Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid Copa Del Rey Odds, Picks, Predictions (1/26/23)

A rivalry of this stature is always a treat for fans of both teams, and neutral lovers of the game alike. The stakes are only raised, however, when that matchup comes in the quarterfinal of a single-elimination knockout tournament, where a chance at silverware is on the line. Wrap in a legendary venue, Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu stadium, and you’ve got a recipe for a truly electric crosstown derby. Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks for this very special edition of the Madrid derby.

Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid United Odds

Real are decently favored to win in regulation, with their odds set at -120. The number is +300 for visiting Atletico, while a 90-minute draw is set at +245. When it comes to goalscoring, a line of 2.5 goals provides pretty even odds for over, at -110, and under at -120.

Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid Prediction & Pick

With Real sitting in second place, three points behind Barcelona in the league, and Atletico clinging onto the fourth UCL spot in Spain, both teams are in the middle of a crucial period of their season. As this match does not affect their league standing, it will be crucial for the players to lock in and focus on the challenge at hand; moving a step closer to the one trophy that has eluded Real since 2014, and Atletico since the year before.

While it’s been a pretty good season so far for Madrid- despite sitting in second place, they have just two draws and two ties thus far in the league- their defense might be worth worrying about. It’s a talented group and the 16 goals allowed in 17 matches (fourth-fewest in the league) isn’t a bad figure, they’ve been somewhat allergic to clean sheets. In those 17 outings, only 4 times have los blancos held their opponents scoreless, and when they have, the opponent’s haven’t really been the best in Spain, to say the least. The trend carries over to the Champions League, to a degree, as Celtics and Leipzig each scored in one of their matches against Madrid (Leipzig even took a 3-2 win) and Shakhtar Donetsk found the net in both fixtures. Against a team like Atletico who are content to sit back after finding a goal, that clean sheet might be imperative this time out.

On the other side of town, Atleti have really struggled this year. Their defense has been fine but not as excellent as it’s been in years past- they have the same goals-allowed figure as the inconsistent Real group- and the attack seems to have regressed. Loaning star youngster João Félix to Chelsea is not likely to remedy the latter issue. It’ll be interesting to see how los colchoneros adjust without their creative rising star, following a departure that is just as likely to become permanent as it is to end upon the conclusion of this season.

The moneyline isn’t that tough of a call for me, nearly even is pretty outrageous value for a much better team playing at home; the concerns over Carlo Ancelotti’s defending European Champions are overblown, as they’re magnified by the razor-thin margins that will define the La Liga race. Sure, they might lose that race, but they’re miles clear of their neighbors to the very-near East; I absolutely love the wager of Real -120 in this matchup. The total is a bit tougher, but I’d lean towards under 2.5 for -120. While Real do lead La Liga in goals scored, outside of Antoine Griezmann’s continued individual excellence (and that of the departed Félix) the Atletico attack has not really been close what we’d imagine their best to be, and I’m just not sure they get on the board at all.

Key Matchups

The Midfield Battle

I think this just about says it all when it comes to the level and depth of Real’s midfield; in their last league match, Ancelotti was missing the excellent but injured Aurélien Tchouaméni, gave most of the day off to club and World legends Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, and was still able to field a World-class midfield three. At the literal and metaphorical center of this group was Tchouaméni’s fellow French youngster, Eduardo Camavinga, who has largely been in pretty solid form this season. He was joined by the versatile Uruguayan Federico Valverde, one of the best in all of La Liga and indeed the World this year; truly, the biggest club in the World are set for the foreseeable future with their outrageous wealth of young talent (please don’t take Jude Bellingham). The two were joined by Dani Ceballos, who has mostly been fine for Madrid, but is fairly likely to cede playing time to one of the veterans in this clash.

Atletico’s midfield might not have the star power of their more-wealthy neighbors, but there’s actually quite a bit of depth for Simeone to draw from. Axel Witsel, of all people, is actually second amongst outfield players in league minutes played, but many have been at centre-back. Marcos Llorente has played the most of those you might consider to be in a more conventional midfield role, followed closely by Geoffrey Kondogbia, and Atleti veteran Koke. Rodrigo De Paul hasn’t quite been a superstar this year, but he’s perhaps the biggest name in the team’s midfield, and I haven’t even touched on veteran mainstays such as Yannick Carrasco, Thomas Lemar, and Saúl Ñiguez. The bottom line is that there are a number of options for Atletico in this part of the pitch; they’ll have to choose wisely and rotate appropriately to remain competitive with Real’s superstar group.

Real Madrid Attack vs. Atletico Madrid Defense

Would it really be a Madrid Derby if I didn’t talk a bit about Diego Simeone’s Atletico defense? They’ve not been their best selves this year, but it’s easier to imagine a colchoneros victory with a score of 1-0 than 3-2; defending will be pivotal to their success in this match. As I’ve already mentioned, Witsel has put in a ton of time as a centre back, where he has been joined by Stefan Savic more than anyone else, although it was most recently Mario Hermoso in that spot in the 3-0 win over Real Valladolid, so we’ll see who’s penciled into the XI when matchday comes. At right back is the Argentine Nahuel Molina, who has been putting together a real breakout season after coming over from Udinese. Across from him is likely to be Reinildo, who has led the team in minutes played and frankly doing an outstanding job after his transfer from Lille. Loanee Sergio Reguilón could also factor in at that spot if Reinildo plays more centrally, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Another uncertainty would be the form of Real’s attack, which was so potent a year ago on the shoulders of Karim Benzema’s Ballon D’Or-winning performances. The polarizing Frenchman has been solid this year, he has a ridiculous average FotMob rating of 8.22 and leads the team with 9 league goals this far. That’s a respectable total, but nothing close to his 2021-22 pace, and pretty padded by penalty kicks (3). Vinicius Jr. at left wing has arguably been the team’s best attacker; he leads the team in goal contributions across all competitions with 11 goals and 5 assists, all without shooting a single penalty. The Brazilian star has been one of the most consistently positive Madrid players this year, and could be a key in attacking the Atleti fullbacks. On the other side, UCL comeback hero Rodrygo is putting up a very nice campaign at right wing, although Marco Asensio is a factor at that position; he could start if Ancelotti wants to hold Rodrygo up his sleeve, or Asensio himself could come off of the bench. Regardless, this attack can become lethal at any moment; Atleti will need a strong, full 90 minute performance to keep them in check.

From starting my own blog in Middle School, to working on a friend’s in college, and finally joining the Lineups team this year, I’ve been writing about sports for over a decade and betting on them as long as I’ve been legally able. I graduated from the University of Michigan last year, where I took sports journalism classes alongside my business major. Having played and watched sports for almost my whole life, I aim to provide insight and entertainment, as well as profitable picks, in my writing about professional and collegiate leagues.

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