2.5pts Atalanta or Draw and Under 3.5 Goals at 23/20 (bet365)
1pt Atalanta to win at 13/10 (General)
2.5pts Manchester City -1.5 Asian Handicap at 20/23 (bet365)
1pt Raheem Sterling to score anytime at 13/10 (Sky Bet)
I think Atalanta should be favourites to win the first leg. An undermanned Real Madrid side are not the team of yesteryear, while Atalanta are only getting better under Gasperini.
Spanish sides didn’t have the best week last week, and I think that trend will continue here, with ATALANTA TO WIN being my smaller stake bet in this game at a very decent price.
In contrast to the market, I am preferring the look of the unders in this match, given the expected Real Madrid defensive set-up and Atalanta’s more cautious approach.
Under 2.5 goals at 5/4 did interest me, but I have gone into the bet365 bet-builder and found a 2.5pt bet I really like.
ATALANTA OR DRAW and UNDER 3.5 GOALS is priced at 23/20, which I think is a very sensible play. We get Atalanta and the draw onside for extra security, and the price is boosted by the under 3.5, which I think is very likely given everything discussed.
Score Prediction: Atalanta 2-1 Real Madrid (Sky Bet odds 9/1)
Odds correct at 1430 GMT (22/02/21)
While Gladbach do deserve some credit for qualifying out of a group including Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk and Inter Milan, it is worth noting that the only wins they picked up were against the Ukrainians.
In matches against teams I would say are among the best on the continent (RMA and INT), they collected just two points and posted woeful underlying numbers, continually looking vulnerable defensively.
Across those four matches, they created just 1.26 expected goals for (xGF) per game while conceding 2.73 expected goals against (xGA) per game. That doesn’t bode well ahead of this tie.
Manchester City are in sensational form and are posting some outrageous underlying numbers, while in contrast, Gladbach are bang out of form and have struggled defensively against some of Europe's better sides already in this competition.
City to win to nil did interest me, but despite their defensive improvements, Gladbach’s counter-attack is excellent and deserves respect, so I am instead turning to the Asian Handicap.
Pep’s side can be backed at 20/23 with a -1.5 start on bet365, which means that we get a winner if City are victorious by two goals or more. I think that is highly likely in Budapest, so that is my main play.
At a marginally bigger price, RAHEEM STERLING to SCORE ANYTIME appeals.
The Englishman scored the only goal of the game at the weekend and looks to have recaptured his form as a result of City’s attack improving.
He has scored five in his last seven across all competitions and has averaged 0.41 xG per 95 minutes this term, so is getting himself in good scoring positions regularly. I like his chances of adding to his tally here in a game where City could score a fair few.
Score Prediction: Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-3 Manchester City (Sky Bet odds 9/1)
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