MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) takes a look at the best bets on offer for the all-Madrid Champions League quarter-final first leg clash from the Vicente Calderon on Tuesday night.
Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid | Tuesday 19.45 | ITV1
It’s the only quarter-final tie that made me groan after seeing the draw. I’m a sucker for a derby but much like the endless Clasicos a few years back, I’m tired of seeing Madrid rivals Atletico and Real going head-to-head this season.
It’s well documented that the capital clubs have faced each other on six occasions already this term and I’m sure you’re already well versed in the stats. Atleti have W4-D2-L0 in those six fixtures against ‘the enemy’ and won all three matches at the Vicente Calderon by an aggregate score of 7-0.
Just two months ago Real’s superstars travelled across town for a La Liga clash and were sent packing with their tail between their legs. Diego Simeone’s hosts hammered Los Blancos 4-0. And the result didn’t flatter the Mattress Makers in the slightest. Atletico have Real’s number and can repeat that same trick on Tuesday night.
Carlo Ancelotti’s visitors are again chalked up as favourites for the trip to the Calderon but unlike their previous journey, the Italian boss has a full squad available. But there’s little other reason to trust Los Blancos to get the job done; include the Champions League final and the European champions have failed to get the better of Atleti in eight derbies over 90 minutes (D4-L4).
Real have proven to be a model of inconsistency of late. There were bright lights in their Clasico defeat and they tore a second-string Granada to shreds but a wobbly first-half at Rayo Vallecano and four defeats in eight on the road has certainly displayed chinks in the armoury of Ancelotti’s men. Three successive victories against bottom-half La Liga sides isn’t enough to convince just yet.
European success is normally the defining line at the Bernabéu and whilst I expect the visitors to progress over two legs, you just can’t shy away from their mediocre record on the road to Spain’s best. Since Ancelotti took the reigns at Real, the club have W1-D3-L5 at top-six finishers in domestic league action.
Throw in Atletico’s superiority against their bitter rivals over the past 12 months and you just have to find a way of siding with the home side. I’ve chosen the Draw No Bet option at even-money from Coral. Should the match end all square, we’ll get our cash back. But if Atletico win, we’ll have banked profit.
The Mattress Makers have won 21 of their last 23 home European encounters, have lost just twice in their previous 21 Champions League outings, kept clean sheets in six of their previous seven Champions League games and arrive at this clash on the back of an eight-game unbeaten streak.
Atleti’s home record against Spain’s elite under Simeone’s stewardship remains rock solid; the hosts have W4-D4-L1 when taking on top-six clubs at the Calderon under the Argentine and like their opponents, the home side can boast an almost fully fit squad with Mario Mandzukic confirmed as starting.
Against Real’s 4-3-3 system, Simeone will pack his midfield and again look to overrun their more illustrious neighbours. And we should expect another lightning quick start full of pace, discipline, pressure and desire from the hosts. An early breakthrough has proven commonplace in these fixtures and Coral are offering 13/10 on Atletico to score Over 0.5 first-half goals on Tuesday night; I’ll have a stab at that.
Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid – Atletico Madrid draw no bet (1/1 Coral)
Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid – Atletico Madrid to score Over 0.5 first-half goals (13/10 Coral)
Bet365 Risk-Free In-Play Offer
Bet365’s marvellous risk free bet offer is back for Tuesday night’s titanic Madrid derby clash from the Vicente Calderon.
Place a pre-match bet on the Atletico-Real match with Bet365 and get a risk-free in-play bet to the same value (up to £50). Sounds pukka, right? It is.