Champions League Odds, Picks and Predictions: Atletico Madrid vs. RB Salzburg (Wednesday, Dec. 9)
- The stakes are quite high in Wednesday's Champions League match between RB Salzburg and Atletico Madrid as the Austrians need to win to advance, while Atleti only need a point to move on.
- Salzburg play an exciting, offensive style of football while Atleti prefer to dig in and strike on the counterattack.
- Dillon Essma details why he thinks there could be betting value on the underdog on Wednesday:
Atletico Madrid at Red Bull Salzburg Odds
|Atletico Madrid Odds||+115 [BET NOW]|
|Salzburg Odds||+230 [BET NOW]|
|Draw||+255 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Wednesday, 3 p.m. ET|
|TV||CBS All Access | fuboTV|
The stakes for Wednesday’s match between Atletico Madrid and RB Salzburg are quite high. Salzburg go through to the Round of 16 with a win, while Atleti advance if they nab a point.
It’s also a match that features contrasting tactics as Jesse Marsch likes RB Salzburg to play an aggressive, all-action style, while Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid are known for their defensive prowess.
Red Bull Salzburg
RB Salzburg trail Atletico Madrid by two points, so they need a win to get through to the Round of 16 along with Bayern Munich. Marsch’s team will always go for goals and they have a lot of talented attacking players, so Salzburg matches are usually quite fun to watch.
Since Salzburg need a win, I expect them to be the team that dictates the pace of this match and the result will likely come down to whether or not they can finish off their chances and if they make mistakes in front of their own net.
Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.
From an expected goals (xG) perspective, RB Salzburg have been really impressive during group stage. Die Roten Bullen have generated 1.96 xG/game, while only conceding 1.62 xGA/game. This +0.34 xG differential compares with Bayern’s at +0.30 and Atleti’s at +0.26. Bayern have rested players, so you could poke holes in that argument, but that doesn’t change how impressive Salzburg have been in this stage.
Atletico defeated Salzburg, 3-2, in a fast-paced, close match a few weeks ago. The Spanish giants deserved that win according to their 2.59-1.43 expected goals advantage, but that was their highest output of the group stage and wouldn’t expect them to create as many chances as Salzburg on Wednesday.
This match is right in Atleti’s wheelhouse. Simeone’s side always seems to find a way to grind out results in the big moments.
While Atletico have been a bit unimpressive in the group stage with one win, three draws and a loss, they have looked much better in La Liga where they currently sit atop the table and have won seven matches in a row. Atleti are dealing with some injuries, but Luis Suarez should be fit and provide a big boost at the top of the lineup.
Atleti are averaging 1.32 expected goals for and 1.06 expected goals against per 90 minutes through five Champions League matches, so they clearly are more comfortable in low-event contests. Of course they did come out on top in a see-saw win over Salzburg, but I think Simeone will try to keep this game predictable as his side just need a point to get through. With Suarez at the top, you can be pretty sure that Atletico’s gameplan will focus on absorbing pressure and springing a counter for the Uruguayan to finish off.
Atletico vs. Salzburg Best Bets
The pace — and amount of goals — will likely come down to whether or not RB Salzburg can get on the board early. If they can’t, Atletico will be able to play their counterattacking football. This means that Salzburg and the Over are correlated in this match. Based on the xG data and the attacking talent Salzburg boasts, I think there could be an upset brewing here.
To me, the best value is backing Salzburg to go over 1.5 goals at +143. Die Roten Bullen are averaging 1.96 xG per match and had success against Atletico on the road, so I like the price for them to get two goals.
Additionally, I think Salzburg are worth a play at +0.5 at anything better than -145, or if you have the +0.25 available (half your bet goes on PK, the other half on +0.5), I like that option at -115 or better.
The Bets: Salzburg Team Total Over 1.5 Goals (+143); Salzburg +0.5 (-145 or better); Salzburg +0.25 (-115 or better)