Atlético Madrid vs. Chelsea Tuesday Champions League Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Back the Blues (Feb. 23)
Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images. Pictured: Thomas Tuchel.
- Chelsea begins the Champions League knockout stage with Tuesday's match against Atlético Madrid in Budapest.
- The La Liga leaders have started to slip a bit as of late, but the Blues are is in fantastic form under new manager Thomas Tuchel.
- BJ Cunningham lays out how he's backing Chelsea to stay hot against the Spanish leader below.
Atlético Madrid vs. Chelsea Odds
|Atlético Madrid Odds||+170|
|Day | Time||Tuesday | 3 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Monday afternoon and via DraftKings.|
Atlético Madrid and Chelsea meet again in the Champions League for the third time in the past 11 years.
Atlético is atop La Liga, but their lead is starting to shrink after a bad run of form. However, Los Colchoneros are one of the best defensive teams across Europe and incredibly difficult for any team to break down.
They were anything but dominant during group play, as their only two wins came against Salzburg. Chelsea is going to be a huge step up in competition for Atlético, who hasn’t faced stiff competition in over a month.
Chelsea’s season looked dead and buried back in late January, but going from Frank Lampard to Thomas Tuchel in the manager’s chair has completely revitalized the Blues.
They are unbeaten in Tuchel’s first six matches in charge and are on the verge of moving into the top four in the Premier League. Chelsea dominated Group E, winning four and drawing two en route to the top spot.
Can Chelsea’s good run of form under Tuchel translate from England to Europe?
Atlético Madrid’s dream season in La Liga is starting to come off the rails a little bit, as they’ve only picked up one point from their last two matches, both against Levante.
However, Atlético have been one of the best teams in Europe since Champions League group play ended back in early December. They’ve won nine of their last 13 matches and put up a +7.68 expected goal difference (xGD) in the process.
Manager Diego Simone’s 4-4-2 formation is the closest thing to defensive perfection in modern soccer. Atlético keeps eight players behind the ball to 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 potentially access the penalty area.
— Sam Inkersole (@Sam_InkersoleTM) February 21, 2021
Atlético have allowed just 0.82 expected goals against (xGA) per match this season, which is one of the best marks across Europe. However, they will be without a key piece on for this match as star center back Jose Gimenez is going to miss the match due to injury.
Without Gimenez, Simeone’s men are likely going to have some difficulty trying to stop Chelsea’s high-flying attack.
Chelsea were going nowhere fast in January before firing Lampard and bringing in Tuchel, the former Borussia Dortmund and PSG manager. Turns out, that’s exactly what the Blues needed to get things going.
Chelsea have only conceded two goals in Tuchel’s first six matches in charge and are allowing only 0.52 xG per match under the German. They’re also creating 1.69 xG per match, which means the Blues are in fantastic form entering this fixture.
Tactically, Tuchel changed Chelsea’s system to a 3-4-2-1 from the 4-3-3 used by Lampard, which has allowed Chelsea to be more unpredictable. The main objective of the 3-4-2-1 and 4-3-3 is to completely overwhelm opposing defenses by outnumbering them on the counter attack.
The new formation allows Chelsea some tactical flexibility, to adjust on the fly based on how the match is going. That has allowed Chelsea to dominate possession and keep opponents on their toes. I think they should be able to dominate possession on Tuesday since Atlético is not concerned about keeping a lot of the ball.
Betting Analysis & Picks
Based on UEFA Coefficients, England has been the most difficult league to play in over the past two season. So, since Chelsea is in better form and has a better expected goal differential than Atlético Madrid, I like the Blues to get a first leg result.
Therefore, I am going to back Chelsea’s draw no bet line at +102 (DraftKings).
Pick: Chelsea — Draw No Bet (+102)