Europe’s biggest football leagues are back. Real Madrid and Barcelona are headed for a thrilling title race, Bayern Munich wrapped up the Bundesliga, Atalanta hasn’t forgotten how to score goals and returned with four in its first game and Arsenal is a meme factory. So things are slowly getting back to normal.
But one thing you’ll have to get used to is the fact that games are basically going to be non-stop. Sure, the Bundesliga wraps up this weekend, but the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A are cramming the games in, thus giving us plenty to bet on a daily basis to make up for the lost time without sports.
So with that in mind, I’m looking ahead to the remainder of the week and looking at five bets that I’ve got my eye on.
Wednesday: Atalanta vs Lazio
I remember when this match was coming up before the COVID-19 break and how much I was looking forward to it. Now, in what feels like an eternity since its originally scheduled date, we get the game between two of Italy’s most eye-catching teams.
This will be Lazio’s first game back but Atalanta already has a game under its belt after thumping Sassuolo 4-1 on Sunday, thanks in large part to a brace from Duvan Zapata.
Lazio is four points back of Juventus at the top of the table, but does have a game in hand after Juventus’ 2-0 win away to Bologna on Monday. Atalanta sits fourth in the last Champions League spot and is six points up on Roma.
Odds as of Tuesday morning are as follows: Atalanta gets the nod as 1X2 favorites at +105 with Lazio +220 and the draw +275. In spread markets, this one has Atalanta 0, -0.5 (-120) with Lazio coming back at even money. The total is 3.0 with OVER -115 and UNDER -105.
The reverse fixture in Rome was a 3-3 barnburner with Atalanta going up 3-0 before a Ciro Immobile brace and Joaquin Correa single to salvage a point.
This is a must-win for Lazio to keep Juve in its sights but these two are just so evenly matched it’s hard to give one the outright edge over the other.
But let’s not forget: Lazio is unbeaten in 21 Serie A games. Bellissimo.
Ninja’s Bet: Lazio 0, +0.5 (EVEN)
Thursday: Real Betis vs Espanyol
Criminally underachieving Real Betis thankfully parted ways with Rubi and will now have Alexis Trujillo as caretaker manager for the remainder of the season.
Hopefully this also changes results for the Seville club, which sits 14th in the La Liga table entering Thursday’s home game against bottom-of-the-table Espanyol.
Betis has one point in three games since the restart with any European aspirations completely out the window as they blew a late lead against Granada to share the points in their second game. This draw was bookended by road losses at Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao.
If Betis doesn’t clean up its act, it could very well find itself in a relegation scrap. This is unlikely but not yet out of the question. But Espanyol is a good game to right the ship.
In 1X2 markets, Betis is +115 with Espanyol +230 and the draw +230. Betis is 0, -0.5 (-115) in spread markets with Espanyol -105 as the dog. The total is 2, 2.5 with OVER -125 and UNDER even money.
Betis is quite decent in attack but an absolute dumpster fire at the back. They’ve conceded the third-most goals in the league (48), just one back of Espanyol as second highest. So goals are likely in the cards here.
In the last five games in all competitions, the scores have been 2-2, 1-1, 3-1 for Betis, 1-1 and 3-1 for Betis again. There are a lot of decent-looking betting options in this one and while my gut says “take the Betis moneyline,” I’ve got my eye on that “both teams to score” wager at a decent price of -125.
Ninja’s Bet: Both Teams to Score (-125)
Friday: Sevilla vs Real Valladolid
Sticking in the city of Seville on Friday, Betis’ fierce rival Sevilla and, let’s be honest, much more polished neighbor, hosts Real Valladolid in the lone La Liga game of the day.
While Betis has struggled out of the gate, Sevilla has been fairly decent. They managed the 2-0 win over Betis in El Grand Derbi and then followed that up with three draws: 1-1 away to Levante, 0-0 at home to Barcelona and 2-2 in a brilliant game away to Villarreal on Monday.
Considering Atletico Madrid has returned from the break looking very, very sharp (with an upcoming game on Tuesday as I write this), Sevilla needs to start turning those draws into wins if it wants to hold on to third place in the league.
Real Valladolid has looked decent on occasion and I do hope they stay up, but I feel like Sevilla is poised for a win to end the workweek. Currently, Sevilla is a large fave at -250 with Valladolid +750 and the draw +355 in three-way moneyline betting while the hosts are -1, -1.5 at even money and the visitors -120 as dogs. As far as the total is concerned, it’s set at 2.5 with OVER at even money and the UNDER at -120.
Sevilla has won four straight meetings with Valladolid (dating back to 2014) and has scored eight goals in those games, though half of those came from a 4-1 home win in that 2014 match. Still, I’m liking goals from the hosts here on Friday.
Ninja’s Bet: Sevilla OVER 2 goals (+115)
Saturday: Aston Villa vs Wolves
Ah, the ol’ West Midlands Derby.
Nothing more than a case of one team, Wolves, competing for Europe and the other, Villa, relegation-threatened.
Wolves has played one game since the return, a 2-0 win away to West Ham, but does play on Wednesday with a home date against Bournemouth. Villa’s played twice already with a 0-0 draw against Sheffield United in the very first Premier League game back and a 2-1 loss at home to Chelsea.
In fact, Villa hasn’t won in the league since January 21 and has just one point in its last six games. Absolutely dire. They’ve got Newcastle as an appetizer on Wednesday before this game and that doesn’t look to be an easy task considering the Magpies have enjoyed the restart with a win.
Clearly we’d have to make sure Wolves got out of Wednesday’s game against Bournemouth healthy and in good form, but this one just feels easy as it stands right now.
Ninja’s Bet: Wolves ML (-125)
Sunday: AC Milan vs Roma
Let’s finish things off with some Sunday Serie A action and head to Milan as the Rossoneri entertain Roma.
Milan looked really good in a 4-1 win against Lecce in their first game back. Roma has yet to play but does play on Thursday, hosting Sampdoria.
Milan got goals from Samu Castillejo, Giacomo Bonaventura, Ante Rebic and Rafael Leão in what had to have felt like a dream performance for supporters. They’ve certainly had a tough go at home this season as they sit 12th in the league (as of Tuesday) with just 17 points from 13 games.
Roma, though, has been a pretty good team away from the Olimpico: fifth in the league (as of Tuesday) with an excellent 24 points from 13 road games. Not a bad haul.
Tough spot here, of course, with both teams having yet to play their midweek matches, but the three-way moneyline looks enticing, no matter what you like.
Milan is +155 with Roma +165 and the draw +235. Spread is set at a pick with Milan at -120 and Roma at even money while the total is 2.5, 3 with OVER even money and UNDER -120.
Roma has had a pretty large edge recently with five wins, two losses and one draw in the last eight meetings in Serie A and depending on what happens here midweek, I’ll be looking at the Romans.
Ninja’s Bet: Roma ML (+165)
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