Atlético Madrid vs. Porto Odds, Picks, Prediction: Are Atleti on Upset Watch in Champions League Clash? (Sept. 15)

Joan Valls/Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images. Pictured: Antoine Griezmann

Atlético Madrid vs. Porto Odds

Atlético Madrid Odds -160
Porto Odds +550
Draw +270
Over/Under 2.5 (+115 / -140)
Day | Time Wednesday | 3 p.m. ET
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Two of the traditionally excellent defensive teams in Europe were paired up in the same group of the 2021-22 Champions League with Atlético Madrid and Porto. From top to bottom, Group B is the toughest because of Porto and AC Milan’s strength as underdogs, and there’s no easy win on the calendar.

The group strength puts points at a premium in Group B, especially for a Porto team that will be underdogs in the majority of the games, especially away from home as they are on Wednesday.

Both sides qualified out of much easier groups last season, with Atlético Madrid losing in the Round of 16 to Chelsea and Porto upsetting Juventus at the same stage before also bowing out to the Blues in the quarterfinal.

My projections show Atlético to be overvalued and with this being a low event goal and a pretty low total, I’m happy to grab the goal insurance with some extra juice and back Porto’s stingy defense to make it difficult for an overrated Atlético side to break them down.

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Same Ol’ Atlético Madrid? Not So Fast

Atlético Madrid have become a Champions League staple under manager Diego Simeone, coming within minutes of winning the competition on multiple occasions in the last decade.

They’re a notoriously good tournament team because of their sturdy defending, excellent counterattacking and set piece prowess. They won La Liga last season despite having the fourth best xG difference because of the excellent goalkeeping of Jan Oblak at one end and the red hot finishing streak of Luis Suarez at the other end.

Suarez now has Antoine Griezmann, one of the architects of the team’s greatness over the last decade, to join him up top. But everywhere else on the pitch, Atlético isn’t quite as talented as years past. Their numbers in La Liga remain underwhelming and they’ve already rescued a win and a draw in league play after the 90th minute this season.

Simeone’s side was fortunate to even advance out of their group last season after being outplayed by RB Salzburg over the course of six matches. Bayern Munich thrashed Atlético; Salzburg outplayed them overall, and, yet failed to win either match.

Regression eventually caught up with Simeone’s men in the Round of 16 when Chelsea beat them 3-0 on aggregate. Forcing Atlético to have the ball and create for themselves against a low block is a good way to frustrate them offensively.

Suarez’s underlying production numbers are in decline and there’s not enough shots in this team to break down a good defensive low block, which Porto will be playing in Madrid.

Porto: The Other Iberian Defensive Powerhouse

Porto was an underrated team in last year’s Champions League, easily advancing in second place in their group behind Manchester City before upsetting Juventus and losing to Chelsea in a tie that was closer than the final scoreline suggests. Like Atletico, Porto is an underrated tournament team because of its defensive solidity and counterattacking ability.

Porto smashed Marseille in both meetings in performance and result. They lost twice badly to City on expected goals, but so did everyone else. Manager Sérgio Conceição sits in his deep 4-4-2 with longtime Portuguese center back Pepe organizing the back and an underrated group of attackers sitting deep.

Most of the attack runs through Iranian striker Mehdi Taremi, who scored 16 and assisted 11 in the Portugal top flight in 2020-21. Sergio Olivieria has had limited minutes for them this season in the domestic league, but he scored five goals in the competition last season.

Porto has a pair of attackers in Toni Martinez and Luis Diaz that have had excellent starts to the Portuguese Primeira Liga.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

My projections have Atlético Madrid money line at -135, so I still show value on betting against them even since the market has moved down from Atlético -190 at the open to -160 at the current number. With that being said, I wouldn’t go any lower than the current number. Atlético Madrid might win this game, but they’re unlikely to get any margin against an underrated Porto defense.

Porto will be playing for the point away from home and thus is unlikely to take a lot of risk to chase a potential winning game away from home. If they want to advance, it starts with stealing an upset win and grabbing as many draws as possible away from home.

They’ve shown they can frustrate much better attacking teams than Atlético Madrid as recently as last season, and I think they’ll be able to cope with all of their opponent’s crossing and direct attacks into their penalty area.

Pick: Porto +1 (-135 or better)

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