This article is part of our Betting on Soccer series.
I've relied on my betting theories since the Bundesliga restart, and they've led to a decent amount of success. However, they came up negative last week and there's a chance that with a lot of teams having little to play for, it may not be a good idea to use a stat that worked when things were normal and odds weren't adjusted for a lack of home-field advantage. Of course, that won't stop us from betting.
For old time's sake, let's see what the theories produce for the final set of Bundesliga matches.
- Bet the away team to score first if the home is less than a -200 favorite
- When two fairly even teams are playing, lean on the away side
Teams to score first
Hoffenheim +138, Dusseldorf -186, Leipzig -335, Schalke +135, Bayern Munich -182, Koln +160
Dusseldorf -109, Leipzig -265, Schalke +290, Bayern Munich -132, Koln +370
The main thing that stands out for the final gameweek is that oddsmakers are being heavily influenced by teams who need to win. I'm not sure Werder Bremen deserve to be a -155 favorite against anyone in the league, no matter the situation. Even if they win, there's still a chance they finish bottom two in the table. And despite needing a win over the last month, they've lost four of their last five, with that lone win coming against Paderborn. Sure, Koln have nothing to play for, but that doesn't mean they're going to lay down and lose this match on purpose. I'm not picking them to win because they haven't won since March, but getting +160 to score the first goal and +128 to win or draw is too good to pass up. Maybe this a trap, but nothing about the way Bremen are playing leads me to believe they should be one of the bigger favorites Saturday.
In the opposite mold, Bayern Munich are being rated like they aren't the best team in the league. They don't have anything to play for, but they didn't last week and that it didn't stop them from dominating Freiburg. Wolfsburg are a bit better, but they've already lost to Dortmund, Frankfurt and Gladbach since the restart, and they also have nothing to play for. Assuming Robert Lewandowski wants to score more goals, it feels too easy to get Bayern at just -132 to win (they had similar odds against Dortmund a few weeks ago and won 1-0).
I feel the same way about Dortmund at -132 to win against Hoffenheim, but they have a few more injuries I'd be worried about. They also don't have to prepare for a Cup final a week later.
While I don't like anything else from my theories, there are some home teams to consider. Dusseldorf are oddly a -109 favorite to win even though they only need one point to likely secure 16th place (relegation playoff). A win helps, but their goal differential advantage will make it hard for Bremen to overtake them. You can go a number of ways in this matchup, whether that's draw at +255 or Union Berlin at -110 to win or draw and +135 to score first. Again, the oddsmakers are overrating a team and this time it's because a win would be nice for Dusseldorf, albeit probably not needed. Dusseldorf have three points in their last five matches and it was a similar case last week when they drew Augsburg. Union maybe aren't a great team, but they're higher in the table and have won two of their last three matches.
As for Paderborn, I think they already gave up on their season having lost their last three matches by a combined 9-2 score line. Eintracht Frankfurt don't need points, but it's fun padding numbers against a team that doesn't care anymore. More importantly, Frankfurt have been decent since the restart and have won four of their last six matches. Give them a week of rest and I think betting Frankfurt -1.5 at -103 is a good play. Frankfurt are one of the higher-scoring mid-table teams, while Paderborn have the fewest number of goals in the league. I'm sold.
Koln +128 to win or draw
Bayern Munich -132 to win
Union Berlin/Dusseldorf +255 to draw
Eintracht Frankfurt -1.5 -103
OVER and UNDER
Five of last weekend's nine matches had at least four goals scored. Each of the other four matches had exactly two goals. That's the main reason the over/unders for Saturday are all near three goals, if not well above.
However, I'm not sure every match should fit in that category. Borussia Dortmund have stayed strong in the back even with new players getting time in recent contests. They held Leipzig scoreless last weekend and there have been six total goals scored in Dortmund's last four matches. The last time Hoffenheim played a team in the top half of the table, they lost 2-0 to Leipzig. In fact, that's Hoffenheim's lone matchup against a team in the top nine since the restart, which is why they've had some high-scoring matches. I think Dortmund will continue their brand of soccer, while Hoffenheim keep it somewhat close, making the under 3.5 goals at -112 odds a good bet.
I'm also looking at the Freiburg-Schalke matchup. Schalke have tons of injuries and have allowed six goals in their last two matches. Freiburg maybe aren't a high-scoring team, hence the odds, but there have been at least three goals scored in each of their last three matches. I think Schalke's struggles continue and Freiburg come away in a 2-1 or 3-1 result. In addition to Freiburg -117 to win, I'll take a bit of a chance on them to score more than 2.5 goals at +230 odds.
It's fun betting on overs, but you'll have to take over 3.5 goals on a lot of matches to get any money back. I'm fine betting on some teams, but then there are results like what Leverkusen did last week when they failed to score against Hertha Berlin. I think better value can be found in the money-line odds, where oddsmakers are overcompensating for each team's needs.
Since there's soccer across multiple leagues this weekend, I'm taking a money-line parlay that stretches countries. What's more fun than betting a bunch of big favorites to win?
Borussia Monchengladbach -315, Eintracht Frankfurt -265, Atletico Madrid -335, Napoli -335 = +208
$100 to win $208