Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid Prediction and Tips

Dumitru Palanchuk
Dumitru Palanchuk
14 December 2023, 17:10

Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid Preview

Although not necessarily a derby, the matches between Athletic Bilbao and Atletico Madrid have always been interesting watches, even more so in recent years. The two teams are set to clash next on Saturday, December 16, with the kick-off at San Mames scheduled for 4:15 pm local time.

The two teams have different goals for 2023/24 La Liga: Athletic will fight for European spots while Atletico remain involved in the title race. Thus, a victory over an ambitious rival will go a long way for both teams, a fact to discuss in the Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid prediction.

Athletic Bilbao

Athletic Bilbao are currently placed fifth in La Liga with 29 points after 16 matches, having scored 31 and conceded 19 goals. The Basques finished eighth last term but are aiming for at least UEFA Europa League spots this year around.

In terms of recent form, Ernesto Valverde’s side have three wins and two draws in their last five league matches. Their last match was an uninspiring 1-1 draw with 19th-placed Granada, so Athletic need to regain the best version of themselves before Saturday.

One thing that may benefit the hosts in our Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid tips is them getting a full week of rest ahead of the match. The visitors, meanwhile, have a key UEFA Champions League fixture midweek.

Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid are third in La Liga with 34 points while having one game in hand compared to their title competitors. Diego Simeone’s men have so far registered 32 for and 14 goals against.

The Rojiblancos’ most recent match was a 2-1 home win over last-placed Almeria, while their recent form includes three wins and two draws. The defeats were at the hands of Barcelona and Las Palmas respectively.

Given their recent ups and downs in terms of results and the fact that the Basques are always a solid side when playing at home, the Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid odds are expectedly well balanced.

Betting Tips Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid

Both teams to score? Yes

Our first Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid prediction has to do with the general scenario of the match. In this regard, we expect an open-ended game with both teams ending up on the scoresheet. Bet365 offers 1.75 odds on it happening.

In his early days, Diego Simeone was building a defensive Atletico Madrid side which could withstand any pressure. However, the Argentinian coach has undertaken a different, attack-oriented approach in recent seasons. This could not go without hurting the Rojiblancos’ defensive performances, as they have kept just one clean sheet in the last five La Liga matches.

Athletic Bilbao, with their 31 scored goals, should be able to convert at least one of the scoring chances they are certain to get. At the same time, Ernesto Valverde’s team is not that defensively sound either, with an identical amount of clean sheets in recent games. Thus, we can see a goal on both ends of the pitch.

Over 2.5 goals

Continuing with the same logic, we can envision a high-scoring game at San Mames with at least three goals. The odds on over 2.5 goals stand at 1.90 on Bet365.

As we have mentioned above, the three points will be very valuable for both sides. For Athletic Bilbao, it would mean the chance to distance themselves from sixth-placed Real Sociedad – with 29 points as well – who will play Real Betis this weekend. And for Atletico Madrid, it would mean continuing in third place, as Barcelona will overtake them in case of a victory over Valencia.

For this reason, we expect a lot of scoring opportunities on Saturday, especially towards the end of the match when it makes little sense to defend a potential draw. And to back this prediction up with numbers, there have been at least three goals in three out of the last five matches for both the Basques and the Rojiblancos.

Half Time Result - Draw

We will not go as far in our Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid tips as to predict the outcome of the match, but we do believe that the first half will end in a draw. Bet365 gives 2.10 odds on this line.

Although we predicted an open-ended game above with lots of scoring chances, our expectation is that those chances will come after the break. In the first 45 minutes, though, the two teams will likely be more cautious in their approach instead of going all out.

Both Athletic and Atletico will likely spend the opening minutes of the game fighting for possession, since neither side will be happy with a low-block as their primary tactic going into the game. Once the overall flow of the game stabilises, it may be too late for any goals to follow. 

Or perhaps both teams will score already in the first minutes, which would be quite surprising, but would make this a winning bet as well.

Please remember to always gamble responsibly. Our Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid tips are suggestions, not a call to action. Always rely on your own judgement in the end.