Soccer Selections: Best Bets for Chelsea-Man City, Atalanta-Lazio, More

The midweek European soccer schedule features two must-watch top-four showdowns in the English Premier League and Serie A. 

The matchup we’re most familiar with is between Manchester City and Chelsea, two titans of the English game. 

Thursday’s meeting kicks off a grueling week-long stretch for City, as it has a FA Cup quarterfinal Sunday and has to face Liverpool July 2 in a game in which Liverpool could clinch the title. 

Chelsea has more to play for since it sits five points ahead of two teams in the fight for the final UEFA Champions League qualification berth. 

U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Christian Pulisic helped the Blues survive an upset bid from Aston Villa Sunday, but they have to play much better over 90 minutes to pull off the win over the second-place side. 

Twenty-four hours before that showdown, Atalanta and Lazio face off in what could be the best game of the midweek slate. 

Lazio enters with 11 more points than Atalanta, but it has not played yet since the league’s return Saturday. 

On the other hand, fourth-place Atalanta steamrolled Sassuolo Saturday with four goals to add to its league-best 74 tallies. 

If you are looking for an underdog to get behind, Atalanta is it. Not only is it fighting for a top-four position in Italy, it is still alive in the Champions League, which will resume in August. 

In total, there are 25 matches from the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A to take in over the next three days, plus a boatload more from minor European leagues. 

There’s plenty to wager on, and if you do so, use our good friends over at DraftKings Sportsbook.

To the picks!!! 

Joe Tansey

Record: 27-35 (3-4 weekend record) 

Chelsea vs. Manchester City 

Manchester City cruised to a pair of wins over Arsenal and Burnley to round into form for its trip to Stamford Bridge. 

Chelsea’s lackluster first half against Aston Villa has me concerned about its 90-minute approach right now. 

Add in the fact that Man City has been one of the few sides bucking the first-half under trend in the Premier League and you have me sold on which team will put in the best 90-minute showing.

Pick: Manchester City (-127) 

Atalanta vs. Lazio

I went back and forth on this game for a good while.

Lazio has incredible value for a second-place team on a four-game league winning streak at +215, but Atalanta is the deserved favorite since it is playing at home and played once since the resumption of play .

Since I will probably stay indecisive on the money line, I’m going to roll with the over since these are two of the top scoring teams in Italy, and Lazio’s defense may be a bit shaky in its first game back.

Pick: Over 3.5 (+140) 

Barcelona vs. Athletic Bilbao

Last week’s midweek games featured plenty of unders cashing, including Barcelona’s 2-0 win over Leganes. 

Barca is in a tough spot Tuesday, as it faces an Athletic Bilbao team that has conceded the third-fewest goals in La Liga. 

I’m not sure if Athletic Bilbao will hold Barcelona scoreless for the fourth straight meeting, but I think it will take something special to prevent Barca from dropping more points in the title race.

Pick: Under 2.5 (+128) 

Other Picks

Two-Team Parlay: Leicester City and Tottenham (+169)

I’ve had luck with money line parlays recently, so I’m sticking with that strategy for Tuesday’s Premier League games. 

Leicester should play better than it did against Watford Saturday, and it could knock Brighton and Hove Albion down off its high from beating Arsenal fast. 

Spurs play host to 17th-place West Ham, who has lost four of its last five games. Seems like a no-brainer here to pair them with the Foxes to push their value up to plus odds.

Eibar vs. Valencia

I can’t believe Valencia is a plus-money favorite on the road against 17th-place Eibar. 

Either I’m a sucker for taking Valencia at this price, or I’m a genius for hopping on it before it drops. 

Pick: Valencia (+150) 

Real Madrid vs. Mallorca

Prior to falling to Mallorca on October 19, Real Madrid posted 14 goals over three meetings with its Wednesday opponent. That trend reappears and we see an abundance of strikes from the home side. 

Pick: Over 3.5 (-103) 

Torino vs. Udinese

This is traditionally a low-scoring matchup. Six goals have been scored between Torino and Udinese in their last four meetings. 

Pick: Under 2.5 (-143) 

Larry Henry Jr. 

Record: 22-33 (1-6 weekend record)

Chelsea vs. Manchester City

Manchester City is seeking a third straight win at Chelsea.

Pep Guardiola's side rolled past Burnley 5-0 on Monday, pitching a second-consecutive clean sheet in the process. The Citizens have won three-straight in all competitions over the Blues and six of the last seven. 

Chelsea fought back to defeat Aston Villa 2-1 on Sunday with Pulisic sparking a late comeback on the road. Even with the U.S. Men's National Team playmaker back in action, it will be a tough test for the Blues who haven't beat Man City at home since 2017. 

Pick: Manchester City (-127)

Newcastle United vs. Aston Villa 

Sunday's second-half surge in a 3-0 win over Sheffield United moved Newcastle United 11 points clear of the relegation zone. The Magpies last home win over Villa came in the 2017 Championship season, and the teams have tied in four of their last seven head-to-head matchups. 

Villa has only scored once in its first two matches back in action and I find it tough for it to rack up goals on the road in this contest. The pair has also failed to total three or more goals in a game since 2013.

Pick: Tie (+230), Under 2.5 goals (-132).

Atalanta vs. Lazio 

Atalanta sit fourth after Sunday's 4-1 home win over Sassuolo while Wednesday will mark Lazio's first match back in action. 

These are the top-two scoring teams in the league, and they played to a 3-3 draw at the Olimpico back in October. I expect there to be plenty of goals between these two once again. At least four goals have been scored in two of their last four meetings.

Pick: Over 3.5 goals (+140)

Other Picks

Norwich City vs. Everton

Everton held Merseyside rival and league leader Liverpool to its second scoreless draw Sunday. Even though they're winless in their last four matches, I fully expect the Toffees to win by multiple goals.

Pick: Everton (-110)

Hellas Verona vs. Napoli

One point separates these top-eight sides as they meet in Verona Tuesday. Napoli is coming off a Coppa Italia Final win over the weekend and has won nine of the last ten meetings with Hellas Verona in all competitions. I like the road favorites to eclipse the 40-point mark with a win.

Pick: Napoli (-109)

Real Sociedad vs. Celta Vigo 

Real Sociedad's loss to Real Madrid shouldn't sit too long in the stomachs of the players as it tries to bounce back against Celta Vigo. Sociedad is a point out of the final European qualification place and has won three of the last four against Celta Vigo in all competitions. 

Pick: Real Sociedad (+110)

Rapid Wien vs. Red Bull Salzburg (-186)

Jesse Marsch's Red Bull Salzburg squad has stumbled to draws in its last two league matches. Luckily for the visitors, they have won five-consecutive matches in all competitions, including a pair of league victories already this season, against Rapid Wien. I like Salzburg to bounce back and make it six in a row. 

Pick: Red Bull Salzburg (-182)

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