Soccer League Preview 3/1
All times EST
Hi everyone! This article will hopefully help to provide you with an insight into tomorrow’s soccer games. With the help of Statsational’s model, we will analyze where there is value and which spots would be best to avoid. Soccer can be a fickle sport, so I typically stick to smaller (0.25) units. Also, please note that I am not a coach and thus these picks should always be considered unofficial and for fun. Good luck!
As always, if you have questions about a team or matchup, feel free to ask in the free public #soccer channel on the SBA Discord!
English Premier League
3:00pm: Southampton @ Everton
The lone EPL match of the day sees Everton (7th) host Southampton (14th). Both of these teams have been rather inconsistent this season which makes this a tough game to predict. When these two last met on October 25, Southampton came away with the 2-0 win. Things have changed since then, however, with Southampton suffering a rash of injuries this season. Over the last five EPL games, they are 0-4-1, and in fact, they have not won a league game since Jan 4 (though they did beat Wolves in the FA Cup over that stretch). Everton, meanwhile, is 2-2-1 over their last five league matches and is coming off an impressive 2-0 road win against Liverpool.
The line currently has Everton as a -105 favorite whale Southampton is a +290 underdog. While it is tempting to take Southampton here with those odds, the expert model from Statsational doesn’t show any value here. The fair lines for this game would be Everton at +104 and Southampton at +303. With both sides showing a negative EV on this one, I would recommend avoiding the game from a betting standpoint.
Spanish La Liga
3:00pm: Real Sociedad @ Real Madrid
Real Sociedad (5th) travels to Real Madrid (3rd) in an exciting matchup of two of the best teams in the Spanish top-flight league. This will be the first game between the sides this season, though Real Madrid comes in as the side in better form. Over their last five league games, they are 4-1 and have only four losses on the season. Real Sociedad, meanwhile, has gone 3-1-1 over the same stretch and has only lost five times in La Liga thus far. Only two goals separate these two in goal differential and I am expecting a close game this afternoon.
Real Madrid is the favorite here with the line currently at -105 compared to +275 for Real Sociedad. In what should be a close game like this, I tend to gravitate towards the side with the better odds and the bigger potential payout. Using the model as a guide, though, there actually isn’t any value to be found on either side of this one, with Real Madrid having a fair line of +104 and Real Sociedad having a fair line of +310. If this one remains scoreless for a little while and the live line on Real Sociedad creeps up past +320 or so, I might put a 0.1 unit fun bet on them in the event they can pull out the win. Otherwise, with the negative EV on both sides, I will be avoiding this one as well.
Portuguese Premeira Liga
2:00pm: Rio Ave @ Benfica
With no value to be had in the major leagues today, let us turn to the up-and-coming Portuguese league that features a lot of thrilling teams with exciting young players. First up on the docket is a match between Benfica (4th) and Rio Ave (10th). Benfica is the much better team on paper, and still has an outside chance to qualify for Champions League. Rio Ave, meanwhile, is very much a middle-of-the-pack team and has gone 2-2-1 over their last five league games. Benfica is on a bit of a rough stretch, going 1-1-3 over the same time frame. When these teams last met on October 18th, Benfica came away with a 3-0 win.
Looking at Statsational’s model, Benfica is the clear favorite here and is showing a positive 24% EV. While it is tempting to just blindly take something with such a high EV, it is always important to dive into the game to see if something is up when the line feels off. In this case, there are no glaring injury concerns for either side and it doesn’t seem like anything fishy is going on, however, I still have a hard time paying -240 juice, especially in a game like soccer where one or two unlucky bounces could cost you the game. I do think Benfica is the far superior team though, so I am actually going to look at the spreads for this one and take Benfica -1.5 at +102 odds. It can be stressful needing them to win by 2 goals, but I think they have a great chance at a 2-0 or 3-1 victory and I am much more comfortable paying these odds.
3:15pm: Belenenses @ Moreirense
The final match of the day we will take a look at features 8th-place Moreirense hosting 11th-place Belenenses. Both of these teams will be looking for points here, as neither one is safe from relegation with Moreirense six points above the danger zone but Belenenses only safe by two points. These two last met on October 18th and played to a scoreless draw. Over the last five league games, Belenenses is 1-1-3 while Moreirense is 2-2-1. These teams are very close on paper and I expect another tight match between them.
The game lines on this one are currently +155 for Moreirense and +215 for Belenenses. Looking at the model, we can see that the fair lines for this game should be +143 and +299, respectively. I will be trusting the model on this one and backing the better team, who also happens to be in better form. I am putting 0.25 units on Moreirense at +155 odds.