Obviously the soccer betting odds are tight for this showdown between these Spanish giants. Atletico is available at +200 to +215, Real Madrid is right around +140, and a draw (which would see Los Blancos advance) is trading in the +250 range.
The Mattress Makers will look to start fresh after a very forgettable week saw them lose in the first leg to Real and then also fall victim to Almeria in La Liga.
The 3-0 loss to Los Blancos obviously hit Atletico's confidence hard, as they looked a shell of their former selves over the weekend. Verza scored two late goals for Almeria and that was that – the Mattress Makers could only muster up one shot on goal and were held without a point.
It was a crushing blow to Atletico in La Liga, as now there's a three-way tie with Barcelona and Real Madrid atop the table. It's hard to imagine either of those two dropping many more points along the way, so the Mattress Makers really couldn't afford to suffer defeat like that.
Obviously they've got a massive hill to climb in the Copa del Rey as well.
The only positive to take here is they've been wonderful at home, where they've still yet to lose in the league. In 12 matches they've won 10 times and drawn twice, while scoring a whopping 38 goals and giving up only seven. Can Diego Costa and company bounce back and dominate Real Madrid?
No Cristiano Ronaldo? No problem for Real Madrid, who still look dominant in a 4-2 away win over Villarreal this past weekend.
Gareth Bale scored early to set the tone for the visitors and Karim Benzema also got on the score-sheet in the first half, only for Villarreal to peg one back right before halftime. Los Blancos didn't let down after the break though, as Benzema got his second and Jese also scored with a neat finish to give Carlo Ancelotti's gang a crucial three points.
With Atletico losing, Real Madrid is now tied atop the table. They certainly deserve their standing though, as they've gone unbeaten in 23 straight matches across all competitions. That's astounding.
Even sweeter, Ronaldo's questionable three-match ban doesn't apply to the cup, so he'll be back in the starting XI on Tuesday.
Los Blancos did just fine without him the other day, but it never huts to get the Ballon d'Or winner back in the mix. We're interested to see if both Ronaldo and Bale will both be in the starting lineup for the return leg.
Copa del Rey Pick
You'd have to like Atletico's chances if they had managed a draw or even a narrow defeat in the first leg, but surely this deficit is too much to overcome.
We can expect some conservative tactical decisions from Carlo Ancelotti here, as he should be content to sit further back and get his defensive shape spot on. On the other hand, the Mattress Makers will have to take chances, and that could leave them exposed on the counter-attack.
When push comes to shove, we think Atletico will fare much better in the second leg at home, but ultimately it should be Los Blancos that book their spot in the cup final for our soccer picks.
Soccer Pick: Atletico Madrid 1 Real Madrid 1
Aggregate: Atletico Madrid 1 Real Madrid 4