La Liga Picks & Betting Tips for Valencia vs. Atletico Madrid

Nila Amerova

Thursday, April 24, 2014 6:31 PM GMT

Atletico Madrid will be looking to advance their lead in the Primera Division table when they descend on Valencia at the weekend. Here’s a primer on this clash along with a preview of several choice soccer-betting markets.

Valencia on Mixed Form
Valencia’s season in La Liga has been a mixed bag of form, oscillating from downright dreadful to passable enough and, on occasion, the absolutely stunning. The sum of it all has Valencia sat pretty in eighth place in the table with a 12-9-13 record and 45 points through 34 laps.

Being inside the top-half of the table is a good place to occupy with just 4 games left on the season; mainly, there’s no threat to their top-flight credentials. But as far as the league’s standard goes, they are an incredible 40 points adrift of Atletico Madrid and almost 10 points behind a European spot.

Valencia’s respectable league position also means that they can approach their upcoming match with Atletico Madrid without the burden of expectation and fear of defeat. They’ve nothing to lose really: they aren’t in danger of dropping out of La Liga nor are they in any battle for a Top 4 finish – the latter of which is the province of Atheltic Bilbao and Sevilla.

It’s also worthwhile noting that Valencia have advanced into the Europa League semi-finals, the first leg of which is set to get underway on Thursday, April 24. If Valencia are to return to European action next season, they can only do so by winning this year’s instalment, which surely means that their tie with Sevilla this week and the reverse home leg next week will take precedence over their weekend affair with Atletico Madrid.

Taking all this into consideration, one has to concede Valencia are appropriately listed as the significant home underdogs at +333 to win outright at the expense of Atleti. Of course, there is an argument to be had for Valencia being fired up for this class: eager to get the measure of the league’s standard and finish the season strongly regardless of whether it counts towards anything meaningful or not. But that would be to underestimate the importance of their European campaign, which incidentally was teetering on the brink of painful death in the last round after the fell behind 3-0 to Basel. Only to be brought back to life at the Mestalla with a historic comeback that propelled them into the semis (5-3 on aggregate) and ignited the imagination of their fans and Europa League enthusiasts.

Take a Look at the La Liga Betting Futures!

Atleti: Being Title Favourites
Being title favourites is newfangled territory for Atletico Madrid. Matched at -120 to win outright, they have the market cornered and with that comes the burden of expectation. It remains to be seen whether the club that has lived in the shadow of Real Madrid almost exclusively this Century can rise to the occasion.

Atleti bestride La Liga with a 27-4-3 record and 85 points. They have a four-point edge over Barcelona and a six-point edge over Real Madrid in the table, which affords them some wiggle room but not enough to take for granted.

Just like Valencia, Atleti are in the thick of European action, through to the semi-finals of Champions League and a match win away from the final and two match wins away from the most prestigious trophy in European club football. The first leg of their tie with Chelsea settled on an indecisive draw at the Calderón, leaving all to do at Stamford Bridge next week. Unquestionably, Diego Simeone will be mindful of the reverse leg in London when making his starting decisions for the Valencia clash.

Few expected Atleti to negotiate campaigns on all fronts quite so admirably. To lead the league and be in the Champions league semi-finals is no mean feat. But they can’t take anything for granted. It’s fascinating how quickly good runs can turn on a dime. Case and point: their Super Cup and Copa del Rey campaigns. In the former they held their own against Barcelona with back-to-back draws over the course of two legs, but painfully lost the trophy by virtue of Barcelona’s away goal in the first leg. In the latter, they reached the penultimate round only to be routed mercilessly by Real Madrid 5-0 on aggregate.

The burden of expectation is therefore firmly on Atleti and this is shaping up to be a pivotal week for their club. The Valencia affair is a must-win if they want to redline their title credentials. As is the Stamford date in midweek action if they hope to reach the ultimate final in club football. Can Atleti answer at the time of asking?  Where La Liga’s pregunta is concerned, sportsbooks seem confident they will as they are listed at -133 to win outright at the Mestalla. The Champions League question however is another matter entirely.

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Soccer Betting Verdict
This is crunch time for Atleti. If they are to be taken seriously they must win this match at Valencia or, at the very least, avoid defeat. These bets are available for your soccer picks at Bet365 with -133 odds matched on the outright win and the Draw or Atleti ‘Double Chance’ bet matched at -450 soccer odds.

This doesn’t mean Valencia will rollover like a welcome mat but one wonders just how much they are going to risk. There’s also the gap in quality and depth between the two clubs, a gap represented dramatically by the table. Still going for the hosts is a solid home record this season, which includes a 5-2-1 mark in their last 8 home games. So if you are inclined towards Valencia and a bit of a shake up late in the season we aren’t going to discourage you, not least when they are set on a tempting price of +333 to win outright. Although equally tempting is the ‘Double Chance’ bet, Valencia or Draw at +110 and hedging margins is always a smart option for your soccer picks.

Soccer Free Picks: Atleti to win outright at -133