Expert Soccer Betting Preview & Pick: FC Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid

Expert Soccer Preview & Pick: FC Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid

Written by on March 1, 2018

Attention Soccer Betting enthusiasts, the match of the weekend in the Spanish La Liga, the best league in the world, features Barcelona with a chance to extend their lead at the top of the table, but second-place Atletico Madrid will be confident against the Catalan giants. Let’s take a look at the latest La Liga Odds and which team is likely to get away with the win.

Expert Soccer Betting Preview & Pick: FC Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid

  • When: Sunday, 10:30 AM ET
  • Where: Camp Nou, Barcelona
  • TV/Streaming: iGol, beIN SPORTS CONNECT U.S.A., fuboTV, beIN SPORTS (In Spanish)
  • Soccer Betting Odds: FC Barcelona -160 / Atletico Madrid +425 / Draw +295 / Total 2.5 goals

Whey Bet on Barcelona?

Barca has 65 points (as of this writing) and is atop La Liga. Barcelona’s win over Girona last weekend extended their unbeaten streak in La Liga to 32 games, breaking the club’s 31-game record set by Pep Guardiola’s side in 2010-11. Their next target is to topple Real Sociedad, who still holds the record for the longest-ever unbeaten run in Spain’s top flight. The Basque side went 38 games without losing between 1979 and 1980. Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez are leading the top scorers’ chart with 42 goals scored between them this term in La Liga. Messi’s two goals in Barça’s 6-1 win over Girona set a new record, making him the only player in La Liga history to find the net against 36 different First Division teams. Messi, who leads La Liga in both goals (22) and assists (12), is also now just a pair of strikes shy of first place in the race for the Golden Shoe. Suarez had a hat trick vs. Girona. Injury wise, Nelson Semedo is expected to be out of action for the next five weeks after picking up a hamstring injury against Girona. Semedo, who has made just 11 starts for the club since his summer arrival, will now miss the club’s next five matches at least. Barca was forced to see out the game with just 10 men having made all three substitutions earlier in the tie yet the Camp Nou side eased comfortably to victory.

Heavy Schedule

Barcelona is at a slight disadvantage here as it had to face Las Palmas in Gran Canaria on Thursday, while Atletico will be on an extra day of rest and coming off a home match vs. Leganes on Wednesday. Suarez, who has scored 13 goals in his last 10 league games, spent the final five minutes of Saturday’s win over Girona trying to earn the booking which would have seen him suspended for the trip to Gran Canaria and therefore free to face Atletico. “This week the schedule is against us,” Barca coach Ernesto Valverde said. “There are a lot of questions and reasons why schedules are the way they are and sometimes the sporting side of things is not considered as much. … “This time it’s us who have the long journey and who play a day later than Atletico. It’s not Atletico’s fault — and it could have been the reverse.” Valverde’s team was fortunate to leave London last week without losing. One Spanish newspaper described the 1-1 draw with Chelsea in their Champions League last-16 first leg tie as a “Miracle in London.” So Barca is beatable. Maybe.

Possible Line-Up

  • 1-M. ter Stegen
  • 3-G. Piqué
  • 18-J. Alba
  • 23-S. Umtiti
  • 8-A. Iniesta
  • 4-I. Rakitić
  • 15-Paulinho
  • 5-S. Busquets
  • 20-S. Roberto
  • 10-L. Messi
  • 9-L. Suárez

Why Bet on Atletico Madrid?

Having the best defense in La Liga with just 11 goals conceded in 25 rounds, Atletico Madrid are the only team with a chance to catch Barca, although that’s very unlikely as no team has beaten Barcelona this season. Atletico has a rock-solid defense, but they look very strong also in the attack with Antoine Griezmann and Diego Costa playing well. Of the 30 goals scored by Atleti in 2018, 21 of them have come via the contributions of the two forwards. Many expected Griezmann to leave the club in the summer, and prior to January, the former Real Sociedad forward had scored just seven goals. In the two months alongside Costa, he has already scored nine. Barca is likely to try and sign Griezmann this summer. Back on Oct. 14, Atletico drew 1-1 at home with Barca. Diego Simeone’s outfit is one of only five teams to have taken points off the Catalans in the league this season, with no domestic side being able to defeat them. Suarez’s 82nd-minute header denied Atletico Madrid a first La Liga win over Barcelona in seven years. Atletico Madrid comes in as the underdog at the Soccer Betting Odds against Barca, but Diego Simeone never gives up. Saul Niguez had scored in the 21st minute to give Atletico the lead. Atletico has knocked Barcelona out of the Champions League twice in recent years but a win over them in their domestic division has proved elusive since Valentine’s Day 2010. Barcelona, as they often do, dominated the ball, with 69 percent possession. They had three times as many shots as Atletico, and almost double the shots on target Simeone’s team managed.

Recent Casualties

Atletico will be missing 22-year-old Lucas Hernandez for this match due to a hamstring injury. Hernandez is set to choose to represent Spain ahead of France at international level. He is said to be in the final stages of formalizing his Spanish citizenship documents despite representing France for five years at youth level. The left-sided defender played up to Under-21 level with Les Bleus and France Football. On Monday, Atletico announced that Yannick Carrasco and Nico Gaitan had moved to Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang. Goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya has secured a move to Real Sociedad. None played a lot, but Simeone is now left with a squad of just 19 players (17 outfield players and two goalkeepers) with which to complete the season.

Possible Line-Up

  • 13-J. Oblak
  • 3-F. Luis
  • 2-D. Godín
  • 16-Š. Vrsaljko
  • 24-J. Giménez
  • 14-Gabi
  • 8-Saúl
  • 6-Koke
  • 5-T. Partey
  • 18-D. Costa
  • 7-A. Griezmann

Expert Prediction

The unbeaten streak continues – Barca wins 2-1.
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