Atalanta vs. Ajax Odds
|Atalanta Odds||-125 [BET NOW]|
|Ajax Odds||+280 [BET NOW]|
|Draw||+340 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||3.5 (+100/-122) [BET NOW]|
|Time||4 p.m. ET|
|TV||CBS All Access | fuboTV|
Atalanta welcomes Ajax to the Stadio di Bergamo for their Matchday 2 showdown in the Champions League on Tuesday afternoon.
Both clubs have an attacking style, and we should be in store for a supremely entertaining match. I wouldn’t bet on a clean sheet.
Atalanta are probably the most exciting team to watch in Europe. They are not without their flaws, but their matches are always interesting. Manager Gian Piero Gasperini plays an aggressive style, one that leaves Atalanta open to counter attacks while also yielding goals in defense. Sometimes this bites them, like in their two most recent Serie A matches.
A 4-1 loss to Napoli and 3-1 defeat at the hands of Sampdoria came on either side of Atalanta’s 4-0 victory in their first Champions League fixture of the season, which was away to Midtjylland. Being a smaller club in terms of finances comes with its challenges for Atalanta, with the depth of the team being one of them.
Atalanta did add some nice pieces in the transfer window, but not being able to have their best team out there in every game might turn out to be a challenge for Gasperini. It is also very early, and I think they bounce out of this funk.
The loss to Napoli was surprising because Atalanta had their strongest team on the pitch. Napoli manager Gennaro Gattuso had his squad ready and tactically coached circles around Gasperini on the day, which is a very rare occurrence. The Sampdoria match saw Atalanta rotate their squad, giving some of the bigger-name players a rest before Ajax’s visit.
In the Sampdoria loss, the performance improved with substitutions coming on, but it just wasn’t enough. Expected goals (xG) would tell us that Atalanta could have easily gotten a point rather than a 3-1 loss, as they narrowly lost the xG battle, 2.50-2.10. Their 4-0 win in Matchday 1 of the Champions League was impressive from an xG perspective at 2.64-0.83.
Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.
Over five league games, Atalanta’s matches have averaged a total of 3.5 xG between them and their opponents. That figure includes the Napoli match, which I would consider an outlier for them. Gasperini could play it close to the vest to grab a point against Ajax, but I wouldn’t expect that with them being at home.
Ajax are the top dog so far this season in the Eredivisie. They won the championship in 2018-19 and were in line to regain the title before the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Dutch giants have translated some of their domestic success into Europe, having made it to the Champions League semifinals two seasons ago before dramatically getting knocked out by Tottenham.
The club develops talent, sells those players to big clubs across Europe for a huge profit and repeats the process. Case in point would be comparing this team to the team from two years ago that knocked out Real Madrid and Juventus en route to the semifinals. Ajax no longer have Frankie de Jong (Barcelona), Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus), Donny van de Beek (Manchester United) or Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea) from that side.
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All four deals were great business by the club. Now, they have to rebuild, develop more talent and return to competing with Europe’s elite. There’s less star power in this season’s squad, but it is still a really solid side that can compete in the Champions League.
Domestically, Ajax are scoring four goals per game following their 13-0 — yes, 13-0 — drubbing of Venlo in the league over the weekend. Prior to that, Ajax lost, 1-0, against Liverpool last week in their first group-stage match. It was a very even contest that saw Ajax actually best the Reds in xG, 1.35-1.25.
I expect a drastically different kind of game for Ajax against Atalanta compared to their match last week against Liverpool. I think these styles will lead to chances and plenty of excitement. I would side with Atalanta at home but think it will be a close one.
If you have been reading along, you know Atalanta overs are probably my favorite bet to make. Both from an enjoyment perspective, as well as a money making perspective. I can usually get 3.25 to get a half loss if it lands on 3, because that’s basically a minimum for Atalanta games.
While this is 3.5, I still think it’s a great bet. Even if Atalanta don’t have their best day, they have weaknesses defensively and I would be surprised if this stayed below four goals.
The PICK: Over 3.5 goals (-122)