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Euro Soccer Best Bets: Plays From Across Europe on Saturday, September 17 and Sunday September 18, 2022Sep 14, 2022, 3:48AM
Things Sam fears most in life: Spiders, my mother-in-law, and the international break. So, with all soccer fans staring down the barrel of a full 10 days of nothing but garbage international friendlies to fill our time after this weekend, let’s just say I’m living on the edge of a breakdown right now.
To be clear, I love international soccer. There’s something beautiful and pure about watching players compete for their own country, and I’m very excited to watch the upcoming World Cup (though I would have preferred it in June instead of gauging a gap right in the middle of the domestic season). But, on the whole, international soccer tends to be lower quality and tactically cautious, which doesn’t give me the warm and fuzzies about next week where we get to watch a chunk of warm-up games for teams getting ready to play in the World Cup. Alas, I’ll have to make do by trying to make money on those games to keep them interesting, and I might as well do that now too. Picks!
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Euro Soccer Best Bets: September 17 & 18
KV Mechelen vs. Oud-Heverlee Leuven: Saturday, September 17 - 10:00AM ET
The game we’ve all been waiting for! Well, maybe not, but my boys in Mechelen have done great things as far as making the Gold Diggers money over the last few weeks, and another bite at the apple is just what the doctor ordered (see what I did there? Apple a day and doctor and bite at the apple? God, I’m good…).
Now, you might be thinking, “what in the f**k are we doing betting on middle-class Belgian teams that I can’t even find on my sportsbook?” Fair point, but we go where the value is good and often that takes us to the depths of the soccer market towards teams who are performing well but not getting the appropriate credit. KV Mechelen is one such team.
Surprisingly, Leuven are actually higher in the table than anyone would have imagined in the four spot, but with 13 goals conceded in eight games that certainly isn’t going to last. And, while a combined total might make sense here as well, I have more faith in KV to hold up their end of the bargain, which is why we’re going with the step stool (aka mini ladder) of team total Over 1.5 (-146) and team total Over 2.5 (+240). KV average 2 goals per game as it is on the year, are playing at home, and will know that two or three is probably a necessity to take all the points from this tie. I have no issue backing them to get over that line.
Montpellier vs. Strasbourg: Saturday, September 17 - 10:00AM ET
I haven't got a clue what to make of Strasbourg this season. They were a pretty high quality side last year, but fell off the face of the earth as far as form this season (shout out to the flat earthers, throwing you a bone) and sit in the relegation spots. I want to trust them, but five goals in seven games is enough of a sample size to be rightfully weary.
Fortunately, their opponent brings all the chaos and undisciplined tactical soccer we need to make this a fun game. Montpellier have scored 17 goals and conceded 14 in seven matches and their last five have had an absolutely mind-blowing eight red cards. Basically, the word ”clusterf**k” has never been more appropriately used (not that I need an excuse, it’s a great word).
So, while Strasbourg have been in a bit of a malaise as far as quality, I don't think Montpellier will let this game be boring and I genuinely believe it will have goals. Who will score? I’m not entirely sure. You could convince me of a lot of different score lines here with 3+ goals and I would believe you, which is why Over 2.5 at -116 is worth a shot. So long as the game breaks open early, I think we see fireworks and wouldn't be shocked if this game goes ballistic. We’ll stay on the safe side and stick to our standard 2.5.
Villarreal vs. Sevilla: Sunday, September 18 at 10:15AM ET
Sevilla are a defensive nightmare. I’ve been harping on it since week 1 and they’ve proven me right time and again. Hell, even in a bounce-back win last weekend over Espanyol they still managed to concede two. This is not the traditional Sevilla side you’re used to watching that play defensive, cautious soccer because they simply don't have the personnel for it, and you can expect things to skew higher in their matches.
Which angle do we take? Well, despite a fairly ugly 1-0 loss last weekend against Betis, I think Villarreal find goals here. The home side still average close to 2 per game in La Liga and have been absolutely clobbering teams in Europe, which gives me confidence that they’ll be able to take advantage of chances against a porous defense. And, at -115, the team total Over 1.5 is extremely well priced for our purposes (meaning very poorly priced by the books, in my humble opinion).
Sevilla could be anything from solid offensively to absolutely terrible, but Villarreal have shown enough consistent form to feel comfortable backing them. They’ll have home-field advantage and there wont be any resting players with the international break on the horizon. Villarreal get us across the line here.