Lazio vs Atletico Madrid Preview | Champions League Picks & Predictions

Lazio vs Atletico Madrid Preview | Champions League Picks & Predictions article feature image

Angel Martinez/Getty. Pictured: Marcos Llorente.

Lazio vs Atlético Madrid Odds

Tuesday, Sept. 19
3 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
Lazio Odds+200
Atlético Madrid Odds+150
Over / Under
 +130 / -163
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

The two betting favorites to advance from Group E will face off to begin group play on Tuesday in the Italian capital as Lazio host Atletico Madrid. Both clubs lost their recent league matches and have been up and down with their form domestically to begin the new year.

Both had disappointing campaigns in Europe last season in the Champions League and Europa League, respectively. Atlético finished fourth in a group that included Porto, Leverkusen and Club Brugge and had no European matches in the second half of the season as a result. Lazio finished third in a group with Feyenoord and Midtjylland and then lost in the round of 16 in the Europa Conference League.

Let's dive into Lazio vs Atletico Madrid.

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Lazio finished last season marginally above average in their underlying metrics in Serie A, didn't perform well in Europe and then lost their best player, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. It shouldn't come as a huge shock that Lazio has regressed toward their xG numbers at the start of this Serie A season with three losses in their first four league matches.

The Sky Blues finished well above their underlying metrics for two straight seasons, but there's nothing in the underlying data from a finishing or shot-stopping perspective that suggested it was anything more than a hot few years. Lazio also had the oldest roster in Serie A last year and rank second-oldest in average age thus far in the new Italian campaign.

There are other metrics that suggest Lazio had a bunch of air in their numbers. They ranked in the top five in red card differential and top three in minutes played when up a man last season. They conceded just one penalty goal in 38 league matches, tied for fewest in Serie A.

Lazio have played two away matches against high-quality opponents at Juventus and Napoli. Although they beat Napoli, the total xG difference in those two matches was 1.2 xGF for Lazio to 3.5 conceded. Atlético Madrid will not be at full strength on Tuesday, but there are real questions about how good Lazio really are here.

Atletico Madrid

Atlético's 7-0 win against Rayo Vallecano opened eyeballs because it was an island game and right before the international break, but the attack is still not that close to Europe's elite sides. Diego Simeone's team has been a considerably more high-event attacking side in the last 10 months, but that's mostly just made up for the no-longer-super-elite defense at the margins.

The biggest issue for Atlético headed into the Champions League is the injury situation. Thomas Lemar is potentially out for the season following an Achilles injury. Memphis Depay, Rodrigo De Paul and Koke are all battling back from setbacks now too and will not feature in this match.

Given the injuries around Antoine Griezmann and Alvaro Morata, the majority of the goal-scoring onus will come down to those two veterans. Despite being past their primes, both have performed at solid levels to begin the season. Griezmann has taken a step back from his ridiculous 2022-23 numbers, but he's still produced well.

De Paul has completed more passes into the penalty area than any Atletico player. Depay has taken more shots than anyone on the team. Lemar had the second-most progressive carries per 90. They have enough depth to survive one or two injuries, but losing all three will be a real downgrade for their attack.

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Lazio vs Atletico Madrid

Pick & Prediction

Both teams are projected to take steps back from an attacking perspective this season. Whether it's Griezmann being unable to replicate last season's absurd numbers, the injuries for Atletico or finishing regression for Lazio, both attacks enter this Champions League overvalued.

Lazio have struggled to create real quality scoring chances against the top competition in Italy, and it's always a decent bet to assume Simeone will go back to his defensive and passive roots in the opening match of the Champions League away from home. I'd split my bet on first half under 1 and full game under 2.5

Pick: First Half Under 1, Under 2.5 (-135 or better)

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