The UEFA Champions League round of 16 will see the high-flying attack of Atalanta welcome mighty Real Madrid to Northern Italy on Wednesday for the first leg of what will sure be an explosive tie. Both teams are coming off much-needed victories in league play over the weekend, but focus now shifts towards the continental stage with this intriguing showdown. Atalanta are hoping for another run in the competition after their debut last season, while Los Blancos want to regain their status as a true contender in the competition with an impressive showing. Here's how you can watch the match and what to know:
- Date: Wednesday, Feb. 24
- Time: 3 p.m. ET
- Location: Gewiss Stadium -- Bergamo, Italy
- TV and Live stream: CBS All Access
- Odds: Atalanta +140; Draw +250; Real Madrid +185 (via William Hill Sportsbook)
- Follow along: Live blog
Atalanta: Atalanta's attack has been on fire, as usual, but the defense has conceded multiple goals in four out of their last seven games. That free-flowing attack will result in the opposing team getting chances as a lot of the players get forward, and it will be wise to try and avoid a shootout here, as the away goals rule comes into play. Atalanta will get their chances, but playing three at the back might not be wise here. Expect a central defender or for the outside midfielders to play a bit more reserved.
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Real Madrid: Los Blancos haven't been very convincing in any competition this season, but they are on a good run of results and back in the race in La Liga. But to keep going in the UCL, they are going to need a defense-first mentality against the lethal attack of Atalanta. Rarely do we ever see Real sit back and focus on defense, though we could see that here with the Italian side's ability to get forward. With no Karim Benzema for Real, who is going to apply the pressure in the attacking third to aim to create turnovers and go on the counter? In defense, all eyes will be on Nacho, who must be at the level of Raphael Varane if they have any chance of recording a cleansheet.
A festival of goals sees Real take a slight advantage into the second leg. Pick: Atalanta 2, Real Madrid 2
So who should you back in the UEFA Champions League match between Real Madrid and Atalanta? And where does all the betting value lie? Visit SportsLine now to see this week's best bets for the UEFA Champions League, all from the European soccer insider who's generated over $16,900 for $100 bettors since the 2017-18 season!