Champions League Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Atalanta vs. Real Madrid (Wednesday, Feb. 24)
Enrico Locci/Getty Images. Pictured: Atalanta star Luis Muriel.
- Serie A side Atalanta hosts Spanish giant Real Madrid on Wednesday in a crucial Champions League match.
- Can Los Blancos get a road win on Italian soil?
- Kieran Darcy doesn't think so and details why he likes La Dea to triumph on home soil below.
Atalanta vs. Real Madrid Odds
|Real Madrid Odds||+195|
|Day | Time||Wednesday | 3 p.m. ET|
Odds as of Tuesday afternoon and via PointsBet.
This is one of the more intriguing Round of 16 matchups in the Champions League takes place Wednesday between Atalanta and Real Madrid.
Atalanta is currently fifth in Serie A with 43 points, but just two points behind third-place Juventus. On the other side, Real Madrid is second in La Liga and sit only three points behind Atlético Madrid, but have played one game more than the leader.
Here’s a closer look at the two clubs, along with a prediction for the match.
This is still relatively new territory for Atalanta, which qualified for this European showcase for the first time last season. The Italian outfit eventually lost to Paris-Saint Germain in the quarterfinal round.
However, the club’s latest appearance is no fluke. Atalanta finished third in Serie A last season, five points behind Juventus. And in terms of expected-goal difference (xGDiff), La Dea was the best team in the league at +40.4 (according to FBRef.com).
Inter Milan was a distant second at +31.4, and Juve were even further back at +27.1 in the category.
Atalanta hasn’t been quite as strong this season, though. Through 23 Serie A matches, La Dea is only fourth in xG difference at +16.1, sitting behind Juve (+23.9), Inter Milan (+23.4) and Roma (+21.9) in the standings.
Papu Gomez, who had seven goals and 16 assists last season, has moved on to La Liga power Sevilla. However, Atalanta is still a potent force offensively, recording 53 goals in 23 league matches that’s second only to Inter Milan at 57 goals.
Luis Muriel has a team-high 14 goals, despite starting in only eight of his 21 appearances. Fellow forward Duvan Zupata has nine goals and five assists.
This is very familiar territory for Los Blancos, who have won the European Cup/UCL a record 13 times. Yet, they only made it to the Round of 16 last season before being eliminated by Manchester City.
Real Madrid did win La Liga last season, but it’s chasing its city rival this year — a race that has gotten a lot closer the past couple weeks. Atlético Madrid has suffered a loss and two draws in four league matches since the start of February, while Real Madrid have won four consecutive affairs.
In terms of xG difference, Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid are neck and neck, at +13.3 and +12.9, respectively. However, both are well behind Barcelona (+24.9) and Real Sociedad (+21.4) in that advanced metric.
Real Madrid has scored 42 goals in 24 La Liga matches — 12 of them via Karim Benzema. Unfortunately, Benzema will miss this game due to injury. Central midfielder Casemiro is next on the list with five goals, but no one else has more than three on the roster.
Betting Analysis & Picks
Atalanta has won its past two matches, including a 4-2 victory over Napoli on Sunday, and lost just one of its past 14 Serie A fixtures. That defeat came against fellow UCL participants Lazio on Jan. 31 in league play.
Yes, Real Madrid has four wins in a row. However, they came against Huesca, Getafe, Valencia and Real Valladolid — currently 20th, 15th, 12th and 19th in the Spanish top flight, respectively. Los Blancos scored two goals or less in each game, and without Benzema this past Saturday they generated just 0.5 xG in a 1-0 victory at lowly Valladolid.
Benzema isn’t the only Real Madrid player missing, either. Sergio Ramos is out as well, which weakens the defense. And Eden Hazard isn’t available, not that he’s done much since moving to Madrid.
Atalanta is legit and playing at home, which I think leads to a win in the first leg.
Pick: Atalanta ML (+130)