Pandora Hughes rounds up the best betting picks for the weekend’s soccer betting action.
With the international break over, it is back to the business of domestic glory in European soccer with a full schedule of games. To give you a start on weighing up the European odds, here are four games to focus on – one from each of four big leagues. And remember, keep checking the top sportsbooks to make sure you get the best odds on European soccer.
Leicester vs Manchester United, 2021-10-16
Manchester United lost their way prior to the international break, having dropped points against Everton and Aston Villa, but they can get back on track in the Premier League on Saturday by taking three points from their clash with Leicester City.
The absence of Raphael Varane is a concern for United fans, but they should have Marcus Rashford available to give them extra firepower upfront and they are up against a team that has yet to get going in this Premier League campaign, hence their lowly current position of 13th.
Leicester had big hopes of finally forcing their way into the top four this season but things haven’t gone to plan so far and they’ve picked up just two points from their last four games, a run of form that has included a defeat to Brighton and draws with Crystal Palace and Burnley.
United’s poorer performances this season have come at home in the league while on the road they have beaten both West Ham and Wolves, grinding out the kind of win they will need to challenge for the title. The break from Premier League action will hopefully have refreshed their squad and they look like a solid bet if you can get odds of 2.00 or higher.
Lazio vs Internazionale, 2021-10-16
Maurizio Sarri is a demanding manager with a particular style of play that can take a while to embed when he takes over a new squad, and that has certainly been the case with Lazio.
The Rome giants have been the epitome of unpredictability so far this season, with three wins, including a much-welcome victory over Roma, as well as two draws and two disappointing defeats, the latest of which – 3-0 away at Bologna – raising a lot of questions about the squad.
Internazionale, meanwhile, have been going about their business with impressive efficiency. The loss of key players in the summer meant many pundits were writing them off, yet they are undefeated in Serie A so far and have been collecting points with regularity.
Saturday’s game is arguably their toughest fixture so far, but they are in excellent goalscoring form right now and can take full advantage against a Lazio side that will be missing two key players: legendary forward Ciro Immobile and defender Francesco Acerbi.
Lyon vs Monaco, 2021-10-16
French giants Lyon have been enduring a tough season in Ligue One so far and it isn’t set to get any easier when they welcome an in-form Monaco side to the Groupama Stadium on Saturday evening.
Three wins from nine games is a poor return for Peter Bosz’s side, and while they have only lost two, they simply are not gathering enough wins against poorer teams to fulfil their hopes of improving on last season’s fourth-place finish and find themselves in the tenth position in the table.
They will have Islam Slimani back in the starting line-up this weekend, although they will be without goalkeeper Anthony Lopes, which is worrying for a team that hasn’t kept a clean sheet at home all season. They will also be up against a confident Monaco side that has scored nine in its last three, picking up nine points along the way.
Still, this is a local derby and those games have a tendency to defy the form book. Lyon have managed to draw four out of nine so far, and with Slimani upfront, they can cause Monaco some problems, so a draw here looks like the best option.
Barcelona vs Valencia, 2021-10-17
Barcelona had a welcome respite from domestic misery with the international break, but they will need to start finding some points in La Liga or they could be heading for one of their worst-ever performances. They go into Sunday’s game two places below their opponents, having picked up three wins out of nine so far, scoring 11 and conceding 7.
The good news for Barca fans is that they are up against a Valencia side that appears to have lost its momentum. While defeats to Real Madrid and Sevilla were not the end of the world, dropping points against Cadiz and Athletic Bilbao was a disappointment.
I don’t expect this game to be pretty, considering Valencia’s likely cautious approach and Barca’s chronic lack of form, but the home side do have the talent in their squad to brush aside opponents like Valencia and I’m backing them to get a welcome victory.
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