Bet 1-1 Draw in Athletic Bilbao vs. Atletico Madrid

Steven Suarez

Friday, March 28, 2014 12:58 PM GMT

Atletico is currently atop the La Liga table, but they have both Barcelona and Real Madrid breathing down their necks. Days before a showdown with the Catalans in the Champions League, the Mattres Makers will visit Athletic Bilbao in a crucial league battle – who are we backing with our soccer picks? 

Odds Overview

Despite being away from home against a tough team, the Matters Makers are still favored at +140 or so for Saturday. The Lions, meanwhile, are available for selection in the +200 to +225 range, with a draw at roughly +225.

 

Athletic Bilbao
Athletic Bilbao may not be getting as many wins as they'd like, but they've still managed to piece together a six-match unbeaten run in La Liga play.

In that span they've beaten Real Betis, Athletic Bilbao and Getafe, while drawing against the likes of Valencia, Villarreal and Elche, all of which came away from home. The latest came during the week at Elche. 

It was a rather lackluster performance from the Lions, up against a team that's firmly in the relegation race. They were limited to few goalscoring chances and just couldn't find their way past Elche goalkeeper Manuel Yague.

Thing is, in spite of a disappointing effort in midweek, you have to like Athletic Bilbao's chances of bouncing back, even against a strong side like Atletico. 

Why's that? Put simply, the Lions have been fantastic at home, picking up 11 wins, three draws and only one loss in 15 matches to go with a goal differential of +20. More importantly, they've beaten Barcelona and drawn with Real Madrid on their home field, so they know what it takes to hang with the best of the best.

 

Atletico Madrid
Since a shock 3-0 away loss against Osasuna, the Mattress Makers have come back to go unbeaten over their past five league fixtures, which includes wins over Celta Vigo, Espanyol, Real Betis and Granada. 

Atletico was last active on Wednesday in a 1-0 home victory over Granada, with none other than Diego Costa scoring the match's solitary goal. The visitors certainly huffed and puffed to keep the Mattress Makers at bay, but quality can only be held down for so long.

With the form Costa's been in, it was no surprise at all to see him break the deadlock. He's now scored 24 goals in 29 La Liga matches and has scored 32 times across all competitions for the club. 

With Real Madrid faltering, Atletico's victory pushed them into the top spot once again, though there's still plenty of time for things to change. Any sort of slip-ups from here on out could prove fatal to the Mattress Makers' chances of securing the league title. 

As far as Atletico's away form goes, they've held strong defensively and that's guided them to success. They've gone 10-1-3 and have allowed only 12 goals in those 14 matches, the fewest of any team in Spain's top-flight.

 

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":262533, "sportsbooksIds":[43], "LineTypeId":2, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

La Liga Pick
There's no doubt Atletico has been in a class above this season, alongside Barcelona and Real Madrid, but this is an extremely difficult fixture. 

The Lions have been incredibly tough to break down at home, having lost just one time in this entire campaign, and we see them giving the Mattress Makers all they can handle on Saturday. 

So while Atletico won the first meeting of the season (2-0 with goals from Costa and David Villa) in comfortable fashion, we don't expect a repeat of that occasion here. We look for a determined approach out of Bilbao and will select them to get at least a point with our soccer picks this weekend. 

Pick: Athletic Bilbao 1 Atletico Madrid 1