Unbeaten Atletico Madrid host Villarreal this Saturday, who – despite what the odds suggest – are in good form. Villarreal will rely on Cedric Bakambu for goals, while Atletico will look to maintain their strong defensive record. So where is the value in the Atletico Madrid vs. Villarreal odds? Read on for our expert Atletico Madrid vs. Villarreal betting preview.
Live Atletico Madrid vs. Villarreal odds
Atletico Madrid vs. Villarreal betting: Another close matchup
La Liga’s strength in depth has often been questioned. This season, however, Spanish soccer is looking as competitive as ever. Indeed, with only nine points separating the top eight sides – and just five separating second and eighth place – bettors should be used to witnessing close matchups every week.
Recently, Atletico Madrid held Barcelona to a 1-1 draw at the Wanda Metropolitano (Barca’s first dropped points of the season) and it’s that stadium which also hosts this weekend’s standout clash in La Liga. Villarreal are the visitors on this occasion, a side three points off Atletico in sixth – and a side in very good form.
A month ago, Javier Calleja’s team fell to a humiliating 4-0 defeat at Getafe. Since then, though, Villarreal have won three league games in a row, scoring nine times in the process. Atletico, for their part, are still unbeaten in La Liga and sit fourth, setting up a promising encounter this Saturday.
Atletico Madrid vs. Villarreal odds: A surprising head to head
Interestingly, Atletico Madrid’s Money Line odds don’t actually suggest a competitive encounter. Diego Simeone’s men are heavy favourites and few could argue against them in a home match. Even when they faced Barcelona – at the time boasting a 100 per cent record – the odds were exceptionally close.
With only nine points separating the top eight sides – and just five separating second and eighth place – bettors should be used to witnessing close La Liga matchups every week.
On this occasion, however, Atletico’s huge favouritism comes in spite of a poor recent head-to-head record against Villarreal. Indeed, in their last six La Liga meetings Atletico Madrid have only beaten Villarreal once. That solitary victory also came away from home, with Villarreal winning two of their last three trips to Atletico and drawing the other.
Most recently, Villarreal did the double against the Madrid side in the league. That included a 3-0 win against Atletico at home and a 1-0 away triumph. Given that Villarreal finished fifth last term – an impressive result but still 11 points short of Atletico Madrid’s tally – their ability to take maximum points from Simeone’s side must be appreciated.
Atletico Madrid vs. Villarreal betting: The Bakambu threat
If Villarreal are to maintain their positive record at Atletico (who will be playing their fourth league game at their new stadium), Cedric Bakambu will likely be central to their success. The Congolese forward has scored six times in his last three La Liga games and is Villarreal’s top scorer with eight league goals.
By comparison, his highest-scoring team-mate is Carlos Bacca (two in La Liga), while Atletico Madrid’s top scorer is Yannick Carrasco (three league goals). At 26 years of age, Bakambu may well be hitting his prime – and Atletico will have a difficult job on their hands trying to keep the forward quiet.
Yet Bakambu himself will be facing a stern test in terms of opposition. Atletico, renowned for their defensive strength, have only conceded five La Liga goals this campaign. If anyone can isolate Bakambu and starve him of service, it is Simeone’s back line.
Atletico Madrid vs. Villarreal odds: Where is the value?
With both sides coming off the back of victories, there’s everything to play for at the top end of the table. Going into this fixture, Atletico Madrid and Villarreal will also benefit from a lack of midweek European football. All the ingredients are therefore in place for another high-quality La Liga clash.
In the search for value, though, bettors may not be tempted by Atletico Madrid’s Money Line odds. Simeone’s team are still unbeaten in La Liga and, on paper, by far the best side Villarreal have faced so far. But confidence in the home side is better rewarded by their -1 Handicap odds of 1.900*.
- Find out about Handicap soccer betting.
Bettors leaning towards Villarreal will be rewarded with long Money Line odds and a price of 2.040* at a +1 Handicap. A draw, meanwhile, is a very realistic option, with Atletico Madrid drawing a high percentage of games during their unbeaten run (four out of their nine matches). Learning how to predict draws in soccer will be of benefit to bettors considering this option.
Cedric Bakambu has scored six goals in his last three league games and is Villarreal’s top scorer with eight in La Liga.
A final factor to examine is the strength of Atletico’s home form (two wins and one draw that Barcelona had to work very hard for) and the fact Villarreal have lost three of their five away games in La Liga.
For those looking away from the money line, under 2.5 goals is a slightly shorter price in the Over/Under market at 1.909*, compared to over 2.5 at 2.010*. Seven of Villarreal’s nine La Liga games have seen three goals or more – but only three of Atletico’s league matches have seen a total of more than two.