Champions League Soccer Pick: Atletico Madrid vs. Bayer Leverkusen

Nikki Adams

Monday, March 16, 2015 5:06 PM GMT

Atletico Madrid look to reverse a 1-0 deficit in their Champions League R16 tie with Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday. Find out how the soccer odds are shaping up & where the value picks are to be had.

Atletico Madrid Solid Home European Form
Atletico Madrid finished group play with a 4-1-1 record and top spot in their section. Behind that record is a solid home account that stands at 3-0-0 and includes ten goals scored and none conceded. They beat Juventus 1-0, Olympiacos 4-0 and Malmo 5-0.

That formidable home form is the corner stone of the soccer betting outlook for the second leg of their tie with Bayer Leverkusen and Los Rojiblancos hope it will prove as tough of an obstacle for Bayer Leverkusen as the UCL soccer odds makers suggest. Atleti are matched at -138 to win outright at the Vicente Calderon on Tuesday.

If there is cause for concern, it's recent form that leaves much to be desired by the Spanish titleholders. Diego Simeone and his lads slipped to a third straight draw in Spanish top flight at the weekend when they settled on a scoreless draw at Espanyol. The latest setback has Atleti dropping down to fourth place in the table, a point behind Valencia and, most importantly, ten points behind league leading Barcelona. It's about that time to concede Atleti are unlikely to defend their Spanish crown.

There's an argument about this run of poor form being down to a tough stretch. Since a 3-0 win at home to Almeria, los Rojiblancos have played three of their last four games on the road, including the 1-0 loss to Bayer. Their home clash was against a capable and solid Valencia, as evinced by their ascent up the table this weekend. So it remains to be seen how much stock soccer bettors should put into it.

What is very alarming though is their growing injury list coupled with the suspensions of Tiago and Diego Godin. Add to that Fernando Torres' offensive struggles...and, well,...it's not looking as straightforward as one would have expected when the tie first got off the mark. Indeed, as it is, Bayer are favoured at -125 soccer odds to advance into the quarterfinals over Atletico Madrid at +100. Needless to say, they do have the win over Atleti in the first leg, but this is just a vehicle to acknowledge that slight edge at online sports betting shops. It's not a real assessment of how this tie will unfold and one has to believe Atleti will fancy their chances at the Calderon.

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Bayer Have Slight Edge
Bayer have the slight edge over Atleti with the win in BayArena a fortnight ago and that is reflected symbolically in the futures betting market where they nudge ahead on -125 soccer odds to advance. As far as the second leg goes, though, they are the distinct underdogs trading at whopping +450 soccer odds to win outright. Even the draw is significantly long shot soccer pick at +280. If that isn't a contradiction in terms, what is?

Bayer are riding the momentum of a five-game winning streak since beating Atleti. By the scoreboard, each and every wins is an impressive win to nil. It would be nice if it were also at the expense of stellar opposition, but it's not. They've built this run on the back of some of Bundesliga's lightweights, such as Freiburg and Paderborn. Something worth noting so as not to overstate its importance. Then again, winning breeds confidence and that's something that cannot be understated.

 

Soccer Betting Verdict 
This tie is delicately poised on a 1-0 score line that could swing either way when all is said and done in the Spanish capital on Tuesday. That alone implies both sides of the coin are reasonable options for your soccer picks. For our money, however, we're going with last year's runners-up. Here's why.

Home edge gives Atleti a real shot to reverse this tie and advance into the quarterfinals. What's more, as brilliant as they've been at home in Champions League action under Diego Simeone's charge, Bayer's away record is unconvincing. In this year's competition, they are only 1-1-1 on their road travels and transcending that poor form at the Vicente Calderon is going to be a tough ask, appropriately matched at +450 soccer odds. Sliced this way, Atleti must be the smart soccer pick at -138 to win and at +100 to advance.

Of course, the upset is ever possible and Bayer are in with a real shot. So if they are your choice soccer pick, you could do no worse than taking a bite of their tempting soccer odds. We're sticking to our guns and banking on Simeone's experience and Atleti's superior quality to Bayer to come through on the day.

Soccer Picks: Atleti to win -138 and advance +100 at Bet365

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