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Pick: Draw (+230)
Both semi-finals had identical finishes. First, Leon were beaten 2-1 in the first leg of their semi against Tigres UANL before coming storming back with a 2-1 win at home. With a 3-3 aggregate, Leon advanced on account of finishing the regular season with a higher seeding.
The story was not much different in the other semi.
Atlas first beat the Pumas 1-0 on the road but despite being beaten in the second leg by the exact same margin, it didn’t matter as Atlas advanced after finishing second in the regular season.
Based on how both teams approached their semis, it seemed like Leon have significantly better momentum in the final third of the soccer pitch, moving the ball rapidly and transitioning across phases. As a result, it seems unlikely that Atlas can win on the road.
Based on these odds, the draw might not be a bad option considering how these teams might stack up for the first leg of this final.
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This will come as no surprise to Leon after they conceded three goals across two legs of their semi-final. In the regular season, Leon scored 20 goals in 17 matches, which wasn’t too bad. However, their defense was another story altogether.
Leon conceded 14 goals in 17 games, the most by teams that finished in the top three after the regular season. That leaky defense extended into the playoffs, including the semis, where Leon conceded three goals.
Apart from that, Leon will have an opportunity to bring their best in the all-important final. At home, this will be Leon’s chance to ensure that they stay compact defensively, maintain a high defensive line and reduce the total shots that Atlas can get away.
Atlas have had a tremendous season so far in the Liga MX. They finished second in the regular season after winning eight of their 17 matches.
That equates to a win percentage of close to 50 in a competitive league like the Liga MX, commendable by any measure of comparison. Atlas also drew five games and lost four in the regular season.
Atlas’ success was built primarily on an offense that was steady from the outset: the team scored 21 goals. However, their key selling point during the regular season was a solid defensive core that conceded just 10 goals in 17 matches at an average of 0.58 goals per game.
Here is a stunning piece of trivia: both Atlas and regular-season winners Club America scored and conceded the exact same number of goals (21 scored, 10 conceded). Club America, however, won two additional games, which propelled them to the top of the league standings.
Atlas will come into this game with a mindset of staying compact at the back and build from there. It is unlikely to be a high-scoring first leg because Atlas will likely use their central players to control the pace of play.
Leon will have the advantage of going into the second leg with the ability to score away goals, a key characteristic in two-leg knockout games.
Several sportsbooks in the USA also have a market for total goals. A recommendation would be to back the under in such a situation as this could be a low-intensity, strategic first leg that could even finish without a goal.
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|Leon vs Atlas Information|
|Teams||Leon vs Atlas|
|Time||Thursday, December 9, 10:00 PM EST|
|How to watch||Univision networks TUDN and UniMas, ESPN Deportes, Telemundo and Fox Deportes|
With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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