Atalanta vs ValenciaUEFA Champions League, KO: 20:00 Feb 19, 2020, San Siro
FOLLOWING a fairy tale 2018/19 season that culminated in a third-place finish in Serie A, Atalanta will make history on Wednesday night when they make their first-ever appearance in the knockout-phase of the Champions League when hosting Valencia.
Both of these sides defied the odds to reach the last-16 of Europe's elite club competition and both will firmly believe that they can go one better and qualify for the quarter-final stage.
Atalanta, after losing all three of their opening group-stage games, looked set for a swift exit from the tournament, however, the Bergamo club went on to collect seven points in their final three Group C matches and in doing so squeezed Shakhtar Donetsk out of second-place.
Domestically, Gian Piero Gasperini's side continue to be Serie A's great entertainers and Saturday's 2-1 win over Roma could go a long way to seeing Atalanta return to Europe's top table next term.
Valencia, unlike Atalanta, are regulars in the Champions and twice came close to conquering the continent at the turn of the century, however, this season marks Los Ches' first appearance in the knockout-stage since 2013.
Alebert Celades side currently lie 7th in La Liga, just four points behind third-placed Sevilla and the men from the Mestalla showed their mettle in the group-stage when winning away at both Chelsea and Ajax.
The Betting Odds
Atalanta, despite being in unfamiliar territory, are odds-on favourites at 5/6 with SportNation to take a first-leg lead to southern Spain.
Valencia racked up seven of their 11 Group H points on the road, however, the visitors are an unfancied 7/2 with UniBet to leave the San Siro victorious, while a share of the spoils pays 11/4 with the same firm.
The Betting Angles
Atalanta have quickly become one of Europe's most lauded teams and the attack-minded La Dea have lit up Serie A yet again this season by smashing in 63 goals in 24 outings – an awesome average of 2.6 goals per game.
Gasperini's goal-getters have triumphed in seven of their last 11 Italian top-flight tussles, a sequence of results that includes 5-0 wins over AC Milan and Parma, as well as a 7-0 success away at Torino.
However, Atalanta's all out attacking style of play can often see them left them exposed at the back and Valencia could have the tools to capitalize on the hosts defensive vulnerability by pinching what could be a priceless away goal.
The Spanish outfit hit the back of the net in their three group-stage games outside of Spain and they have recently racked up four La Liga points against Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, scoring twice in both respective fixtures.
With that in mind, backing both teams to score on Wednesday night takes appeal at 3/4 with SportingBet – a bet that would have banked profit in six of Atalanta's last seven matches across all competitions.
Value could also lie in the 3/4 (SportingBet) on offer for over 2.5 match goals to be scored at the San Siro given that 12 of Atalanta's last 13 matches have seen three or more goals scored, not to mention it's a betting angle that has clicked in Valencia's last three matches.
In conjunction with that, I'm also attracted to the 11/10 that can be obtained by utilising Bet 365's Bet Builder feature to combine both teams to score and over 2.5 match goals.
Valencia are set to be without their two first-choice centre-backs and that adds further appeal to backing the aforementioned combination in what should be typically enthralling encounter involving free-scoring Atalanta.
This UEFA Champions League match between Atalanta and Valencia will be played on Feb 19, 2020 and kick off at 20:00. Check below for our tipsters best Atalanta vs Valencia prediction.