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Corner Picks, best soccer bets, predictions, odds: Why Girona could upset Atletico Madrid

The Premier League and I have something in common: neither of us can do anything right in European competition right now. The Leagues Champion, Europa, and Conference resumed this week, and it didn’t go well for the best league in the world. Five Premier League teams played their first legs of a quarterfinal, and only Aston Villa came away with a win. Liverpool lost at home to Atalanta 3-0, which was the most surprising result of them all.

And then there was my performance in the Champions League. I can’t get a pick correct to save my life in the Champions League this season, with no match better serving as an example of my luck than Manchester City’s 3-3 draw with Real Madrid Tuesday.

It was an incredible match filled with plenty of excitement and brilliant goals. The only problem is that I bet the Under 2.5, and the six goals scored came on a combined expected goals (xG) of 1.58.

In other words, I’m thrilled to get back to league play and the weekend-the area where Corner Picks can still get some of them right. 

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Atlético Madrid vs. Girona

Date: Saturday, April 13 | Time: 8 a.m. ET | Watch: ESPN+

This is not a numbers play at all. We’re rolling with our gut and circumstance. The numbers would tell us not to bet against Atletico here because they’ve been much stronger at home all season, while Girona has been ordinary on the road. In fact, Girona have lost four straight and five of six on the road. There’s also the fact that Madrid are in a dogfight with Bilbao for that fourth spot and Champions League qualification in Spain, so have extra motivation.

But Atletico do not have fresh legs. They beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 on Wednesday and now have a quick turnaround to face the third-place team in La Liga. Girona haven’t played since March 31. That’s nearly two full weeks of rest and prep time for Girona, while Atlético had to play in the Champions League. It doesn’t guarantee anything, but it certainly leads me to believe Girona have a better shot of picking up a win here than the line suggests. The Pick: Girona (+280)

Udinese vs. Roma

Date: Sunday, April 14 | Time: 12 p.m. ET | Watch: Paramount+

Roma haven’t received enough respect from oddsmakers lately, but I’m not complaining because I’ve been able to take advantage of it. I hope to do so again. Roma are coming off a surprising 1-0 win over AC Milan in the Europa League, but there’s a reason it wasn’t a huge surprise. The win was Roma’s fourth consecutive clean sheet. Nobody has scored on this team since Brighton did so a month ago. The results aren’t fluky, either, as the xG numbers suggest it’s deserved, and the overall defensive shape Roma have kept in these matches has been solid. Daniele De Rossi has transitioned from defensive midfielder to defensive-minded manager, and the results have been spectacular for Roma.

It’s why I find Roma a solid bet this weekend, even on the road. It’s hard to lose when you don’t allow goals. Udinese are one of seven Serie A teams scrapping to avoid the final two relegation spots, so they have all the motivation in the world, but that motivation has been there for a while, and it hasn’t stopped them from being a mess defensively lately. The Pick: Roma (+120)

Arsenal vs. Aston Villa

Date: Sunday, April 14 | Time: 11:30 a.m. ET | Watch: USA

The irony of Aston Villa being the lone Premier League team to win in Europe this week is that nobody is rooting harder for the rest of the Premier League than Aston Villa and Tottenham right now. The Premier League is fighting Germany’s Bundesliga for a fifth spot in next year’s Champions League, and the spots are awarded based on how the leagues perform in the European competitions. Villa has fallen to fifth in the Premier League, so they really want the Premier League to get that fifth spot.

However, Villa have fallen to fifth because their defense has fallen off a cliff. Starting defensive mid Boubacar Kamara tore his ACL on Feb. 11, and Villa have allowed 17 goals in eight Premier League matches since. It’s a team hit hard with injuries among its defenders, and the injuries have finally caught up. That said, it’s also a team that can still score plenty of goals itself. Arsenal will win this match far more often than they lose, but there should be plenty of goals whatever happens. The Pick: Over 3.5 (+120)

Weekend Parlay

It’s an extremely chalky parlay this week, but sometimes you just need to see the ball go in, you know? It pays +107.

  • Manchester City (-1000)
  • Napoli (-300)
  • Liverpool (-475)
  • Inter Milan (-600)
Record Units

League Play

52-52

+2.44

Champions League

7-13

-10.06

Overall 59-65 -7.62

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