Saturday Serie A Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Benevento vs. Atalanta (Jan. 9)
Mattia Ozbot/Soccrates/Getty Images. Pictured: Atalanta standouts Marten de Roon, left, and Luis Muriel.
- Surprise Serie A side Benevento welcomes Atalanta to Stadio Ciro Vigorito a key Saturday fixture.
- Can the Stregoni keep things rolling along in this match? Dillon Essma doesn't think so.
- Check out Essma's full preview and betting pick for Saturday's match below.
Benevento vs. Atalanta Odds
|Benevento Odds||+600 [BET NOW]|
|Atalanta Odds||-240 [BET NOW]|
|Draw||+380 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||3.5 (+125/-157) [BET NOW]|
|Time||9 a.m. ET|
|How To Watch||ESPN+|
Benevento, the surprise of the Serie A season, welcomes Atalanta to Stadio Ciro Vigorito on Saturday for an intriguing fixture.
The visiting side has hit a good run of form as of late, while the Stregoni have been stronger defensively and should be ready for battle in this contest.
Let’s take a look at what could be in store between these sides.
The Stregoni sit in 10th place on the table, racking up 21 points through 16 matches. For a newly promoted side, that’s a big surprise.
To start the season, Benevento lost five of its first seven matches. The reason for that was the shape and style of the manager, but quickly adjusted. Since then, they have been stronger defensively. The Stregoni take their chances, but now try to leave fewer gaps at the back.
Over its last 10 matches, Benevento have only conceded 1.18 xGA/game. Opponents along the way have been the likes of Juventus, AC Milan, Lazio and Sassuolo. Holding Juventus and AC Milan to roughly 1.5 expected goals was pretty impressive, considering both clubs average more than 2 xG per match.
The defending has improved, but the Stregoni still sit bottom five in advanced metrics. Despite the defensive improvements, Benevento is just not creating enough on the offensive side of things.
The Stregoni are generating 1.11 xG/game, which is fourth worst in the league. They will need to take advantage of the limited chances they get, and will play a frustrating brand of soccer to see results out. I do think their metrics would suggest they finish closer to 15th place than 10th place, so may be a fade down the stretch as legs tire.
La Dea is finally on a good run of form, undefeated in its last six matches. The Bologna draw is still head-scratching to me, but I’m probably being overly critical on the Bergamo side.
Atalanta’s most recent matches against Sassuolo and Parma generated a combined xG differential of 5.89 to 0.55 margin. In its win over Roma, the club only conceded a 0.71 xGA number.
Looking back, the Roma performance might be what we point to when we talk about what got this team into gear. Roma average 2.46 xG/game, so that was a impressive performance. The question remains if La Dea can sustain that form without — Papu Gomez — who will likely leave in this transfer window.
Since the beginning of November, Atalanta have only conceded 0.68 xGA/game if we exclude the Juventus match. If manager Gian Piero Gasperini and his men can keep up this defensive form, they will be tough to beat over the second half of the season.
Atalanta has now climbed into 3rd in NPxGD at +16.58. The chances and creativity should come, albeit without Gomez. The eye-popping stat this season is La Dea ranking second in NPxGA at only 0.92/game. That quality on the defensive end, if sustainable, could allow them back into the top-four race.
It’s been a struggle for me playing Atalanta this season, but it feels like it might figured some things out.
Betting Analysis & Pick
As mentioned above, this match is a bit tough for me. The advanced data and recent run of form tell me the alternative total of 3.25 is the top angle.
However, Atalanta is on a roll right now and I don’t want to get in front of that train. Benevento can struggle to create good chances, and La Dea has been limiting opponents as of late.
That said, I am going to go with Atalanta at -1.5 (+114) as my play.
Pick: Atalanta -1.5 (+114)