La Liga Betting Odds: Athletic Bilbao vs. Atletico Madrid Picks and Predictions (Sunday, June 14)

Credit:

Julian Finney, Getty Images. Pictured: Diego Simeone

Atletico Madrid at Athletic Bilbao Odds and Picks

Atletico Madrid odds +125
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Bilbao odds +275
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Draw odds +195
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Over/Under 2 (+110/-134)
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Time Sunday, 8 a.m. ET
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If Atletico Madrid want to qualify for Champions League football they will need to take all three points from their trip to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday morning.

Atleti are currently in sixth place and just a point outside of a Champions League spot, which is a disappointment for a club that has finished inside the top four in each of the last seven seasons.

Athletic Bilbao sit right in the middle of the table, with an outside shot at a Europa League spot. Three points against one of the top teams in La Liga could add some juice to Los Leones’ bid for a spot in the 2020-21 Europa League.


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Athletic Bilbao

Athletic Bilbao were up and down prior to the break.

Los Leones had great moments, beating Barcelona and Real Sociedad at home, but have also had disappointments like going 1-5-1 against the bottom five teams in La Liga.

Los Leones currently have a +6 goal differential, but their -3.6 expected goal differential indicates they have overachieved this season. Before the world came to a halt, Bilbao wasn’t in a very good run of form only earning seven of a possible 21 points with an xG differential of -2.83 in their last seven matches.


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.


Bilbao has really struggled in front of the net this season and their 1.09 xG for per game ranks 16th in La Liga. They will no doubt have a difficult time breaking through La Liga’s best defense on Sunday morning.

Atletico Madrid  

It has been a very interesting season for Los Colchoneros.

Currently in sixth place, Atletico is in a dog fight with Getafe, Real Sociedad and Sevilla for the final two Champions League spots. However, Atletico has been the third-best team in La Liga when it comes to expected goals.

Los Colchoneros have an expected goal differential  of +18.10, which ranks third in La Liga behind Real Madrid and Barcelona.

For those who aren’t aware, Atletico Madrid plays a different style of football than the rest of the world.

Playing out of a 4-4-2, Diego Simeone values achieving defensive perfection over a high-powered attack. For years, Los Colchoneros have been Europe’s most difficult defense to break down.

Keeping eight players behind the ball, Atletico create a defensive wall that works in unison to deny the opposing team space to play through the center or between the lines.

This forces opponents to play through the wide areas to access the penalty area. Atletico allow just 0.90 xGA per 90 minutes when they play out of the 4-4-2. It is their bread and butter.

Previous Meeting

Atletico Madrid won the reverse fixture, 2-0, at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium. It was a typically dominant performance by Atletico, as the expected goals report shows, Bilbao wasn’t able to create any significant chances against Atletico’s defense.

Analysis

Looking at the numbers, I have a hard time seeing Bilbao breaking down Atleti’s defensive wall.

Based on my model I have the projected odds and expected goals at:

  • Athletic Bilbao projected odds: +377 (20.97% win probability)
  • Athletic Bilbao projected xG: 0.84
  • Atletico Madrid projected odds: -102 (50.61%)
  • Atletico Madrid projected xG: 1.31
  • Draw projected odds: +252 (28.42%)

Based on those numbers, I think backing Atletico Madrid to take all three points is a good bet.

Pick: Atletico Madrid +120

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