Saturday, May 21, 2022

Corner Picks: Best bets, odds, predictions for Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid, Liverpool vs. Tottenham, more

Real Madrid’s comeback win against Manchester City in the Champions League semifinal on Wednesday night was remarkable, and a terrific reminder that, while the European Super League was an idea doomed to fail from the start, it had a foundation of reason! Great things happen when great teams face one another, and we’ve seen plenty of examples during this season’s Champions League.

What was somewhat more surprising to me was what happened Thursday. West Ham United were knocked out of the Europa League semifinals by Frankfurt, a team that sits in 11th place in Germany’s Bundesliga and has allowed more goals than it scored. Leicester City were booted from the Europa Conference League semis by Roma, who recovered from a down season last year and have improved as this season has gone along under Jose Mourinho.

In the three major European club competitions (Champions, Europa and Europa Conference Leagues), Liverpool is the only Premier League team to reach the final. Teams from six different leagues have claimed the six spots.

That’s a change from what we’ve seen recently. Since the 2017-18 season, the Premier League has accounted for eight of the 16 spots in the Champions and Europa League finals (the Europa Conference League began this season). Three times we’ve seen finals consisting of two Premier League teams, including last year’s Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester City.

Maybe this season is just a one-off, and the Premier League will return to its recent run of form next year. Or maybe we’re seeing other top clubs from other top leagues restoring some balance. I know I’m hoping it’s the former. I’m also hoping all the following bets are winners after going 2-0 in the Champions League earlier this week. All odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.

Liverpool vs. Tottenham

Date: Saturday, May 7 | Time: 2:45 p.m. ET | Watch: USA

Featured Game | Liverpool vs. Tottenham Hotspur

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There’s a lot of the human element featured in this weekend’s picks. Liverpool are off to the Champions League final after getting past Villarreal in the semifinals, but they had a more difficult time than expected. They’re also a team still fighting tooth and nail with Manchester City for the Premier League title. That’s a Manchester City team now dealing with the heartbreak of again coming up short in the Champions League, but also the benefit of not having other competitions to worry about (don’t forget Liverpool have the FA Cup final coming up too).

When this match kicks off Saturday it will be Liverpool’s 11th match since the start of April, that’s roughly one match every three days or so. Furthermore, Liverpool will be playing Aston Villa on Tuesday with the FA Cup final next weekend. At some point, the stress of all these matches combined with Liverpool’s aggressive pressing style will catch up to them. Saturday, against a Tottenham side that’s inconsistent but well-coached and well-rested (this will be Tottenhemham’s sixth match since the start of April), and not to mention is fighting for a top-four finish, could be that moment. At least, it will be more often than the price we’re getting on Tottenham to get some kind of result suggests. Pick: Tottenham or Draw (+180)

Atlético Madrid vs. Real Madrid

Date: Sunday, May 8 | Time: 3 p.m. ET | Watch: ESPN+

Speaking of Champions League finalists, Real Madrid are in a tricky spot here. El Derbi Madrileño is always a big deal, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see an emotional letdown. Real Madrid pulled off an incredible comeback against Manchester City and have already wrapped up La Liga. In other words, they’ve got some tired players of their own (this will be Real’s 10th match since the start of April) who are on the wrong side of 30 who might need a rest. With the La Liga title clinched, it’s only natural to think we could see Real take their foot off the gas, even if only slightly.

Do you know who will never take their foot off the gas but instead will spike the gas pedal even harder? That’s right, Diego Simeone and Atlético Madrid. Not only is this a chance to take down their greatest rival, but Atlético has far more to play for here. They sit fourth in La Liga, only three points ahead of Real Betis for the final Champions League spot. They can’t afford to rest like Real can, which could be all the difference. Pick: Atlético Madrid (+108)

Leicester City vs. Everton

Date: Sunday, May 8 | Time: 9 a.m. ET | Watch: USA

Featured Game | Leicester City vs. Everton

Powered by Caesars Sportsbook

This is a situation where Leicester City might already be on the golf course or in Dubai while Everton are fighting for their life. With Leicester City knocked out of the Europa Conference League, they have nothing to play for. They’re in 11th place in the Premier League, well out of reach of a European spot, and nowhere close to being in danger of relegation. Meanwhile, Everton could leapfrog both Burnley and Leeds United in the standings with a win.

These teams met a few weeks ago in Leicester and managed a 1-1 draw, but Everton have been much better in their last two matches against Liverpool and Chelsea. They’ve gone into foxhole mode (which is another way I describe a style of play more commonly referred to in a way I can’t use here). Any time you can bet on an underdog with everything to play for against a team with nothing to play for, do it. Pick: Everton (+185)

Weekend Parlay

The later in the season, the harder it is to find a good parlay. The key isn’t just finding value but also finding teams with something to play for. These three clubs all fit the bill, and this parlay pays +164.

  • Lazio (-220)
  • Arsenal (-220)
  • RB Leipzig (-400)

Record

Units

League Play

56-51

+8.14

Champions League

12-17

-5.93

Overall 68-68 +2.21

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