Atalanta vs. Sampdoria Odds & Picks
Last Time Out:
Atalanta handled Napoli 4-2; Sampdoria lost 1-0 to Lazio.
: Sampdoria defeated Atalanta 3-1 on Oct. 24 at Gewiss Stadium in Bergamo, Italy.
About the Matchup:
Put on the coffee and flip on ESPN2 for this early match from Serie A, as Atalanta tries to earn its way back to the Champions League after reaching Europe's greatest tournament for the first time last year. But life as a new power has been anything but simple for Atalanta, as La Dea finds themselves in a real fight for third place behind Inter and AC Milan. A win could move Atalanta into sole possession of third, while a loss could drop it below the cut line for even the Europa League. But grabbing a win here will be anything but easy, as Sampdoria has proven a difficult side to break down at its own ground. Il Doria comes in off a loss to Lazio but has won three of its past four at home and already beat Atalanta at home for the first time. Sampdoria's not going to be afraid in this match because the teams have split their past five meetings, and Il Doria already owns a home win over first-place Inter. Can Atalanta avoid a costly loss against a talented and motivated opponent?
When Atalanta gets rolling, La Dea can be genuinely frightening. There's a reason that Atalanta ranks second only to Inter Milan in Serie A in goals this season, as they've scored 53 goals on the campaign. Napoli learned the hard way just how deadly La Dea could be when Atalanta turned a scoreless match on its head in the second half and erupted for four goals in a span of 27 minutes. Duvan Zapata serves as both the talisman and one of the main scorers for Atalanta. He was instrumental in getting the attack going against Napoli, as it was his goal that kicked off the four-goal outburst. But it's Luis Muriel who means the most to La Dea's attack, as he's scored 12 goals on the year and has a marker in each of the past two Serie A matches. But in the Champions League match against Real Madrid, Atalanta showed that when it can't find room to shoot, things can go south in a hurry. Muriel only managed one shot in that match, and a repeat performance would be disastrous.
Stopping Sampdoria means one thing above all else: finding a way to stop Fabio Quagliarella. The ageless goal scorer has struck for eight goals this season, including the game-winner in a home victory against Fiorentina. Even at 38, he commands attention whenever the ball is in the attacking third, as he still possesses the touch and vision to turn a match at any point. Where Il Doria gets in trouble is with its starts. Falling behind is nothing new for Sampdoria, as it's conceded the first goal in five of its past seven matches. But that could be a significant problem against Atalanta, which possesses one of Serie A's best offenses and is capable of burying teams quickly once it gets its attack going. Avoiding the early mistake will be critical.
Dan's Score Prediction:
When something happens once, it's an event. Twice, it's a coincidence. Three times, it's a pattern. We've got a pattern here where Sampdoria at home is concerned, and it's a 2-1 win for Il Doria. Of the past four matches played at Stadio Luigi Ferraris, three of them have finished as a 2-1 victory for Sampdoria, and given that Sampdoria already won at Atalanta earlier, I think there's a ton of value in a fourth occurrence. I'll take the home side to claim a 2-1 win at +1500.