Atletico Madrid take on Chelsea in the Champions League last-16 on Tuesday in an 8pm kick-off at the National Arena in Romania.
Travel restrictions meant the game could not be played at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid, taking even more home advantage away from Atletico.
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Diego Simeone’s side remain marginal 17/10 favourites to win the first leg, though, with the draw 2/1 and a Chelsea win 15/8.
Had this tie been played prior to Thomas Tuchel replacing Frank Lampard as Chelsea manager last month, I’d imagine Atletico would have been much shorter priced favourites.
However, the runaway La Liga leaders’ form has dipped a little in recent weeks, failing to win three of their last four league games, while Chelsea have won five and drawn two of Tuchel’s seven games in charge.
All seven of those matches have seen fewer than four goals scored at either end, with Atletico’s last 10 CL knockout games also falling under this goal line in normal time, so I’m happy to back Under 4 Goals for Both Teams Combined in what could be a cagey game.
Although Atletico have conceded in each of their last seven La Liga games and are without home advantage, I expect them to keep things tight against a Chelsea side who aren’t exactly free-scoring at the moment, so I’ll also back Under 2 Goals for Chelsea.
Indeed, Atleti have only conceded two goals in 12 CL knockout games at home under Simeone, illustrating their resolve in defence in these big ties, albeit without home advantage in this case.
To boost our Bet Builder to an even-money shot, I’ll also back a card for each team and 3+ cards overall. Felix Brych officiates, with the German showing 3+ cards in 30 of his last 32 CL games, while Atleti both received and drew a card in each of their group stage games, with Chelsea doing likewise in four of their six:
Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea Betting Tips & Predictions
Under 4 Goals for Both Teams Combined, Under 2 Goals for Chelsea, Over 0 Cards for Atletico Madrid, Over 0 Cards for Chelsea, Over 2 Cards for Both Teams Combined @ EVS.
Not every bookmakers has priced up player cards at the time of writing, but Stefan Savic and Koke both stand out at 16/5 (Sky Bet).
Savic has been booked 10 times in 20 La Liga starts as well as twice in the CL this season and may struggle with the pace of Timo Werner, while Koke has been booked eight times in 20 league starts.
Cesar Azpilicueta also looks overpriced at 5/1 (Unibet) given he leads Chelsea’s tackles and fouls per game rate in the CL this season and may find himself paying close attention to the tricky Joao Felix.
Whoever starts in midfield for Chelsea will be worth keeping an eye on, too, with N’Golo Kante booked six times in the league this season and Matteo Kovacic and Jorginho both being cautioned twice in the CL.
One boost which I make a good price is Luis Suarez and Timo Werner both to score at 14/1 (Sky Bet).
Suarez has bagged 16 league goals since departing Barcelona for Madrid in the summer but will be desperate to open his continental account for the club, while Werner appears to be back on track to some degree after ending his goal drought against Newcastle.
The German forward already has three goals to his name in this competition this season, too.
Perhaps because the bookmakers are expecting a cagey encounter like myself, there are some decent odds knocking around in the shots on target markets.
Betfair, for example, pay over 7/1 for Mason Mount (13/10) and Marcos Alonso (12/5) to have a shot on target each, which feels quite generous for two players who like a shot from distance and have tested the opposition goalkeeper three times each in their five starts under Tuchel.
You could throw Marcos Llorente (11/8), who has eight league goals to his name this season, in for a tasty 20/1 treble, although Llorente is better priced as a single with Sky Bet at 9/4.
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