It may not quite be El Classico but the Madrid derby is still a massive game in Spanish football and with the Spanish league poised as it is Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid has huge ramifications for the title.

Supposedly this derby is “such a big deal” because (initially) Real supporters came from the Spanish middle classes while the Atlético supporters were more working class. However, the fact that the years Real dominated La Liga (between 1961 and 1989) only Atlético spoilt their party (winning Liga titles in 1966, 1970, 1973 and 1977) probably has more to do with it today. History and class will mean nothing on Wednesday night when it’s all about the title for Madrid.

Cristiano RonaldoTable stakes

Real Madrid may have slipped up at the weekend only managing a goalless draw with Valencia, (against perceived knowledge) but don’t forget that was still just the third time all season that Real Madrid have dropped points at home.

Madrid are now just four points ahead of Barcelona (who beat Real Zaragoza 4-1 on Saturday) and will be in no mood to let any more points slip. La Liga Primera is a clear two horse race (again) and Real Madrid are currently slight favourites, offered up at 4/7 soccer odds by the books compared to Barcelona at 7/5. Current form, league standing and derby stakes aside this game surely must go Real Madrid’s way.

Barcelona play Getafe on Tuesday night and are 1/12 favourites to take all the points from that match, which means Real Madrid could be just a single point clear of the Catalans come Wednesday's kick-off. I think that will just be more of a spur to Real to dismantle Atlético.

Atlético Madrid are currently seventh in the table on 42 points but could theoretically drop as low as 12th as they are one of four sides on 42 points and have to deal with two sides right behind them, (Athletic Bilbao on 41 points and Rayo Vallecano on 40). Despite the tight pack following the big two, Atlético Madrid are 11/2 to record a top four finish and 25/1 to finish third in La Liga.

The last time the sides met, Real Madrid recorded a 4-1 home victory in which Ronaldo bagged a hat-trick; a repeat of that score is available at 20/1 while Ronaldo is offered up at 6/1 to bag another hat-trick. I'm backing Ronaldo to score as he is poised on 49 goals for this season and a derby game would be the perfect platform to make a round half-century, he’s on 5/2 to open the scoring.

Real Madrid will be expecting to take all three points from this match because despite their current league prowess it has been over 10 years since Atlético Madrid managed a victory over their cross city rivals. The bookies are backing Real Madrid in this one as the away side and table toppers are 4/7 to get three points from this derby while the home side are 5/1 on the soccer betting board to win it. A draw which would push the door a little further open for Barca to steal the league title right from under Los Blancos’ noses is at 3/1.

Reasons to be Real Cheerful

Looking at the last five meetings in all competitions between these two sides a very obvious pattern has emerged Real Madrid have won all five matches and Atlético Madrdi have never scored more than a single solitary goal in recent memory against Real. In fact Real have stopped Atlético scoring on two occasions (in their last five meetings), one of which was at Estadio Vicente Calderón.

In the last five head-to-head meetings between these two sides Real Madrid have scored 12 goals compared to Atlético who have only managed three. That sort of form might well result in Real Madrid winning by a clear two-goal margin (offered up at 15/4) and as Real Madrid have conceded a few goals this season that would point towards a 3-1 victory which is available at 9/1. If you think Real Madrid will keep a clean sheet you get 2-0 at 8/1 or if you think we could be in for a six goal stunner, 4-2 is available at 28/1. It's worth noting that the last two times Real Madrid played Atlético at their grounds that only managed to win by a single goal; 2-1 and 1-0 a repeat of those scores is available at 7/1 and 8/1 respectively.  If you fancy a shock result the shortest odds on a home victory for Atlético is on 1-0, at 16/1.

Soccer Picks: No surprises here, Real Madrid win, and I’m putting my hard earned $$$ on 2-1, available at 7/1.