Atalanta vs. Bologna Odds, Prediction, Picks: How to Bet Saturday’s Serie A Match (August 28)
Isabella Bonotto/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images. Pictured: Luis Muriel
- The usually high-flying Atalanta did not look all that impressive in their season opener last week but remain big favorites over Bologna on Saturday afternoon.
- Anthony Dabbundo breaks down the match and makes a case for the play on the over/under
Atalanta vs. Bologna Odds
|Over/Under||3.5 (+100 / -120)|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 12:30 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||Paramount+|
|Odds updated Saturday morning via DraftKings.|
Atalanta has electrified Serie A for the past four seasons, with its games often featuring lots of attacking football and goals at both ends. They’ve led the Italian top flight in goals for each of the last three seasons and will look to push that streak to four this season in what could be their best chance at a Serie A title.
La Dea stole an opening day win at Torino after a lackluster display turned into a solid away win following a goal in the game’s final minutes. Atalanta will now host perennial mid table side Bologna, who won 3-2 over Salernitana in the most exciting match of the opening weekend of Serie A on Sunday.
Atalanta is playing its first home game in Bergamo with a significant crowd since the pandemic began. A 50% capacity crowd is expected in the Gewiss Stadium, and the emotion of the moment for Atalanta cannot be ignored after Bergamo was at the heart of the first COVID-19 outbreak in Europe. It won’t be a full crowd, but home teams have performed better in the small sample across the top European leagues since fans have returned.
Another Slow Start for La Dea?
Atalanta only managed seven shots in the opening match at Torino and totaled two goals from 1.0 xG. The shot chart suggests they probably should have lost to Torino, with the hosts grabbing 1.3 xG and controlling the majority of the match.
La Dea tend to be one of the streakier teams in all of the top European leagues and slow starts have hurt their title charges in years past. Duvan Zapata wasn’t in the team and didn’t feature at all, while typical super sub Luis Muriel struggled to make his mark on the game after he scored an early goal.
Most of Atalanta’s ball progression comes up the wings through its two wingbacks, Joakim Maehle and Robin Gosens. Both had plenty of touches but little end product in the opening match and like some of Atalanta’s other top players, they did return late from preseason due to summer international commitments.
La Dea’s typical center midfield of Remo Freuler and Martin de Roon are also currently rehabbing back to full fitness, which means the trademark Atalanta ball-progression and ball-winning engine midfield isn’t quite firing yet. While there’s little doubt in their ability to score long term, it may take some time for La Dea to get rolling.
Don’t Expect Much from Bologna
Bologna’s 3-2 thriller with Salernitana was made more exciting by three red cards handed out in the second half. All five goals and three reds came in the second half, but Bologna’s attack didn’t offer much anyway. Only 1.5 xG despite playing a 10-man newly promoted side at home in the first week is suboptimal.
They ended the 2020-21 campaign in terrible form with just one win in their final 10 matches and an opening win against Salernitana isn’t an improvement given the opponent and underlying performance.
The addition of Marko Arnautovic should improve their attack immediately, as he scored a goal on Sunday. They had no problems progressing the ball into the final third, but attacks tended to break down from there on the edge of the penalty area. Bologna was top five in passes into the final third but just 10th in passes into the box.
Lots of attacking third touches that don’t result in box entries can mean a few different things, but one of them is that the striker and more advanced forwards are still learning to play with one another.
Betting Analysis & Pick
My projections for this game have just 3.18 goals, with Atalanta’s defense consistently underrated at home last year. It’s always tough to bet against their attack at Gewiss Stadium, but there are reasons to believe that they could take some time to get their attack surging with Luis Muriel and Duvan Zapata playing for Colombia this summer, shortening their preseason with the club.
You can’t overreact to one lackluster Atalanta showing in week one away from home, but Bologna will take a cautious approach in this match as they try to steal a point away from home. I’m expecting a less explosive Atalanta that’s marginally better defensively this year, after they ran hot finishing to end the year and a bit unlucky on the defensive end.
Hold your nose and take the under 3.5 goals on Saturday. If the line gets any shorter than -120, though, I can’t recommend a play on the total.
Pick: Under 3.5 goals (-120 or better)