Free Soccer Pick: Back Atletico Madrid Over Malaga in La Liga Fixture

Nikki Adams

Thursday, April 9, 2015 7:15 PM GMT

Thursday, Apr. 9, 2015 7:15 PM GMT

Atletico Madrid descend on Malaga in week 31 of La Liga betting, all while both sides look to keep their respective bids for European club competitions alive. Find inside our soccer betting veredct.

Atletico Madrid Picking Up Momentum
Atletico Madrid's hope for back-to-back titles in La Liga is looking like a no-hoper. With just eight games left on the season and a nine-point gap between them and Spanish giants Barcelona, they are matched at +5000 soccer odds on the La Liga futures betting board to pull off the improbable feat. It would take a spectacular collapse by Barcelona (and second-placed Real, who are just four points behind Barcelona) for Atleti to be able to levitate to top spot.

Atleti are third in the table with a 20-5-5 mark and 65 points, which includes a 13-2-1 mark at home and a 7-3-4 record on the road. It's not been a disastrous season, by any stretch of the imagination, but it's not been as great as last year's title winning run. Too many hiccups (both at home and on the road) cost Atleti a second consecutive title in Spanish top flight – five draws and five defeats in 30 laps isn't a terrible record, but in a (mainly) two-horse league it's just too many points to leak when standard-setters Barcelona and Real Madrid rarely put a foot wrong.

That said, all is not lost for Diego Simeone and his boys. They still have something to play for: securing a Champions League spot by season end. In other words, one of the top three spots available in La Liga. A win in this game is going to be vital towards that goal.

As it is, they're most likely to finish third in La Liga. They could give Real a run for second place yet, but they also have to be wary of the tandem of Valencia and Sevilla. Both are neck-and-neck in the table on 61 points and in fourth and fifth place respectively, and keen on giving Atleti a run for their money for a Top 3 finish and a chance at Europe's premier club competition next season. In fact, the pair gave Simeone's boys fits last month after each forced a draw on them (0-0 away to Sevilla and 1-1 at home to Valencia).

In last weekend's round of La Liga betting, Atleti defeated Rayo Vallecano 2-0. It marked their third straight win and a belated return to form since a rough start to March. There's an argument to be had about the quality of opponents they beat: Getafe and Cordoba are bottom feeders in Spanish top-flight while Rayo Vallecano are middleweights. Still, that might not be relevant for their upcoming game against Malaga, who aren't exactly enjoying the finest of campaigns despite a seventh place position in the table. As a matter of fact, soccer odds makers have installed Atleti as the road favourites at -110 to win outright.

For More Action on Atleti Check Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid UCL Free Soccer Pick 

Malaga Home Underdogs
Malaga are currently sat in seventh place with a 13-6-11 record and 45 points. They are five points behind Villarreal and a spot in Europa League action next season, which is still theoretically an achievable objective with eight games left on the season. Realistically, though, current form doesn't back it up and, as such, it appears to be a hope that hangs by a thread.

Malaga did themselves no favours in the last turn around La Liga, failing to capitalise on a straightforward date with Eibar and going down 1-0 on the away. The latest setback marked their third loss in the last five games (both home and away) and a disappointing month in top flight.

Pressure is mounting on Malaga and their bid for a Top 6 finish in the table and a date with the current titleholders Atletico Madrid comes at the worst time possible. It could prove the final nail in their coffin and set them back eight points behind Villlarreal with just seven games left on the season. As it is, odds makers aren't holding out much hope for a home win, setting Malaga as the home underdogs at +300 to win outright on the La Liga odds board.

 

Soccer Betting Verdict
Atletico Madrid may not be the same side that traipsed to the La Liga title last season, but they are still legitimate contenders in Spanish top flight. Therefore, they deserve to be the favourites in this game at -110 to win outright, which is a value soccer pick as well. It's worth noting, Atleti have a tough quarterfinal date with Real Madrid next week when the Champions League resumes. Diego Simeone is going to have to be mindful of that commitment when he makes his starting XI decisions.

That said Malaga haven't impressed this season and, most recently, they appear to be running out of steam down the stretch. This doesn't mean they'll be pushovers, but they'll be hard pressed to thwart Atletico with the kind of form they're enjoying now.

Soccer Picks: Atletico -110

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