On paper, this La Liga match between host Atlético Madrid (1-0-0) and league newcomers SD Eibar (1-0-0) at Vicente Calderón Stadium on Saturday (BeIN, 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT) looks like a mammoth mismatch. With soccer odds opening up Los Rojiblancos as prohibitive -400 favorites over Eibar, how exactly does one approach this game using the various sports betting marketplaces out there?
By using your head and not limiting yourself to the conventional style one might usually employ in a game between two theoretically mismatched teams and tailoring your soccer picks to fit your image of the final score to get reasonable prices to try to make some money on the game. It’s that complicated, yet that simple.
What’s the Skinny on This SD Eibar?
In its La Liga season opener on Sunday at Ipura Municipal Stadium in the autonomous community of Basque Country in Spain, SD Eibar and goalkeeper Xabi Irureta shut out Real Sociedad, 1-0, as Javi Lavar’s incredible free kick led Los Armeros—promoted after finishing first in Spain’s Segunda División—to the big Opening Day upset over La Real.
But an Opening Day win at home and the thrill of playing in Spain’s top flight of football will quickly be sobered up by the cold reality of playing in the best league on the planet with three of its best teams (Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid) and maybe the two best players to ever lace up a pair of soccer boots in Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. In short, good luck.
Atlético Lost Much, But is Used to Reloading
It would seem perennially losing guys like Radamel Falcao (AS Monaco), Diego Costa (Chelsea), Filipe Luís (Chelsea), Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), David Villa (NYCFC), Adrián López (Porto) and Diego (Fenerbahçe), among others, would eventually hamstring a club, especially one that has to play both Barça and Madrid at least twice each—and usually more. But this team is finally feeling the pride of winning La Liga and it almost beat their city rivals Madrid in May to also become European champions (UEFA Champions League).
Toss in some even more valuable momentum from winning the Spanish Super Cup over Madrid last week (2-1 on aggregate), one of the best coaches in the world in Diego Simeone, and—along with Borussia Dortmund’s insane German throng—the best soccer fans in Europe, and this team has more than enough emotional and psychic juice to again hang with anyone, anywhere, anytime. And they’ll need it with all (the spending) Barcelona and Madrid have done over the summer.
But Atlético did not just sit passively and watch a plethora of stars flee elsewhere for bigger bucks—they simply went out and got more guys who will become stars at Vicente Calderón in the future like Mario Mandžukic (Bayern Munich), Antoine Griezmann (Real Sociedad) and goalkeeper Miguel Ángel Moyà (Getafe). And with guys like Koke, Arda Turan, Gabi, Javi Martínez, Raúl García and Diego Godín, the defending La Liga champions will be just fine.
The Best Approaches to This Match
The last five games Eibar has played in, including friendlies and preseason matches, have all been clean sheets, so, with one of the most stout defenses in all of Europe, backing the home team Atlético on the To Win To Nil line seems like a pretty logical choice with Atleti actually a favorite, although fairly priced in my mind at -137 (bet365). And I expect Los Rojiblancos to be able to score in the first half in their home opener in front of its raucous and expecting crowd, so wagering on Atlético Madrid/Atlético Madrid (-175 bet365) on the Half-Time/Full-Time line also makes a lot of sense here.
And to be even more sly, how about dabbling in the soccer odds for this game and working backwards from the predicted premise that Atleti will win 3-0 and back Simeone’s boys both laying 1 goal (-162, bet365) and also 2 (+160)? Usually a heavy -400 favorite will be used as a parlay element or possibly ignored by the average bettor because of the steep odds, but with so many ways to bet in 2014, a couple of hours of research and some really deep thought about what will likely happen and a coming up with a potential scoreline, this working back through the odds is a unique approach and can often reward the gambler for both being creative as well as really gambling.
PREDICTION: Atlético Madrid 3 SD Eibar 0
SOCCER PICKS: Atlético Madrid -1 -162 (bet365), Atlético Madrid -2 +160 (bet365), Atlético Madrid/Atlético Madrid Half-Time/Full-Time -175 (bet365), Atlético Madrid To Win To Nil -137 (bet365)