When you sign-up through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more >

Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid: Expect a Tight Game at San Mames

Written by: Greg Lea
Updated October 14, 2022
13 min read
  • Athletic Bilbao have made a fantastic start to the season and sit third in the table
  • Atletico Madrid have won two games on the bounce to climb into the top four
  • Two of La Liga’s tightest defenses meet on Saturday, so goals could be few

Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid Odds

The odds for Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid are taken from the Caesars sportsbook. Sign up today and you can get up to $1,250 in free bets.

First Half Result Odds
Athletic Bilbao +215
Tie -104
Atletico Madrid +235

Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid Pick

The Basque side have been quick starters so far this season and Atletico Madrid might have to come from behind to pick up a positive result here.

Back Athletic Bilbao to win the first half.

🔥 Claimed by 34 people this week!



$1,000 First Bet on Caesars

21+ | T&Cs Apply. Gambling problem? Call or text 1-800-GAMBLER.

To learn more about how to bet on soccer, have a read through our guide on that very topic.

Athletic Bilbao Vs Atletico Madrid Nico Williams

Strong Start to Season Leaves Athletic Bilbao Targeting Europe

Athletic Bilbao missed out on qualification for the continental competition last season. Their eighth-place finish was not enough to secure a spot in the Europa League or the Europa Conference League, with a return of just one win in their last four matches ultimately proving costly.

Yet perhaps missing out on Europe has helped Athletic this term. The group stage in each of the three European tournaments has been squeezed into an eight-week period to make space for the 2022 World Cup. Many of Athletic’s rivals have therefore been contesting two fixtures per week as standard. The Basques, conversely, have been free to focus on La Liga assignments, with not even as much as a Copa del Rey tie to distract them.

Ernesto Valverde’s side have turned that situation to their advantage. The former Barcelona boss is back for a third spell in charge at San Mames, having qualified Athletic for Europe in each of his four seasons at the helm between 2013 and 2017.

The club’s Basque-only recruitment policy means Valverde was not able to sign a glut of players over the summer; the only arrivals were Gorka Guruzeta and Ander Herrera on loan from Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain. But Valverde has done some fine coaching work with the players that were already on Athletic’s books.

His team is hard to beat, with only one defeat to their name so far. Crucially, Athletic are more of a force away from home after winning just four of their 19 fixtures away from San Mames under Marcelino last season.

Atletico Madrid Still Hopeful of Closing Gap to Top of the Table

Atletico Madrid are almost in a band of one in La Liga these days. Invariably the third-favorites to win the title at the start of each season, Diego Simeone’s side usually find themselves a distance behind Real Madrid and Barcelona in the judgment of the best online sportsbooks.

Yet there is also a gap between Atletico, the title dark horses, and the group of rank outsiders that features the likes of Sevilla, Real Betis, and Real Sociedad.

More than anything, this reflects the distribution of revenue in Spain’s top flight. According to the 2022 edition of the Deloitte Money League, Real Madrid earned €640.7m in 2020/21 (the period covered by the report), behind only Premier League champions Manchester City in Europe. Barcelona ranked fourth on the continent with €582.1m. There was then a substantial drop to Atletico on €332.8m, and then another to Sevilla on €199.5m.

Simeone’s side have upset the apple cart on occasion, but they have not been able to obliterate it. Title triumphs in 2014 and 2021 relied in part on Madrid and Barcelona operating below full capacity, and the early signs this season suggest the big two are not about to slip up. With 22 points apiece from a possible 24, the Clasico rivals have enjoyed excellent starts to the campaign.

Yet Atletico are not quite out of the race just yet. At least one of Madrid or Barcelona will drop points when they go head-to-head this weekend. In a best-case scenario, Atletico could end the gameweek just four points adrift of the top spot.

The Colchoneros have particularly impressed away from home this term, taking 10 points from 12 on their travels. That bodes well for Saturday’s trip to the San Mames, where a fierce atmosphere is guaranteed.

Unlikely to Be Much to Choose Between These Two Teams

One thing that has been notable about Athletic so far this season is their ability to start games quickly. They have led at half-time in a majority of their La Liga matches to date and even scored four times before the interval in a 4-1 thrashing of Elche last month.

Valverde has demanded fast starts and his players have responded with 11 goals in the first halves – which is more than 12 teams in the division have managed overall.

In the bigger games, in particular, Atletico can take a bit longer to get going. Simeone’s priority in this sort of match is to keep things tight at the back, before gradually starting to push forward as time goes on. That is especially the case away from home, and it is a strategy we will probably see in Bilbao on Saturday.

Atletico may well avoid defeat at San Mames, and the quality within their side means an away win is a definite possibility. In terms of betting, though, we recommend focusing on the first half and backing Athletic to make another fast start. Go for the home team to win the opening 45 minutes in this one.

🔥 Claimed by 33 people this week!



Bet $5, Get $150 in Bonus Bets Instantly

21+ | T&Cs apply

How to Watch Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid

Teams Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid
Location San Mames, Bilbao, Spain
Time Saturday, 15 October 2022, 15.00 PM EST
How to watch ESPN+
21+ | T&Cs Apply. Gambling problem? Call or text 1-800-GAMBLER.
Claim Now
Image for Greg Lea


Greg Lea

786 Articles

Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]

More info on Greg Lea
We've been featured on:
espn logo
reuters logo
cbs-news logo
forbes logo
entrepreneur logo
entrepreneur logo
We only list licensed sportsbooks

© Rebel Penguin ApS 2024 (a subsidiary of Gaming Innovation Group Inc.)

We support responsible gambling. 21+ Only. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-Gambler.

WSN.com is run by iGaming Cloud Inc (a Gaming Innovation Group Subsidiary) and is registered with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) under affiliate vendor ID 89744, with the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) under certificate of registration number SWR-000148, approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board as a gaming service provider, under certificate registration number 117656-1, possesses a Vendor Minor sports betting license from the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (account number 94414163), granted a vendor registration number VR007603-20-001 by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, an interim Sports Wagering Supplier license, under license number SWS 066, issued by the West Virginia Lottery Commission, a sports betting vendor registration, under registration number #100400, issued by the Director of Gaming Licensing and Investigations of the Virginia Lottery to operate in the State of Virginia, and a Vendor Registration issued by the Sports Wagering Committee of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation.

Advertising disclosure: WSN contains links to online retailers on its website. When people click on our affiliate links and make purchases, WSN earns a commission from our partners, including ESPN and various sportsbooks.