Champions League Soccer Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Atlético Madrid vs. Chelsea, Lazio vs. Bayern Munich (Tuesday, Feb. 23)

Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images. Pictured: Atlético Madrid star Luis Suárez.

Life on the European soccer landscape continues Tuesday, with two Champions League matches taking place in the Round of 16 fixtures.

Spanish powerhouse Atlético Madrid faces Premier League stalwart Chelsea and Italian side Lazio will look for a positive result against defending tournament champion Bayern Munich in these heavyweight confrontations.

Our Action Network soccer analysts have their sights sets on four top plays entering these intriguing meetings.

Let’s take a look at the way they’re going with their featured selections.

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MATCH ANALYST THE PICK
Atlético Madrid vs. Chelsea BJ Cunningham Chelsea — Draw No Bet (-117)
Lazio vs. Bayern Munich Jeremy Pond Total Over 3 Goals (-136)
Atlético Madrid vs. Chelsea Anthony Dabbundo Total Under 2 Goals (-103)
Lazio vs. Bayern Munich Kieran Darcy Total Over 3.5 Goals (+120)

Odds updated as of Monday at 5 p.m. ET and via DraftKings


BJ Cunningham: Chelsea — Draw No Bet (-117)

Atlético Madrid’s fantastic run of form during December and January is starting to come to end.

The club has won just once in its last four matches, picking up a single point in back-to-back games against Levante. Los Colchoneros were anything, but dominant during UCL group play as well, as their only two wins came against Salzburg.

Chelsea is going to be a huge step up in competition for Atlético, which hasn’t faced stiff competition in more than a month. Los Colchoneros are one of the best defensive teams across Europe, but they will be without a key piece on for this contest.

Star center back Jose Gimenez is going to miss the match due to injury. Without him, manager Diego Simeone’s men are likely going to have some difficulty trying to stop the Blues’ high-flying attack.

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Manager Thomas Tuchel has completely revitalized Chesea since taking charge at the end of January. Under his management, the Blues are averaging 1.66 xG per match and conceding just 0.52 xG per outing.

A lot of that has to do with Chelsea switching its formation to a 3-4-2-1, which has allowed the Premier League power to attack right through the middle, while also adapting into different formations based on how the match is going. The Blues are dominating possession under Tuchel and will likely control things in this game since the Spanish juggernaut isn’t concerned about having a majority of possession playing out of its 4-4-2 lineup. 

I have Chelsea projected as a slight favorite that will be at a neutral site in Bucharest, so I like the Blues via a Draw No Bet wager at -121 odds.

[Bet Chelsea at DraftKings and get $250 FREE.]

Jeremy Pond: Lazio vs. Bayern Munich — Total Over 3 Goals (-136)

This might be the most intriguing match among this week’s fixtures.

Lazio, which is sitting in sixth place on the Serie A table, is in its best form of the season at the moment. I Biancocelesti have won eight of their last 10 matches and have gone unbeaten in nine of the their last 11 games overall.

The Italian outfit has also been brilliant on home soil at Stadio Olympico, winning seven consecutive contests entering this affair with the defending tournament champion.

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Bayern Munich enters this Round of 16 affair missing two key standouts. Thomas Müller and Benjamin Pavard are both sidelined after positive COVID-19 tests, which creates some lineup issues for manager Hansi Flick.

Even with Muller out, the Bavarians still have star Robert Lewandowski leading the line on an attack that’s scored at least two goals in 15 of their last 17 UCL matches. That’s just a ridiculous run of consistency for the Bundesliga power.

That said, I expect this to be a high-scoring battle, with both clubs getting after it from the start. There have been three goals in six of Lazio’s last eight games. Add in the fact the total has hit at least three goals in 10 of Bayern Munich’s last 12 matches overall, and I like my chances with this wager.

[Bet Lazio vs. Bayern Munich at DraftKings and get an INSTANT $500 deposit match.]

Anthony Dabbundo: Atlético Madrid vs. Chelsea — Total Under 2 Goals (-103)

Atlético Madrid is notorious for its knockout Champions League performances.

Manager Diego Simeone has a defensive line that’s often bunkered in a low block and difficult to break down. Playing against Chelsea, which will want to have the ball and possess it as much as possible, sets up for a cagey attack-and-defend affair.

Los Colchoneros have conceded two goals in their last 13 UCL knockout home legs. They’ve kept clean sheets in 11 of those games, including games against some of the top teams who went on to win the competition — like Real Madrid — in multiple seasons.

Combine this with Chelsea’s improved defense under manager Thomas Tuchel, and this sets up for a game where Atlético Madrid will not want to allow any away goals. That means Chelsea will be forced to break down an elite defense it has yet to face under its new manager.

The Blues have allowed two xGA in the five matches since Tuchel took over (0.4 xGA per 90), which is the best in the Premier League over that stretch. With the second-best defense in England and the best defense in Spain featured, there shouldn’t be many big scoring chances created in this battle.

[Bet Atlético Madrid vs. Chelsea now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]
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Kieran Darcy: Lazio vs. Bayern Munich — Over 3.5 Goals (+120)

Defending champion Bayern Munich was also the highest scoring team in the group stage, with 18 goals in six matches. And so far in the Bundesliga, the Bavarians have registered 62 goals in 22 matches at a blistering 2.8 per game.

Standout Robert Lewandowski has 26 goals on his own, giving him eight more than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues.

However, Bayern Munich has  been surprisingly mediocre defensively, despite being top of the table in the German top flight. The Bavarians have conceded at least one goal in four of their six group-stage matches, plus they’ve yielded 31 goals in 22 Bundesliga matches, including three to 16th-place Arminia Bielefeld (a 3-3 draw) and two to Eintracht Frankfurt (a 2-1 loss) this past week.

On the other side, Lazio is currently sixth in Serie A, but just two points behind third-place Juventus. The Italian club scored in all six group-stage matches (11 goals in total), and have recorded 38 goals in 23 league matches, including 14 from Ciro Immobile. Only two Serie A players — Cristiano Ronaldo with 18 and Romelu Lukaku at 17 — have more goals.

Simply put, this looks like a game with goals in it. Back the total going over this number at a ripe price.

[Bet Lazio vs. Bayern Munich now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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