Atalanta v Everton betting: Flimsy defences ensures goals in Italy

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The Toffees will be keen to kick off their Group E campaign with a win, but our tipster thinks that better value lies in backing goals at both ends

Everton face a testing trip to Atalanta in Europa League Group E on Thursday night.

Ronald Koeman's men came through two qualifying rounds - against MFK Ruzomberok and Hajduk Split respectively - to reach the group stages and the Toffees will be determined to maintain their fine form in the competition with a win in Italy; the men from Merseyside can be backed at 2/1 (3.0) with SportPesa to pick up all three points from this clash.

Atalanta were beaten in both of their opening two Serie A fixtures - against Napoli and Roma respectively, but those defeats will not have caused too much concern and Gian Piero Gasperini will have been heartened having seen his side battle back from a goal down to claim a 2-1 win against Sassuolo at the weekend.

Jordan Pickford Everton

The Italians harbour hopes of progressing to the knockout stages of this competition and the Serie A side are rated as a 29/20 (2.45) chance to open their campaign with a vital victory, while the same firm go 9/4 (3.25) that this match ends all square.

Everton kept a clean sheet in each of their opening four fixtures this season, but they have failed to win any of their last four outings; as such, the Toffees will be determined to get back on track here and SportPesa go 9/4 (3.25) that the men from Merseyside keep the hosts at bay.

There have been fewer than three goals scored in each of Everton's four Europa League thus far this term and SportPesa offer 2/3 (1.67) for that trend continues in this clash, while they also quote 5/6 (1.83) that either team fails to find the target.

Everton Atalanta graphic

Koeman will demand a disciplined defensive performance from his side, having seen Everton ship five goals without reply in their last two matches - against Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur respectively - and Atalanta will be keen to expose any defensive frailty exhibited by the visitors.

There is, however, plenty potential for goals when these two teams meet; Wayne Rooney, who won this competition with Manchester United last season, looks likely to lead the line for the Toffees, while Gylfi Sigurdsson, who scored a sensational goal in Split in the previous round of this competition, will relish the prospect of lining up against an Atalanta side that is yet to keep a clean sheet this term.

SportPesa offer 11/10 (2.10) that there are least three goals scored, but backing both teams to score at 10/11 (1.91) may offer punters a path to profit ahead of Thursday's Group E game in Bergamo.

Both teams to score at 10/11 (1.91) for a 1pt stake with SportPesa
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