Real Madrid will be playing without one of their main defensive maestros, Sergio Ramos, when they battle against Athletic Bilbao this Wednesday in a mid-week La Liga encounter that will surely thrill soccer betting fans. According to the Club, Ramos was eager to make his return for trip to San Mamés after he dislocated his left shoulder against Shakhtar last week in the Champions League, but ahead of the Athletic meeting, the team confirmed that he would not be available, as he if not fully healthy.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) September 23, 2015
Without Ramos manning things at the back, we are therefore likely to see Varane and Pepe at central defense, as Marcelo and Carvajal taking care of things in left back and right back. Can Bilbao’s talented offense take advantage of Ramos’ absence to terrorize Madrid at the back, or will the Rafa Benitez’s unit hold out tight to give the Los Blancos a winning chance? Let’s find out, as we take a look at the game preview and soccer betting preview of this clash.
Athletic Bilbao vs. Real Madrid Soccer Betting Odds Tips and Analysis
Venue: San Mames Stadium, Bilbao
Date: Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Time: 8:00 BST, 3:00 PM EST, 20:00 GMT
TV: Sky Sports 2 HD, BeIN Sports Connect (USA), Sky Sports 4 (UK)
Game Betting Odds: Athletic Bilbao win: 43/10, Draw: 13/4, Real Madrid win: 8/1
Despite getting off to a winning start in their Europa League campaign last week, Bilbao have had a rough start in the La Liga, suffering three defeats in four games they’ve played so far. This Spanish Liga Round 5 matchup will thus be a crucial chance forErnesto Valverde’s side to right their ship before it sinks beyond the realms of no-redemption.
Having stunned Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup, there’s certainly sufficient talent and sound tactfulness in the Bilbao team to stick it out against the Madristas. Still, coming off a crashing 3-1 defeat at Villarreal on 20 September to slump to 13th in the La Liga standings, Athletic will importantly need to press the reset button and come into this game ready to give their all against the Real Madrid outfit that is yet to lose a game this season.
With Athletic’s Inaki Williams, Eneko Boveda and Iker Muniain all sidelined for this clash, the onus will be on the likes of midfielder Ander Iturraspe (who is returning from injury), Aritz Aduriz and Ager Aketxe to come up big for the hosts this Wednesday.
On the opposite end, coach Benitez and his Los Blancos team are clearly aware of the task at hand and what needs to be done. Benitez, in his time in charge of Napoli, suffered a heartbreaking defeat at the Athletic Bilbao stadium, sending his Napoli team crashing out of the Champions League and into the Europa League. This game will thus be a big chance for him and his new Real Madrid team to right the wrongs from that forgetful night in the 2014/15 season.
Fortunately for Benitez, his current Madrid team is way much better than the Napoli unit on both ends of the field. Karim Benzema and Real Madrid’s All-time La Liga scorer Cristiano Ronaldo lead in the scoring end. After a frustrating weekend that saw Real Madrid’s lethal offense score just 1 goal (through Benzema) to beat Granada 1-0, you can be sure that Benitez will be rallying his offense to give a more fluid performance.
The fact that Ronaldo needs a hat-trick to overtake Raul’s club goal-scoring record of 323 goals should especially be a shot in the arm for the Portugal star to go on a goal-hunting rampage.
Outside Ramos, Madrid will also be without Gareth Bale (calf injury), James Rodriguez (thigh injury) and Danilo (foot injury), meaning the likes of Tony Kroos and Isco will need to step up their game in support of Benzema and Ronaldo up-front.
Possible Starting Lineups
- Athletic Bilbao: Iraizoz; De Marcos, Gurpegi, Laporte, Balenziaga; San Jose, Rico; Sabin, Eraso, Aketxe; Aduriz
- Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Pepe, Marcelo; Modric, Kroos; Vasquez, Isco, Ronaldo; Benzema
Form Guide in All Competitions
- Athletic Bilbao: LWWLW, Last result: Villarreal 3-1 Athletic Bilbao
- Real Madrid: WWWWD, Last result: Real Madrid 1-0 Granada
Key Betting Trends
- Outside their season-opening game that ended in a 0-0 draw, Real Madrid have scored in every game this season, notching a total of 12 goals.
- Real Madrid have kept 4 clean sheets in all their 4 La Liga games this season
- Athletic Bilbao were one of the six teams that picked a win against Real Madrid in 2014, a 1-0 win courtesy of an Aduriz goal.
- Real Madrid failed to score in just two games last season, the Bilbao win being one of those.
- Though Athletic beat Real 1-0 in the last league meeting, Bilbao have not won back-to-back games against Madrid in La Liga since 2005
- Real Madrid have won three of their last five trips to Bilbao (D1 L1), with ALL the three wins (all 3-0) coming in their last three trips to the old San Mames.
Athletic Bilbao vs. Real Madrid La Liga Odds Predictions
Even with a couple of key names missing from Real’s squad, I wouldn’t advise you to bet against them, especially now that they are looking to make amends of missing several goal-scoring opportunities against Grenada. Bilbao will unquestionably come into the game looking to give a good account of themselves, and our expectation is that they will succeed in doing so, but Real Madrid’s class and depth should earn Benitez a comfortable win.
Our verdict: Real Madrid bag at least 3 goals to beat Bilbao, possibly keeping a clean sheet in the process. Predicted Score: 3-0 in favor of Real Madrid