Manchester United vs. Atalanta Odds & Pick: Projections Point to Edge in Champions League Clash

Manchester United vs. Atalanta Odds & Pick: Projections Point to Edge in Champions League Clash article feature image
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Michael Regan/Getty Images. Pictured: Manchester United standout Marcus Rashford.

  • Manchester United welcomes Italian outfit Atalanta to Old Trafford for Wednesday's crucial Chammpions League battle (3 p.m. ET, Paramount+).
  • The Red Devils are hoping to get back to their winning ways after suffering a tough road loss last time out in EPL play.
  • BJ Cunningham takes a deep look at these sides and details why he's backing Manchester United to triumph.

Man United vs. Atalanta Odds

Man U Odds -140
Atalanta Odds +350
Draw +320
Over/Under 3.5 (+120 / -145)
Day | Time Wednesday | 3 p.m. ET
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Manchester United looks to go to the top of Group F when it hosts Atalanta in Champions League action Wednesday at Old Trafford.

The host side had been running incredibly lucky in both the UCL and Premier League before suffering a 4-2 loss against Leicester City this past weekend at King Power Stadium. With Cristiano Ronaldo now back at the club, the expectations for the Red Devils is sky high, which also means manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s seat is starting to get a little warm.

A resounding win in this spot before Sunday’s huge match against Liverpool could give Manchester United the confidence it needs to find its form.

Atalanta is not off to the best of starts in the Serie A campaign, picking up 14 points from their first eight matches, which puts them in sixth place. They currently sit atop Group F with four points after beating Young Boys, 1-0, at home and drawing with Villarreal in Spain.

Earning another win would put the visiting side potentially four points ahead of the rest of group if Villarreal defeats Young Boys, so this is a very crucial match for Atalanta.

Man United Taking Advantage of Foes’ Woes

Manchester United has been running incredibly hot in the Premier League, due to the fact they’ve scored 16 goals off of 9.1 post-shot expected goals, so they’ve really ran into some bad goalkeeping play.

With Ronaldo in the lineup, the Red Devils have been able to live inside the opponents’ final third of the pitch, as they’re second in the English top flight in shots per 90 minutes and box entries, and are third in touches inside the opponents penalty area, per fbref.com.

Marking his first United appearance in five months with a goal: @MarcusRashford 👊#MUFC | #MondayMotivation pic.twitter.com/Kyqp6Kqg5f

— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 18, 2021

However, Manchester United has been the most pressured team in the Premier League, with opponents averaging 180 pressures per 90 minutes. That’s the exact style of play Atalanta runs under manager Gian Piero Gasperini, as they’re second in Serie A with 154 pressures/90 minutes and also have the highest pressure success rate in the Italian top flight.

However, the Red Devils are usually pretty good against teams that press them high up the pitch, as they have the sixth-best pressure success rate allowed in the EPL this season.

Atalanta Looking for More Consistent Efforts

Atalanta wasn’t very good in Serie A this season before their match against newly promoted Empoli this past weekend. They only had a +0.7 NPxGDiff and allowed 11.41 xG and 10 big scoring chances in eight matches, which is major regression from last season when they only allowed 1.05 xG per match. That said, the loss of Christian Romero has had a big effect of the club this season. 

Offensively, Atalanta has been their usual dominant selves, creating 15.58 xG in eight matches, along with 10 big scoring chances. However, they have been struggling versus pressure, as they’re the fourth most pressured team in Italy and only has the 13th best pressure success rate allowed, per fbref.com.

Also, Atalanta is dealing with injuries, as Hans Hateboer and Robin Gosens are going to miss this match, which is massive considering they occupy both wing back positions in manager Gian Piero Gasperini 3-4-2-1 system.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

There is a big gap in terms of UEFA coefficients between the Premier League and Serie A, which gives Manchester United the advantage from a projections stand point.

Even though Manchester United is due to regress offensively, I still think there’s some value on them in this game, given the struggles from Atalanta this season.

Pick: Manchester United ML (-140)

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