Soccer Picks: Zenit St. Petersburg vs. Atletico Madrid

Nila Amerova

Monday, November 25, 2013 7:29 PM GMT

Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 7:29 PM GMT

Zenit St. Petersburg and Atletico Madrid collide in a potentially decisive Group G match. Find out what odds are available across sportsbooks and where are the value soccer picks.

Champions League betting enters match day 5 this week with a whole slew of soccer odds available, covering every aspect of each game. The clash between Zenit St. Petersburg and Atletico Madrid yields a rather curious market to say the least where, at the most elementary level, Zenit is listed at +100 to win outright while Atletico is listed as the significant underdog at +300 to win outright. The draw meanwhile is tipped at +260. 

Zenit’s home advantage goes towards explaining somewhat their favourable soccer odds to win outright, even if those are hovering on evens. But Atletico cast at the significant disadvantage? Soccer odds as high as +300 at Bet365 running on a win? What’s up with that?  Is this a case where it’s just too good to be true and therefore a trap bet? Or is there real value in a Zenit win here for our soccer picks?

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Zenit St. Petersburg eying last 16

Zenit St. Petersburg go into the clash with Atletico Madrid knowing it’s a must-win game if they hope to advance into the last 16. But it’s going to be a tall order as the Group G leaders have been perfect in European competition thus far – only Bayern Munich have been similarly perfect, just to give a sense of the magnitude of the task before them – and the Spanish side will want to maintain that form throughout surely. 

Atletico are already through to the knockout stages. They have a stranglehold on the section having won all four games thus far for a tally of 12 points. Most impressively, they’ve scored 12 goals and allowed just two goals so far, once at home to Zenit and once on the road to FC Porto.

Currently second in the section, Zenit is just a point ahead of their nearest rivals FC Porto but with a better head-to-head record over the Portuguese they will qualify on the back of a victory over Atletico and if FC Porto falters against Austria Wien on the same day.

Zenit St. Petersburg vs. Atletico Madrid betting tips and picks

Atletico Madrid would appear to have the overwhelming “on paper” edge over Zenit so at first glance their +300 soccer odds make little to no sense. Upon closer inspection though – rather careful research – it becomes clear that team decisions already made/ suspected have played a large part in this market.

It’s no secret that Atletico Madrid is assured of first place, which means there isn’t the kind of premium on a win here as in an otherwise desperate situation. Diego Simeone mindful of this favourable reality is expected to rest some of his key players who are after a scintillating 7-0 showing against Getafe in Primera Division and who have to remain fresh for upcoming domestic commitments in order to maintain pressure on Barcelona at the top of the table.

Players that could be rested include Diego Godín, Tiago, Filipe Luis, Diego Costa, David Villa and Arda Turan could all be rested (as indicated by uefa.com)

If any or all of these players are indeed given the night off in freezing St. Petersburg, certainly it will be a watered down side that Zenit takes on, in which case the +100 soccer odds on a home win suddenly make sense and look rather appealing.

Of course, Luciano Spalletti is still adamant he’ll be preparing his side for a tough match regardless of what starting XI Simeone fields that day. He knows they can’t take anything for granted, especially when he has his own roster concerns to contend with as well (Danny is out amongst several others) so his XI will be a tad weaker than normal too. Still this is a must-win game for Zenit if they hope to advance into the knockout stages and one has to assume that such an intangible motivator could prove decisive over a lesser Atletico Madrid side.

Soccer Picks: Zenit to win outright at +100; Under 2.5 at -150

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