Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid Soccer Picks: Spain's Best Meet in La Liga's Biggest Weekend Fixture

Nikki Adams

Friday, February 6, 2015 4:49 PM GMT

Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 4:49 PM GMT

The big matchup in La Liga this weekend is the Madrid derby between Atletico and Real on Saturday. We weigh in on this matchup and serve up our prize soccer picks.

Real Madrid Flying High In La Liga
Real Madrid advanced their lead in La Liga following a 2-1 win over Sevilla in midweek action. The win improves Real to an 18-0-3 record and 54 points, four points clear of Barcelona (2nd) and seven points clear of Atletico Madrid (3rd). It also marked their second win in two games without Cristiano Ronaldo, suspended for unsportsmanlike conduct after slapping and kicking opposing players in Real's clash with Cordoba almost a fortnight ago.

On the flipside, the win came at a heavy cost with James Rodriguez and Sergio Ramos both joining a long list of injury-hit players, which includes Luka Modric and Pepe, amongst several others. Marcello will also miss the game with Atletico after pulling his fifth yellow card of the season in the match with Sevilla.

Fortunately, Cristiano Ronaldo is slated to return for the pivotal clash with city rivals Atleti this Saturday, completing the two-game ban by sitting out midweek action with Sevilla. Needless to say, the return of their talisman this weekend couldn't be more opportune and gives Real at least a punters chance at the Calderon. Atletico Madrid have been a tough nut to crack in recent meetings so a well-rested Ronaldo could be the difference between winning and losing. Or not.

The initiated Spanish football fans know how the face of this rivalry has changed in recent seasons: no longer the lesser opponent, Atleti are fast becoming consistent legitimate threats and worthy adversaries. Diego Simeone and Atleti relish this matchup – you could say more than any other in La Liga  – and getting the bettor of Real is just vindication  for the many years they spent cast in the awesomeness of Real's rich shadow.

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Atletico Madrid Relying On Recent Copa Del Rey Success.
Atletico Madrid and their fans are going to be amped up for the upcoming Derbi Madrileno. They eliminated Real from Copa Del Rey recently after a highly tempestuous, contentious and competitive two-legged affair that went 4-2 on aggregate to Los Rojiblancos.  The latest success against Real Madrid sees Atleti improve to a five-game undefeated run since losing to their lofty neighbours 4-1 in the Champions League final last season. Atleti won the Spanish Super Cup 2-1 on aggregate, beat Real 2-1 at the Bernabeu in La Liga action earlier this season and beat Real Madrid in the R16. (

Diego Simeone and his boys will be looking to extend their positive form against Real Madrid and with home advantage their chances are good on paper. Although they went out of Copa Del Rey in the quarterfinals (lost to Barcelona), their La Liga form is auspicious behind three wins, beating Granada (2-0) Rayo Vallecano (3-1) and Eibar (3-1). (The last La Liga defeat was to Barcelona at Camp Nou on January 11.)

 

Atleti vs. Real Soccer Odds, Analysis and Predictions
Atleti are on a roll against Real, winning three and drawing two of their last five meetings. Odds makers, though, don't seem to take stock of that run of form at all as they install Atleti as the home underdogs at +188 and list Real as the notional road faves at +145, all while matching the draw at +240 soccer betting odds.  

By the soccer odds, Atleti at +188 or a draw bet at +240 would appear to be the value soccer picks. The role of underdog suits Los Rojiblancos fine. It's not the first time they've been underestimated. Rather it's a challenge they relish. What's more, they've yet to lose a game to Real this season and that gives them confidence going into this clash.

On the flipside, this negative run of form against Atleti can't sit well with Ancelotti and Los Blancos. Payback is sure to be on their minds when they descend on the Calderon but it'll depend on how well the triple threat of Ronaldo, Bale and Benzema responds. If they can overcome Atleti's stoic defending, they could prove the smart soccer pick and reward their backers at their reasonable +145 soccer odds.  

By all accounts, this game could go either way. For our money, we fancy Ronaldo and Real to rise to the occasion and snap the negative trend against Atleti. They are La Liga leaders and a hard-fought win over Atleti on the road would go a long way towards asserting their claim on the league title.

Free Soccer Picks: Real +145 at Pinnacle Sports

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