Madrid top La Liga
Atletico Madrid have assumed top spot in La Liga on the back of a seven-game undefeated streak, which includes six wins and a draw. Their last league defeat came to Osasuna on February 23, a shocking 3-0 routing by the relegation threatened side that was an unquestionable departure from form but a bit of a moot point really seeing it followed their R16 tie with AC Milan and preceded a pivotal date with Real Madrid in league action.
All in all, Atleti are enjoying a remarkable season. Beyond the expectations of most pundits and fans alike and – the important bit—they are finally getting the respect they deserve across sportsbooks. Atleti have made it a three-horse race throughout the season – not that odds makers paid much attention though, or so it seemed with futures betting odds hovering at a great distance away from top soccer picks Barcelona or Real Madrid. Old habits...you could say. Assumption that Atleti would falter at some point, dramatically fade away down the stretch.
Now with just seven games left on the season and Atleti holding top position, the probability that they would win the La Liga title can no longer be denied and, accordingly, futures betting odds to win the title have been shaved down to +350 – putting their chances within touching distance of Real Madrid at +250 and Barcelona at -138 to win La Liga at Bet365.
Diego Simeone and his men haven’t just been shaking things down in Spain but also in Europe’s premier club competition where they emerged as Group G winners (matched at +120 futures odds at Bet365) and dismantled AC Milan 5-1 in the R16. But it’s one thing to begin giving Atleti their due respect in domestic action, another to do so in Europe’s premier club competition where they frankly don’t have the sort of experience their compatriots do. And so, Atleti, who started the competition as the +4000 long shots to win outright, remain closer to the bottom of the pile at +1600 futures odds to win outright.
That overarching disadvantage is echoed in the first leg of their tie with Barcelona. They are listed at +600 to win outright at Camp Nou and the draw is listed at +333 soccer odds at Bet365. Clearly, the probability Atleti would deliver an upset win at Camp Nou is a long shot. But that the draw would be priced so large? When their last three encounters this season (league clash and two in Super Cup) ended on a stalemate. Well, that is a bit surprising. Then again, this is Europe’s premier competition, a whole different ball game.
Barcelona enter their quarterfinal clash with Atletico Madrid as the firm favourites at -188 soccer odds to win outright, a market stance that is underscored by both their home advantage as well as their wealth of experience in this competition – two considerable advantages many believe will prove deciding in this highly anticipated clash.
That said Barcelona (second in La Liga, a point adrift of Atleti) have waffled uncharacteristically this season in La Liga – defeats to Valencia, Real Sociedad and Real Valladolid are just a few departures from their lofty standards. As well, they lost to Ajax in Champions League – all of which suggest Barcelona can’t take anything for granted, especially not when bragging rights across Europe are concerned.
Good news: recent form is auspicious, back to standard with five straight wins including three clean sheets in La Liga and a victory over Manchester City in the R16 – the Premier League outfit were amongst the Top 6 favourites to win Champions League matched at +1400 at the start of the competition last summer.
Soccer Betting Verdict
Two familiar foes set up a rather intriguing soccer-betting affair. There is little that they don’t know about each other ahead of their Champions League clash. But the pressure is high nonetheless. As well as expectations on both sides despite the lopsided soccer odds.
Barcelona hold all the cards. Have the obvious advantage, which makes them a good soccer pick more often than not. Atleti haven’t won in Camp Nou in over 8 years but they also haven’t lost there this season either. What’s more, this is arguably the best instalment of the club in recent memory. Seeing how well they nullified Barca in three previous meetings this season surely they’ll fancy their chances to do so again at the very least, if not stun the Spanish giants all together.
Soccer Free Picks: Draw +333