Atalanta vs Real MadridUEFA Champions League, KO: 20:00 Feb 24, 2021, Atleti Azzurri d'Italia
SPARKS should fly when swashbuckling Atalanta square up to Real Madrid in this Champions League blockbuster.
The side from Bergamo have been one of the Europe's great entertainers in recent seasons, with goals guaranteed whenever they play, while Zinedine Zidane's side are also easy on the eye.
Atalanta have been averaging over two goals a game and netted 10 in the group stage to qualify from a tough section that included Liverpool and Ajax.
They head into this last-16 tie in great form, losing just once in their last 20 games, and beat Napoli 4-2 at the weekend to make it three domestic spins on the win. That brought a smile to the face of our man Tolu, with all three of his recommended bets trapping.
Real Madrid have also found form after a bad start in Spain, losing just twice in 17 matches, and that has allowed them to close the gap on La Liga leaders Atletico.
But Zidane's side haven't impressed in Europe, needing a win over Monchengladbach on matchday six (below) to guarantee their place in the last 16 after taking just one point from their first two group games.
Real will also be without some of their biggest stars for this one, with skipper Sergio Ramos, star striker Karim Benzema and playmaker Eden Hazard the biggest names on an injury list that stretches to nine players.
How the bookies view it
Real Madrid are rarely outsiders with the bookies but they are a best 21/10 with Unibet here while Atalanta are 11/8 at William Hill while the draw pays 14/5 with SBK. It's a different story to qualify, with Real 13/20 favourites at Paddy Power and the Italians still 11/8 with William Hill. I fancy Atalanta to win this first leg with so many Real stars out.
Atalanta head into the game in pretty good shape, with only defender Hans Hateboer set to miss out, but it's a different story for Real. In addition to his three main men, Zidane is also set to be without Marcelo, Federico Valverde, Rodrygo, Dani Carvajal, Eder Militao and Alvardo Ordiozola.
His side have suffered a staggering 41 different injuries this season and the Bernabeu boss is reportedly losing patience with his medical staff.
Players to watch
Luis Muriel delivered for our man Tolu at the weekend and the Colombian has now netted 17 times this term, including three in his last four. He could get some joy against Real's depleted defence and is 7/5 with TonyBet for anytime scorer.
Benzema is a big miss for Real Madrid after netting a double against Monchengladbach to take Real through to the last 16. In his absence, Vinicius Junior looks their best bet for a goal at 16/5 with TonyBet.
Anything else catch the eye?
Goals should be guaranteed but the odds aren't great with BTTS only good for accas at a best 5/9 with SBK while over 2.5 goals is just 4/6 with the same firm. The odds increase to 29/20 at TonyBet for over 3.5 strikes.
There could be an early goal and McBookie are offering 2/1 on the deadlock being broken inside the first 15 minutes which is worth considering.
William Hill also have some decent requested bets, offering evens on Atalanta winning over one corner each half and the same odds on a header being scored.
This UEFA Champions League match between Atalanta and Real Madrid will be played on Feb 24, 2021 and kick off at 20:00. Check below for our tipsters best Atalanta vs Real Madrid prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.