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Euro Soccer Best Bets: Plays From Around The Globe For August 20 and August 21Aug 19, 2022, 11:42AM
Well, times they are a changin’. For those of you who’ve been around with me for a while, you’re fully aware that this character has no agenda. I started this gig because I liked writing, and every few months something new happens or I get an idea and I lean into it. Sometimes it works (Twitter following going strong), sometimes not so much (RIP the podcast).
This week’s major change was finally making a Discord for Prospector Sam. Why, you ask? Do I truly believe I’m so important and necessary to have my own gambling space where people can worship me? No, not really to be honest. I was just so sick of posting picks on Twitter that I needed an alternative, and a Discord gave me a place to be better organized AND to write more (which, obviously, is something I enjoy).
Does it change anything? Not really. I still work exclusively for Dimers (who, once again, proved to be the best organization by buying in and giving me the freedom to do this), I’m still writing articles, and everything else is still on the tweeter. But, despite my haphazard approach to writing, I’m still a bit of a neurotic human who craves organization so this was a needed and relieving change.
If you want more write ups, go check out The Gold Mine (™ pending) and drop a hello, and if you don't give one fuck then ignore this whole tangent and you can pretend it never happened. Now let’s get to it!
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Augsburg vs. Mainz Best Bet
Kickoff: 9:30 am ET on Saturday, August 20
Play: Under 2.5 Goals (-106) - 1.25U
Want something more offensive than my 3 paragraphs of self-indulgently pitching a new Discord? Well boy do I have the thing for you… Because, not only is this a game you probably don't give one fuck about, I’m also betting the under.
As I’ve discussed before, I don’t bet unders much in soccer. Quite frankly, it’s two hours of excruciating pain and I’d simply rather spend my time betting on money lines or team totals which allow me to enjoy the contest I'm watching. But, every once in a while, I like to prove that I’m not hopelessly biased and will take on an under I think has the right value. Today is that day.
Mainz are like the old lady who gives our raisins for halloween; Boring, infuriating, and probably should just keel over and die soon (too dark? Oh well). They habitually play boring matches that don’t see a lot of goals, and this season has started off no different (3 total in 2). While Augsburg are determined to concede as many times as possible at the moment (5 so far), Mainz isn’t interested in getting into a track meet and this should play out as a game with few chances.
And, while -106 might not seem all that good, it’s a pretty useful number here when you have two teams that aren’t very clinical in front of net. Add in that Mainz, who are the better side, are playing away from home, and you won’t see as much aggressive play (we would expect more if they were at their own pitch). You wouldnt want to watch this game regardless, but put some money down on the under and tune into something else to fill your time.
Mallorca vs. Real Betis Best Bet
Kickoff: 1:30 pm ET on Saturday, August 20
Play: Real Betis Team Total Over 1.5 (+160) - 1.75U
What in the name of the Holy Spaghetti Monster (shout out Matt) is going on here? Sure, Betis probably aren’t going to go out and dominate every match like they did against Elche (and a 16th minute red helped the cause), but being a minor favorite against a team they finished 11 spots ahead of in the table last season is crazy to me. Time to break out or big boy/girl pants.
While there are a bunch of ways to attack this, I’m going to stick with the team total because, quite simply, the number is preposterous. Betis are +160 for over 1.5, and I will die on that hill any day. Mallorca forced a 0-0 draw in week one despite getting dominated by Bilbao, but their opponents hit multiple posts and last season this team conceded 63 total goals (4th worst). Betis, meanwhile, finished 4th in total goals scored at 62, and scored multiple against Mallorca in 4 of their last 5 meetings.
I could sit here and explain to you the reasons for caution, and I’m not about to say that this is some sort of super mega whale bet your kidney lock. Every soccer play is one red card away from going down the tubes, and Betis aren’t SO GOOD that 2 is almost a given against lower teams in La Liga (like it would be for Real Madrid, typically). But, at this high of a payout, I simply can’t do anything but put down a lot of money. 1.75U is an extremely large wager for a bet with these odds, but the value is so good that I have no choice. Hopefully I don't regret it.
Atalanta-AC Milan Best Bet
Kickoff: 2:45 pm ET on Sunday, August 21
Play: Over 2.5 Goals (-136) - 1.75U
And, as per tradition, one game that you all actually want to watch. For starters, we need to give a big thank you to Atalanta, who saved my sorry ass last weekend with a 96th minute goal to win 2-0 and grab me some profit instead of dropping 3U on that game. Dance with the one who brought you, so they say (yes, I know that doesn’t really fit, but it’s the best I could come up with).
This game is a bit of a puzzle at first glance. Atalanta were challenging for a UCL title just 2 years ago, but last season they didn’t even finish in the European spots and this side has a long way to go in building back up. AC, meanwhile, returned to the top of Serie A in 2022, and kept the ball rolling last week by beating Udinese 4-2. But, while AC would appear to be a likely winner here, I’m not ready to get too aggressive on them because their defense was very shaky in week one and, to be perfectly honest, I don’t think we need to.
This game will be, in my expert opinion (or as much of an expert as a cartoon can be), fairly high scoring. Milan aren’t the most aggressive team, but they adapted towards the end of last season to find the net more and it ultimately was the difference in the title race as they won their last 6 matches with 13 goals scored. While lower end teams will try to beat AC by packing in defensively, Atalanta aren’t particularly well suited for the style and won’t be as willing to do that in front of their home fans. So Atalanta will get more aggressive, opening chances for themselves but also providing opportunities for a more clinical AC Milan side; hence, goals.
At the end of the day, one of the crucial aspects in picking over vs under is whether a team or teams can be trusted to finish chances when they come. Teams like Mainz and Augsburg (see above) don’t quite have the class to put away speculative chances while teams like Atalanta and AC Milan do. That’s why, at -136, I feel like we’re getting a strong price here and I’m willing to go big on an over. Add in that Italy as a whole has played more offensive tactically over the last couple years and everything pushes me in this direction.