Bayer Leverkusen vs. Atletico Madrid UCL Soccer Pick: Attractive Price on Offer for Host to Win in Germany

Nikki Adams

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 8:06 PM GMT

Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015 8:06 PM GMT

Atletico Madrid will look to ease to victory in Germany when they take on Bayer Leverkusen in the first round of their R16 UCL tie. Join us as we preview this matchup, complete with our soccer picks.

Out-of-form Bayer Leverkusen 
Bayer Leverkusen are struggling for form in domestic action after a spate of disappointing results, which is hardly an ideal circumstance ahead of a clash with Atletico Madrid, runners-up last year in Champions League. Add to that a historical trend of struggling against Spanish opposition over two legs (lost their last four straight), it's just going to give pause for concern. From fans and experts to odds makers, who've rolled out a less than favourable outlook on the soccer odds board, the prognosis for Bayer isn't encouraging.

In Bundesliga, they have one win in their last five game since coming off the winter break (1-2-2). They opened the second half of the season with a scoreless draw to struggling Borussia Dortmund. A few days later they beat Hertha SC 1-0 on the road, but instead of building on that result they slipped to back-to-back defeats: losing 2-1 to Werder Bremen on the away and a whopping 5-4 to Wolfsburg at home. Most recently, they are coming off a 2-2 draw to Augsburg.

Bayer are sixth in Bundesliga with 8-9-5 record on the season, which includes a subpar 4-6-1 record at home and equally so 4-3-4 record on the road. Defence is clearly a weakness allowing 29 goals to 36 netted through 22 rounds of German top flight. Bayer are conceding almost as many as they are scoring, which only puts more pressure on an already taxed offense that is averaging a decent 1.6 goals per game.

In European competition, Bayer Leverkusen fell into one of the softest groups of the competition that included AS Monaco FC, FC Zenit and SL Benfica. Consider the absence of established heavyweights, coming in second behind Group C winners AS Monaco, by just a point no less, has to rankle with manager Roger Schmidt, especially knowing they could have clinched first place on match day six with a win in Portugal. Tale told, they settled on a draw with Benfica and a point, while Monaco capitalised on the opportunity to beat Malmo 2-0 and take the precious three points that sealed top spot.

There is no sense in crying over spilt Heineken, anymore. Bayer missed an opportunity in the group stage that would have afforded them the advantage seeds get to finish the two-leg R16 tie on home turf. What's done is done. What's pertinent now is to shape up and find form. Roger Schmidt hopes a successful turn in the Champions League tie with Atletico Madrid will reignite Bayer's campaign across all competitions. However, with an outright win and draw trading on identical +220 soccer odds, the odds are stacked against them literally and figuratively. In other words, backing Bayer on your soccer picks would be a bold move.

Check Out Our Champions League Odds & Predictions for Knockout Stage

Atletico Madrid Look To Continue Strong Away Form
Reigning Spanish champions are enjoying a solid season in domestic and European action. As it stands, they are third in the table with a 17-2-5 record and 53 points, three points behind second-placed Barcelona and seven points behind Real Madrid. A happenstance that has odds makers pricing Atleti long shots at +2200 to win the title at the expense of the established tandem of Real and Barcelona.

That market stance must come across disingenuous to most avid La Liga fans, who followed Los Rojiblancos all the way to the title last season. Atleti were under comparable market conditions then. Even when leading the table odds makers persistently underrated Atleti in La Liga betting markets. So you could say the winner market this season is partly an extension of last season's outlook, not to mention established perceptions about Spanish top-flight football, a principality dominated by the giants Barcelona and Real.

Granted Atleti are currently third in the table, but there are plenty of games left on the season yet and they could make it a spectacular sprint to the finish. They have form behind six wins in their last eight games in Primera betting; the only hiccups a 3-1 loss to Barcelona back in January and a 2-0 loss to Celta de Vigo (a surprising away loss) a few weeks ago.

After a shaky start to their Champions League campaign, Atletico Madrid quickly righted the ship in the following round and never looked back since. Going on to win the group with a 4-1-1 record and 13 points, highlighted by netting 14 goals and conceding just three, Atleti were by far one of the most convincing teams of the group stage.

Through to the knockouts for a second straight season, Atleti will hope to replicate the form that saw them reach the final last year. Those memories still persist. How close they came to the improbable win in Europe's top-flight competition is something that continues to rankle with Diego Simeone until today. But, hey, no sense in crying over spilt Rioja....It's all about the now. And they have a winnable matchup in the R16 in this campaign, as evinced by their favourable +150 soccer odds to win in Germany on Wednesday and, more so, by their -300 future odds to qualify for the quarterfinals. If they beat Bayer convincingly, they'll move to within two rounds of a second straight final. That's something.

 

Soccer Betting Verdict
It should come as no surprise that odds makers have rolled out a lopsided soccer betting market on this matchup with the hosts at the disadvantage. Frankly, Bayer's form isn't up to snuff. It's nowhere near desirable form, which is needed to beat a side of Atleti's ilk. By all accounts, Atleti should win this game and take the advantage back to Spain's capital for the reverse in a couple of weeks. Back Atleti on their attractive +150 price tag on your soccer picks.

Free Soccer Pick: Atletico +150 at Pinnacle

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