Tuesday Champions League Betting Picks & Predictions: Our Favorite Bets for Real Madrid vs. Atalanta, Manchester City vs. Gladbach (March 16)

Tuesday Champions League Betting Picks & Predictions: Our Favorite Bets for Real Madrid vs. Atalanta, Manchester City vs. Gladbach (March 16) article feature image
Credit:

Matt McNulty – Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images. Pictured: Manchester City stars Raheem Sterling, left, and Kevin De Bruyne.

  • Two more European powers will advance in Champions League action after Tuesday's crucial matches on the continent.
  • Real Madrid hosts Atalanta in one game, with Manchester City taking on struggling Borussia Mönchengladbach in the other contest.
  • Our analysts deliver out their best bets for these latest showdowns below.

Two European soccer standouts will take another leap forward in Champions League action Tuesday, with a pair of Round of 16 matches on the slate.

Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid goes up against upstart Serie A side Atalanta, with Premier League juggernaut Manchester City hoping to close out its set with German stalwart Borussia Mönchengladbach in their meeting.

Our Action Network soccer analysts have targeted four plays entering these contests, with the aggregate winners advancing to the quarterfinal round of the showcase.

Let’s take a look at their in-depth analysis and featured selections.


MATCH ANALYST THE PICK
Man City vs. Gladbach BJ Cunningham Total Under 3 Goals (+104)
Man City vs. Gladbach Jeremy Pond Manchester City -1.75 (-113)
Real Madrid vs. Atalanta Anthony Dabbundo Atalanta ML (+230)
Real Madrid vs. Atalanta Kieran Darcy Atalanta ML (+230)

Odds updated as of Monday evening via DraftKings


BJ Cunningham: Manchester City vs. Gladbach — Total Under 3 Goals (+104)

Manchester City’s dominance across the European landscape in the year 2021 has been because of its defense. It’s as simple as that fact.

Manager Pep Guardiola made a change at both center-back positions in December, putting John Stones and Ruben Dias beside each other. The two have now played together for 16 matches, combining to allow an absurd 0.62 xG per match. They shut down Borussia Mönchengladbach in the first leg, only allowing the club to create 0.51 expected goals the entire  match.

Things are really bad for Gladbach right now, due to the fact it’s winless in its last eight matches across all competitions and has lost six games in a row. That terrible run has dropped Gladbach down to 10th in the Bundesliga table.

To make matters worse, manager Marco Rose already has one foot out the door because he has agreed to become the manager at rival Borussia Dortmund next season.

The reason Gladbach has been struggling this season is because its offense is nowhere close to what it was last season. During the 2019-20 campaign, Gladbach averaged a whopping 2.16 xG per match and was the second-best Bundesliga attack behind Bayern Munich.

Now, the Foals only averaging 1.53 xG per match on the season and 1.02 xG per contest over its eight-game winless streak.

Gladbach will have to do a much better job building up its attack in the second meeting, because Manchester City basically spent the entire game in its end of the pitch. Gladbach was only able to muster up three shots total in the loss.

I only have 2.50 goals projected for this match, so I think there is some value on the the total staying under three  goals since Manchester City just needs a draw to move onto the next round.

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Jeremy Pond: Manchester City -1.75 (-113) vs. Gladbach

The question entering this affair isn’t whether or not Manchester City will win this confrontation in Budapest. Rather, it’s how many goals the global powerhouse wins by to march on to the quarterfinal round.

The Cityzens come into this tilt in better form and will be more rested than their foes. The Premier League leaders earned a convincing, 3-0 win over Fulham this past Saturday, and did it without a handful of regulars.

Raheem Sterling didn’t even dress, plus the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden, Kyle Walker, İlkay Gündoğan and Riyad Mahrez never stepped foot on the pitch.

Now, Manchester City faces a Gladbach side that has lost four on the bounce and seven of their last eight games overall, plus it’s given up eight goals combined in those defeats.

The Foals, who have plummeted to 10th place in the German top flight, were shut out in four of those contests as well. And on deck are the talented Cityzens, who the face in a must-win — and must-win-by-a-lot — situation. I just don’t see that happening, even on their best day on the pitch.

For those reasons, I’m backing Manchester City via the alternative line of -1.75 goals at fair -123 odds at DraftKings as my top play, The Cityzens are just too deep, too multi-dimensional and too talented to have any issues with their struggling German counterparts.

Throw in the fact that Manchester City has won by at least two goals in 18 of their last 23 victories, which have come during a stretch where they’re racked up a ridiculous 23-1-0 (W-L-D) record, and I like my chances of a rout.

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Anthony Dabbundo: Atalanta ML (+230) vs. Real Madrid

The first leg of this tie was ruined by Remo Freuler’s 17th-minute red card. It allowed Real Madrid to avoid facing the true Atalanta attack, as the Italian side sat deep and played for the scoreless draw from that point forward. 

Real Madrid has had issues with lower-level teams in Spain, and the absence of Casemiro is a big one for breaking up the diamond attacking overloads the Italians are going to try to create with their wingbacks.

Atalanta has won its last four Champions League road matches including all three in the group stage against Ajax, Liverpool and Midtyjland. Manager Gian Piero Gasperini’s side will force the game to be played at its pace, open it up and find the winning goals to go through to the quarterfinal round.

Atalanta spends more time in its opponents’ penalty area than any other Italian team, and allows opponents into their 18-yard box less than anyone else in the Italian top flight.

Atalanta’s ability to overload one side of the Real Madrid defense or break quickly with Josip Illicic in transition as the primary ball progressor makes the club very dangerous to score multiple goals. 

I like Atalanta at this price, as my projection puts it at +180 odds. That said, Real Madrid goes down in the Round of 16 for the third consecutive season.

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Kieran Darcy: Atalanta ML (+230) vs. Real Madrid

I liked Atalanta in the first leg and was not dissuaded by its defeat. The match got turned on its head by a questionable Remo Freuler red card in the 17th minute, yet Real Madrid still didn’t impress.

Los Blancos earned a 1-0 victory, courtesy of a Ferland Mendy wonder strike in the 86th minute, and only generated 1.4 xG despite Atalanta being down a man almost the entire match.

Since then, Real Madrid has drawn 1-1 with Real Sociedad and Atlético Madrid, plus it labored in defeating 17th-place Elche via a 2-1 score this past Saturday, thanks to Karim Benzema’s winner that came in second-half stoppage time.

Meanwhile, Atalanta has beaten Sampdoria, Crotone and Spezia by a combined 10-2 score line. Its lone blemish was a narrow, 1-0 defeat at the hands of Serie A leader Inter Milan.

Atalanta has scored 63 goals in 27 league matches, which is 17 more than Real Madrid in the same amount of games played. And I think the visitors will find a way to outscore Los Blancos, who will be without standouts Eden Hazard (injury) and Casemiro (suspension), in this latest showdown.

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