (-163) on Friday.
Roma might be without Radja Nainggolan this weekend after the midfielder suffered a small groin rupture while competing for Belgium. He's considered questionable for Roma's pivotal Derby della Capitale against Lazio.
It has been a rough stretch of league play for Everton, which have been losing at half- and full-time in five of their last seven matches. Crystal Palace is installed at +333 on Bet365 to complete the half-time/full-time double at home.
Valencia have had the opposite luck of late, winning at both half- and full-time in five consecutive league games. Bettors are getting +260 odds the visitors will continue that trend this weekend at Espaynol.
The most impressive Bundesliga trend belongs to Wolfsburg, who have drawn their last seven league matches. An eighth consecutive tie against visiting Freiburg will pay a tidy +275 on Bet365.
Lazio certainly bring the fun to town, having gone over the 2.5-goal game total in each of their previous 11 road matches. Lazio and Roma are -175 to extend that streak this weekend.
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Saturday's Best Bets
By Chris David
For those of you who don’t know, the top soccer leagues in Europe don’t have a postseason. They believe that you should be judged based on your consistent play throughout a season rather than one matchup. The argument is more than fair but when you look at the latest futures market, it appears that the oddsmakers have already declared winners on four of the top flight leagues overseas.
Paris Saint-Germain (1/40), Bayern Munich (1/12), Manchester City (1/6) aren’t expected to be challenged and even though Barcelona (4/13) has the shortest price among this quartet, it currently sits eight points above the two Madrid clubs.
English Premier League
The top game (NBCSN, 7:30 a.m. ET) in Matchday 12 of the EPL will take place from Emirates Stadium when Arsenal (+140) meets crosstown rival Tottenham (+180). Even though the Gunners have had an inconsistent start, they’re 5-0 at home under manager Arsene Wenger this season. Meanwhile, Tottenham (4-1) has been very solid on the road and the offense (12 goals) has been better as well. In six of the last eight encounters, both clubs have notched at least one goal and I’m leaning in that direction again this week.
Best Bet: Both Teams to Score (-185)
Manchester City (-295) will look to continue its league dominance on Saturday (NBCSN, 10:00 a.m.) when it meets Leicester City (+700) at King Power Stadium. The Citizens have dominated everybody in their path and it’s certainly hard to bet against them. However, I like this spot for the Foxes. At home, Leicester has only surrendered six goals in five league games and they enter this match unbeaten in their last six (3-3-0). Also, the Foxes are 2-1-1 in their last four against Manchester City. While Leicester City has four losses on the season, three of them came by one goal and the other setback was 2-0 defeat. The odds on Manchester are inflated, deservingly so, and I’m going to pull the trigger on the Foxes.
Best Bet: Leicester City +1.5 (-115)
Best Bet: Both Teams to Score (-150)
Best Bet: Leicester City – Draw No Bet (+550)
The other club in Manchester hasn’t been as great this season, but United sits in second place and manager Jose Mourinho has them winning games they didn’t in the last few seasons. The defense has been exceptional in league play (five goals), plus they’ve dominated opponents in their four Champions League wins by outscoring teams 10-1. On Saturday (NBC, 12:30 p.m.), Manchester United (-355) will look to remain unbeaten in their 38th straight home game as New Castle United (+1050) visits Old Trafford. These teams played to a pair of draws (3-3, 0-0) last season and based on New Castle’s style, another tight game could be expected. It’s hard to imagine New Castle getting on the board knowing Manchester is the only top flight club in Europe not to allow a goal at home this season plus the Magpies have netted just three goals in five road games. I’m sticking with that trend and putting my money on Manchester and arguably the best goal keeper in the world, David de Gea.
Best Bet: Manchester United to keep a Clean Sheet (-160)
Best Bet: Under 1.5 (+290)
Being the manager of Bayern Munich isn’t an easy task and Carlo Ancelotti found that out in late September when the club fired him after a 3-0 loss at Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. Since the turnover, the team has won two straight in the European competition and they’ve gone 4-1-0 in league play. Prior to the break, they posted a 3-1 road win over Borussia Dortmund and sits four points clear in first place.
Bayern (-770) will look to win its fifth straight league game on Saturday (FS1, 9:30 a.m. ET) against Augsburg (+1800) and it’s expected to do so easily as well. Last season, Bayern posted 6-0 and 3-1 wins and I believe we’ll see something in that neighborhood again this weekend.
Best Bet: Over 3.5 (-135)
Best Bet: 6 or more goals (+350)
Spain La Liga
Barcelona (-335) heads to Leganes (+875) as a heavy road favorite on Saturday (beIN SPORTS, 10:15 a.m. ET) and the league leader should walk away with the win but it won’t be an easy task. Leganes has only allowed eight goals this season, two of them surrendered at home. Barcelona leads the league in goals allowed (four) and is tied for goals scored with 30. On the road, the power has only netted 10 goals and their best effort was a 3-0 win at Girona, who’s certainly not a brick wall. Coming off the break, I expect the club to go through the motions and getting a total of three makes me lean to the low side.
Best Bet: Under 3 (-130)
The ‘Madrid Derby’ heats up this weekend (beIN SPORTS, 2:45 p.m. ET) from Wanda Metropolitano Stadium as Atletico Madrid (+210) hosts Real Madrid (+125). Both sides enter this game tied for third in La Liga standings with 23 points and it’s tough to imagine either catching first place Barcelona, especially the loser of this match. Real has been a major disappointment but it’s been better on the road (4-1) in league competition. Atletico hasn’t been great at its new digs (2-3-1) and they enter this game with three consecutive draws at home. Real Madrid won 3-0 at Atletico last season in league play and earned a 1-1 draw at home. The pair met again in the Champions League and Real advanced with a 3-0 win at home before losing the second leg 2-1 at Atletico. Knowing Real Madrid has watched the ‘over’ go 5-0 in league away games, this total (2 ½) could seem low. However, Atletico is 4-0 to the ‘under’ at home and I expect another low-scoring affair here.
Best Bet: Under 2½ (-105)
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