This article is part of our Betting on Soccer series.
Don't go against the numbers; that's the strategy. After four weeks of action, my away team to score first theory is 23-8. My second theory, which takes away teams to win straight up, is 10-10. That record isn't as good, but it also includes numerous +275 underdogs and more recently a +265 underdog after Eintracht Frankfurt won at Wolfsburg. Of course, I went against the theory and took Wolfsburg to score first and win.
I know; you don't have to tell me what I did wrong.
Let's review the theories and results from this past weekend.
- 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
Winners: Bayer Leverkusen -230, Eintracht Frankfurt +128, Werder Bremen -105, Hoffenheim -130, Borussia Dortmund -385
Losers: Augsburg +128, Leipzig -250
Winners: Werder Bremen +175, Eintracht Frankfurt +265, Hoffenheim +138
Losers: Augsburg +280
THE WEEK AHEAD
Teams to score first
Monchengladbach -200, Bayern Munich -265, Mainz +125, Hoffenheim -122, Wolfsburg -152, Schalke -103, Koln -120
Mainz +265, Hoffenheim +148, Wolfsburg +118, Schalke +205, Koln +155
Most of my losing bets seem to be on home teams, which was rarely an issue when fans were in stadiums. A lot of these results would be different if there were fans and, for the most part, the oddsmakers are figuring it out. For example, Koln probably wouldn't be a favorite if there were fans. Then again, it feels like they over incorporated home/away records for the Frankfurt/Mainz matchup because getting Mainz at +265 feels like another gamble that could pay off. I'm not saying Mainz are a good team, but Frankfurt's back line has struggled and I definitely wouldn't trust them as that big of a favorite.
That's where I'll look first because in addition to getting great odds for Mainz, Frankfurt are one of two teams that had a midweek match, which was rescheduled from earlier in the season. While Mainz got a full week to recover, Frankfurt didn't really get a break. Betting on Mainz to win is a true gamble since they aren't beating anyone, but -115 to win or draw is worth a play.
The other two I like are Hoffenheim and Koln, even if the odds aren't great. While oddsmakers may have figured it out, you can still get decent odds for teams to score first and then if you want more money, parlay that with a win. Of the two, I prefer Hoffenheim because they've at least held up defensively and, prior to the shutdown, already had a great away record. In fact, they've allowed just 13 away goals this season, tied for best in the league. Dusseldorf are battling relegation and most of their recent success has come against struggling teams. Hoffenheim don't fit that label, which is why I'm intrigued by the score first and win bet at +195. Those are great odds considering Hoffenheim to score first is just -122.
I'm a bit more worried about Koln because of their leaky back line, making them a hard bet to score first and win. For this situation, getting Koln at -127 to score first isn't a bad idea since Augsburg have failed to score in their last two matches against teams about on the same level as Koln. Maybe Koln won't win, but their attack is somewhat more potent.
I would say cross off Schalke because they're terrible, but this could easily be the weekend they turn things around against Union Berlin.
I know Leverkusen beat Bayern Munich earlier this season, but that's a hard thing to bank on again. Leverkusen aren't playing at their best, already falling apart at home against Wolfsburg and needing a bit of luck in a 1-0 win against Freiburg. Bayern are at a different level than everyone else in the league and you can bet them a number of ways. It's similar odds if you bet Bayern to score first and win at -134 or Bayern -1 at -132. If you're a bit more confident in them and think Leverkusen could again fall apart, Bayern -1.5 is a decent +125.
Mainz -115 to win/draw
Hoffenheim +195 to score first and win
Koln -127 to score first
Bayern -1 -132
OVER and UNDER
As I said last week, always take the over on Koln matches. Following the shutdown, there have been at least four goals in all four of their matches, culminating in a 4-2 loss Monday. I also hit on the Werder Bremen and Schalke under which seemed too easy given the teams in action.
It only makes sense to back the Koln over again, even against Augsburg, who haven't scored in their last two matches. If anything, that helps the odds as the over 2.5 goals is a decent -134 while over 3.5 goals is +188. I know Augsburg are having trouble scoring, but the same could've been said about any of Koln's recent opponents not named Leipzig.
Similarly, the only thing stopping me from taking the over in the Mainz match is that they've scored one goal over the last three matches. The lack of a goal poacher up front has been a problem and that's why their most recent goal came from a wing-back. But on the other side, Eintracht Frankfurt haven't played much defense, with at least three goals total in each of their last three matches (prior to Wednesday's clean sheet). The main reason more goals weren't scored in their weekend match was because Wolfsburg converted just one of 19 shots. That leads me to the over 3.5 goals at +148 odds. I think both teams can score a couple goals, if not three, and that's enough for the over.
I'm also eyeing a couple under plays even if there isn't much of a return. Werder Bremen are having success because they're playing defensive and that's usually how Wolfsburg prefer to play. Combine them together and a 1-0 result wouldn't be surprising. The under 2.5 goals for Bremen/Wolfsburg comes in at -118.
As for the other match, it's inevitable to have one bet against Schalke, who have scored two goals in their last eight matches. Even better, Union Berlin have two goals in their last four. Put that together and it equals -136 odds for under 2.5 goals.
My common sense parlay took a major blow last week, as I had four teams to win or draw. Fortunately, three of them won outright. Unfortunately, one of the bigger favorites lost at home. Shake. My. Head.
This week, I have no rhyme or reason, just hoping my logic plays out.
Hoffenheim -215 win/draw, Augsburg/Koln over 2.5 -134, Frankfurt/Mainz over 2.5 -175 = +306
$100 to win $306