The Champions League is back with Round of 16 second leg affairs scheduled for Tuesday, March 10 and Wednesday, March 11. One of the two match-ups on Tuesday is La Liga’s Valencia hosting Serie A’s Atalanta. The Italian side holds a commanding 4-1 lead after the first leg. This game will be played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus scare.
Valencia sit in seventh place in La Liga and are currently not in a European competition spot for next season. However, it is a right race as Valencia are just one point behind sixth place Real Sociedad and are only four points from Getafe in the Champions League spots.
Atalanta sit in fourth place in Serie A and hold a three point advantage, plus a game in hand, over fifth place AS Roma. Atalanta should be able to hold off Roma for that final Champions League spot, but it will be a tense final couple months in Italy. The Champions League and Serie A are the only remaining competitions for Atalanta this season.
Below is my pick for the Champions League action between Valencia and Atalanta. All odds are from FanDuel Sportsbook.
Valencia (+180) vs Atalanta (+135) Draw (+280)
Valencia blew a 1-0 lead, on the road to Alaves, to drop a big two points last weekend. Daniel Parejo opened the scoring for the visitors in the 34th minutes, but Edgar Mendez was able to secure a point for the hosts with a goal in the 73rd minute. Valencia are now unbeaten in two straight games after going on five game winless streak. Valencia are the third best home club in Spain having won 30 points, from their 14 home fixtures, and not suffering a single loss.
Atalanta hasn’t played since March 1, due to the scheduling in Italy being rearranged due to the coronavirus, but last time out they did come away with a 7-2 road win over Lecce. The game was tied at the half, but five second half goals for Atalanta sealed the game. Atalanta has now won five straight games, six of their last seven, and are unbeaten in seven straight games. Atalanta is the second best road club in Italy having won 28 points from their 13 road fixtures.
Series History: Atalanta has won both meetings between these two clubs – 4-1 in the Champions League first leg and 2-1 in a club friendly in 2017.
Game Prediction: I am backing Valencia +180 to win, but for Atalanta to advance.
2020 Results: 30-22