With Week 8 of the 2020-21 Premier League season now in the books, Leicester City find themselves on top of the table after a 1-0 victory over Wolverhampton. Previous league leaders Liverpool were lucky to escape Manchester with a point, mainly in part to Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne's missed penalty kick in the 42nd minute.
Generally I spend each week breaking down Premier League action from a betting perspective, digging through information pertinent to bettors and offering my take on particular matchups. But with the EPL and other major leagues on international break, we instead turn our attention this weekend to the UEFA Nations League.
Here's a look at a pair of upcoming fixtures that caught my eye, with odds via PointsBet Sportsbook:
Spain at Switzerland (Saturday)
Line: Spain (-110), Switzerland (+320), Draw (+245)
The most interesting matchup of the weekend takes place at St. Jakob-Park in Basel, Switzerland. Despite being at the bottom of the group, the Swiss are significantly underrated. With notable names on their roster like Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka and Liverpool winger Xherdan Shaqiri, they have become a tough out for any opponent. The Swiss are riding an impressive unbeaten streak of 17 straight home fixtures, with 14 wins during that stretch.
The Nati, however, have not been victorious in any of their four UEFA Nations League matches thus far this year and have failed to win a single match in their last six. As for their competition, Spain comes into this weekend's contest on an impressive run of their own, unbeaten in 13 of their last 14 competitive matches. Their lone loss in that period came at the hands of Ukraine in group play.
While Switzerland is set to be without center back Fabian Schär due to a red card suspension, the biggest loss will be the absence of Spain's 18-year-old wunderkid, Ansu Fati. The Barcelona winger has scored an impressive four goals in his seven match appearances. While Spain are without Fati, Luis Enrique will be pleased to add Koke, Inigo Martinez and Álvaro Morata back into his squad for this weekend's match. Since Morata has teamed up with Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo, he has looked re-energized and re-focused. In eight matches between Champions League and Serie A competition, Morata has scored six goals and added two assists.
Although I fully expect Switzerland to put up a fight protecting their home field, it's hard to pass on a relatively low moneyline with the visitors boasting a revamped lineup. I'll take Spain (-110) to win.
Ukraine at Germany (Saturday)
Line: Both Teams to Score: Yes (-130), No (+100)
The start of the UEFA Nations League has not been kind to Germany, who have only won one of their previous four league matches. While remaining unbeaten, they've drawn twice against Switzerland and once with Spain. With Bayern Munich enjoying extended postseason success, Germany's head coach Joachim Löw allowed his Bayern players to rest during the first couple of fixtures.
As group play winds down, Germany will look for a boost from key players who will be joining the team for a second match. Germany sits just one point behind Spain for the top of their group, and with Bayern's forward Serge Gnabry and Chelsea's shiny new striker Timo Werner both expected to play, the Germans will look to them to carry the bulk of the scoring. Unfortunately, Germany will be without Bayern's stalwart midfielder, Joshua Kimmich, who tore his right meniscus in last week's match against league rival Borussia Dortmund.
Scoring for Germany has not been a problem this year, as the squad has scored in every match this season. Their true struggle, however, lies with keeping a clean sheet. They have allowed an opponent's goal in all but one UEFA Nations League matches this year.
With Ukraine having previous success scoring against Germany and the German defense struggling in recent league play, I'll take Both Teams to Score (-130). Another lean that caught my attention from this match was Germany to win and BTTS (+165). But because of Germany's rocky defense that's only a lean, and I'm willing to lay a little more juice on the BTTS prop in a match where Germany will look to score and score often in order to reach the top spot in their group.
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