by Zack Lambert (@bigbird8224)
December 15th, 2020
Atalanta B.C. at Juventus F.C.
Spread: Juventus (-0.5); O/U: 2.5
Moneyline: Atalanta +285, Juventus -110, Draw +280
Time/Location: 12:30 ET, Juventus Stadium, Turin, Italy
I’ve spoken about these two teams countless times this season most recently in my Champions League Round of 16 Draw piece and my most recent European Football Power Rankings, so I’m going to be brief with my team analysis.
Atalanta (WLDWW); 9th
Atalanta have landed at 9th in the table this season after the start to the season saw their defending be picked to pieces by a tough opening run of matches, one that gets tougher this week. The Bergamo club are still attacking with vigor and passion and net plenty of goals, but their chances in matches are falling significantly as teams shift towards a more possession based strategy that makes Atalanta work and get out of position. With the rise of clubs like AC, Sassuolo, and Napoli there’s little hope to get back into the Champions League next season.
Juventus (DWWWW); 4th
Juventus also struggled to get the motor started at the beginning of the season after winning the Serie A title yet again. Part of that was attributable to injuries and Covid, Ronaldo and Dybala being notable virus absences for quite a long stretch. However Pirlo has this club, nearly completely healthy, humming right along and in their best form I’ve seen since the 2018/19 season. The club just smashed Barcelona at Camp Nou, Ronaldo is in fantastic form, and the central defense is working very well behind a stellar midfield. If this form continues the title race in Serie A will be all-time great.
Analysis and Pick
Both Atalanta and Juventus closed out their Champions League groups with very impressive performances, Liverpool, Ajax and Barcelona falling in their wake. As I said, both clubs are rounding into form but with plenty of groups to gain in the table there;s no chance either team will take their foot off the accelerator anytime soon. I favor Juventus in this match for three large reasons. The first is that they’re playing in Turin, obviously an advantage to Juve. The other two are Ronaldo and Weston McKennie. The legendary forward is scoring like wild right now and elevating his teammates while McKennie is operating this midfield at its height of efficiency. They’re going to bring Juve the victory here. Take Juventus to win the match.