La Liga Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions for Atlético Madrid vs. Real Madrid (Sunday, March 7)

La Liga Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions for Atlético Madrid vs. Real Madrid (Sunday, March 7) article feature image
Credit:

Manuel Queimadelos/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images. Pictured: Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix and Luis Suarez.

  • Atlético Madrid's lead in La Liga has shrunk in recent weeks due to a dip in form.
  • Real Madrid is playing much better, going unbeaten in six games (five wins and a draw) in all competitions since the start of February.
  • Who has the edge in Sunday's derby? Kieran Darcy tells us below.

Atlético Madrid vs. Real Madrid Odds

Atlético Madrid Odds +160
Real Madrid Odds +188
Draw +215
Over/Under 2.5 (+140 / -175) 
Day | Time Sunday | 10:15 a.m. ET
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Odds as of Saturday afternoon via DraftKings.

We’ve got a Madrid derby with major title-race implications coming up on Sunday. Atlético Madrid entered the weekend on top of La Liga with 58 points. They have a five-point lead over Real Madrid and a game in hand. (Barcelona were also five points back, having played a game more, too.)

A Real Madrid victory would blow La Liga wide open, but how likely is that to happen? Here’s a closer look at the two clubs, followed by a prediction.

Atlético Madrid

Atlético Madrid’s lead has shrunk in recent weeks, due to a dip in form. They are coming off a 2-0 win at Villarreal last Sunday, although they were outshot 19-6 in that match. Villarreal topped them in terms of xG (expected goals) 1.3 to 0.5, according to FBRef.com.

Prior to that, Atletico had conceded at least one goal in eight consecutive matches in all competitions, the longest such streak ever under manager Diego Simeone. Their previous three results were a 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in the Champions League, preceded by a 1-1 draw and a 2-0 loss to Levante, who they played twice in a week.

On the bright side, Atlético will have Kieran Trippier available for the first time since January now that his 10-week ban for breaking betting regulations is over. Atlético won 11 of the 14 league matches Trippier played in prior to the ban and lost just once.

But this Atlético dip shouldn’t come as a shock, given the underlying numbers. In terms of xG differential, Atlético Madrid are only the fourth-best team in La Liga at +12.1, behind Barcelona (+28.8), Real Sociedad (+20.3) and Real Madrid (14.4).

Atlético Madrid have scored 47 league goals — second only to Barcelona (55), with four more than Real Madrid (43). But Atlético’s xG total is only 31.6 — that’s quite a leap.

Real Madrid

Real Madrid are slightly above their city rivals in xG differential, as mentioned above. They’re also in better form — unbeaten in six games in all competitions since the start of February, with five wins and a draw.

The draw came in their last match, 1-1 against Real Sociedad last Monday. But, as mentioned above, Real Sociedad are the second-best team in the league in terms of xG differential. And Real Madrid outshot them 20-6, topping them in xG 1.7 to 0.5.

Also, Real Madrid were without Karim Benzema for that match. Benzema is the team’s leading scorer, with 12 of their 43 league goals (plus five assists).  Central midfielder Casemiro is their next-highest scorer with five goals, and no one else has more than three.

The big question is, will Benzema play on Sunday? The signs are encouraging — Benzema participated in training on Friday and was included in the squad list on Saturday — but we’ll have to wait for the lineup on Sunday.

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Betting Analysis & Picks

For the purposes of making a selection here, I’m going to assume Benzema starts. In that case, this looks like a relatively even matchup. That’s what the teams’ similar xG differentials say, and that’s what the odds say as well.

Real Madrid won the first meeting 2-0 back in mid-December, but it was a tight match. Real Madrid outshot Atlético 12-5, but it was only 0.6 to 0.4 in terms of xG. One of the two scores was an own goal.

The stakes are indeed high, but as Sid Lowe wrote in his preview in The Guardian, “it may also urge caution, the desire to win weaker than the need not to lose.”

I think there’s a pretty good chance this one ends in a stalemate, and with the La Liga title still up for grabs.

Pick: Draw (+215)

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