European Football Betting Preview: Real Face Sevilla Test, Napoli Take On Lazio & Leverkusen Visit Leipzig

Nice v Metz, Saturday 8 pm

Nice continue to be the surprise package in France as they lead the chasing pack behind Paris St-Germain, and they can close to within eight points of the leaders on Saturday when they host bottom side Metz.

Manager Christophe Galtier famously led Lille to the Ligue 1 title last season, so knows the formula for beating the billionaires at PSG, and this year he’s been playing an expansive style of football that has yielded the joint second-most goals in the division.

Nice combine that goal threat with also having the best defensive record in Ligue 1 so Galtier will fancy putting a few goals away when Metz bring the league’s worst defensive unit down to the Allianz Riviera.

Galtier has never lost against Metz as a coach and has five clean sheets in eight meetings, and a Nice win to nil here at 11/8 looks like the best bet in this game by far.

Metz did win at Nice last season for the first time in 10 top-flight visits, but their form has been on the decline all year – losing just two of 10 Ligue 1 games to kick-off 2021 but then winning just twice in the next 25, losing 14.

The visitors have performed slightly better on the road than at home, winning five points away and four at home, but it’s still just one win this campaign and against a side desperate to try and make some in-roads on the leaders this will be another disappointing day out for Metz fans.

RB Leipzig v Bayer Leverkusen, Sunday 4.30pm

Two inconsistent teams clash in Leipzig with both the hosts and visiting Bayer Leverkusen just not able to string together enough wins to get themselves in real contention for a pop at Bayern and Dortmund.

Bavarian giants Bayern have shown a slight crack in their dominance as they look for 10 Bundesliga titles in a row, and both of these sides have the talent to give them and Dortmund a run for their money if they could just get their acts together.

Leipzig have recovered from losing three of their first four and beat Dortmund two games ago, but then lost to Hoffenheim to illustrate perfectly just how their season has gone. Bayer have struggled more recently after a fast start winning five of their opening seven.

The Red Bull Arena has been a fortress for the hosts though, winning 15 of their 18 league points on home turf with just a big defeat to Bayern spoiling their record. They’ve won the other five games 19-2 on aggregate.

Leverkusen sit three points ahead of Leipzig in fourth spot but it’s last year’s Bundesliga runners-up who are favourites despite the visitors having an unbeaten away record this season and having scored in every road trip.

Bayer average over two goals a game on the road, while Leipzig average over three goals a game at home so we can back over 3.5 goals here at 11/8 with supreme confidence. And it’s likely those goals will involve Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku and Bayer’s Florian Wirtz.

Nkunku scored first in the last meeting and is 8/5 to score anytime here, while teenage sensation Wirtz is the youngest player ever to score 10 Bundesliga goals, and is 4/1 to add another.

Napoli v Lazio, Sunday 7.45 pm

Napoli just about remained top of Serie A on goal difference after week 13 despite suffering their first defeat of the season in a dramatic 3-2 reverse at Inter Milan, and now they’ll hope to get a response as they welcome former boss Mauricio Sarri back to Naples with Lazio.

Those three goals conceded at Inter were more than Napoli had let in during the previous 10 league games combined, and it was followed by a surprise Europa League defeat at Spartak Moscow; Lazio coincidentally also went to Moscow in the week where they beat Lokomotiv 3-0.

Napoli are one of three teams still unbeaten at home this season and in fact they’ve not lost at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona since back in January – 17 games ago. Against Lazio they’ve got a strong recent record of 13 wins in the last 18, scoring three goals or more in nine of those.

The game also comes just after the one-year anniversary of Diego Maradona’s death, so there will be an incredibly emotional atmosphere at the ground that now carries his name and Napoli will be keen to celebrate the great man with a victory.

Lazio have done all their good work at home as they’ve been pretty travel sick this season, with just one win in six away from the Stadio Olimpico – conceding 12 goals in their last five winless road trips. That made it 11 away games in a row without a clean sheet and that puts them on dangerous ground heading to Naples.

Missing their top Serie A scorers Lorenzo Insigne and Victor Osimhen is a blow for 4/5 favourites Napoli and they’ll now heavily rely on Dries Mertens – who became the club’s all-time top scorer in Serie A when he bagged his 103rd goal last week.

He’s 11/10 to score again while Lazio’s main man Ciro Immobile is 11/8 to score for a seventh straight game against Napoli – all six of his previous efforts have been the first goal so it makes the 5/1 on him opening the scoring again seem like a big price.

Real Madrid v Sevilla, Sunday 8 pm

We’re not really sure how this happened but Real Madrid have been flying slightly under the radar recently given what’s going down at Barcelona these days, but they’ve comfortably qualified from their Champions League group and gone top of La Liga all in the last week.

Three wins on the spin for Carlo Ancelotti’s side have seen them overtake Real Sociedad and top the table by a point, but this is their biggest test in a while as they play host to third-placed Sevilla in the game of the weekend in Spain.

But for a blip last month when they lost two games in a row, including a huge shock defeat against Sheriff Tiraspol, Real have been going along nicely winning their last five games and seven out of eight since their one and only league defeat.

It’s tight at the top in Spain though with the top four covered by just four points, and Sevilla could go above Real Madrid with a victory that would also give Sociedad the chance to regain top spot. It promises to be an exciting title race if these three and Atletico Madrid can maintain this pace.

It’s just one defeat in 31 league games for Real, who average a league-best 2.46 goals per game which represents their best scoring run for five seasons at this stage of the year. Ancelotti has won five of six against Sevilla but just one clean sheet, while more recently both teams have scored in just two of the last six meetings.

Julen Lopetegui’s side have had an extra day to prepare after beating Wolfsburg at home on Tuesday in the Champions League while Real made the trip to Moldova on Wednesday, and they’ll need all their energy if they’re to win at the Bernabeau for the first time in a decade.

Lopetegui has won just one of 12 against Real Madrid but his side will make it tough as they’ve conceded just nine goals and one in the last 425 minutes of football. Real Madrid to win and under 3.5 goals at 6/4 looks the bet here or Real Madrid to win by one goal at 13/5.

The people behind this page's online gambling content experts helped write, edit and check the content on this page:

Paul Higham is a sports journalist who covers football, golf, the NFL and darts. He has written for Sky Sports, BBC Sport and Sporting Life, among other publications.

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