Barcelona vs. Real Sociedad Betting Preview, La Liga Odds, Picks, Prediction (August 15)
Getty Images. Pictured: Antoine Griezmann (left) and Mikel Oyarzabal.
- Barcelona officially begin life without Lionel Messi on Sunday against Real Sociedad.
- Barca still have hopes of regaining their Spanish title, although Sociedad have potential to make some noise in La Liga this season.
- Matthew Trebby breaks down the matchup and delivers his best bet below.
Barcelona vs. Real Sociedad Odds
|Real Sociedad Odds||+375|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-175 / +130)|
|Day | Time||Sunday | 2 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||ABC | ESPN+ | fuboTV|
|Odds updated Saturday afternoon via PointsBet.|
Potentially in a state of shock, Barcelona open their league season on Sunday afternoon against potential upstart Real Sociedad.
Barcelona, in case you haven’t heard, will be without Lionel Messi for the first time since 2004. Life without their Argentine superstar begins with a difficult test at the Camp Nou.
Real Sociedad were an expected-goals darling last season but weren’t able to turn that into Champions League soccer. Expectations will be high for a team with plenty of talent going forward.
Let’s break down this matchup, which will be nationally televised in the United States.
How Barca Will Look Without Messi
In their annual Joan Gamper Trophy game last weekend, Barcelona showed that they have plenty of talent even with Messi now plying his trade in Paris.
Expect the Barcelona attack to go through Antoine Griezmann and Memphis Depay this season. The duo started out wide against Juventus with Martin Braithwaite as the lone striker, and Barca cruised to a 3-0 preseason win.
The presumed Barca best XI will see Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong patrolling midfield along with Pedri, who miraculously looks set to be involved in this game. The 19-year-old played every minute for Spain at Euro 2020 before venturing off to Tokyo for the Olympics. Oh, to be young.
Because of Barcelona’s ludicrous wage issues that saw Messi have to leave, striker Sergio Agüero is not yet registered in their La Liga squad. Two other new signings — Depay and center back Eric García — were registered on Saturday.
It’s tough to take much away from Barcelona’s xG numbers last season. La Blaugrana finished third in La Liga behind the two Madrid teams, but they had the league’s best non-penalty expected goal difference (NPxGD) and most expected points.
Real Sociedad Have Upside Entering Season
Sociedad will have to start the season without striker Alexander Isak, who was not included in the matchday squad due to a knee injury.
To say that’s a blow for Sociedad would be an understatement. Isak finished with 16 goals last season, and the 21-year-old possesses all the physical tools to become one of the world’s best goalscorers.
Brazilian Willian José was also absent from Sociedad’s squad for this game, which means they’ll have to get creative going forward without either of their top two strikers. It wouldn’t shock me if winger Cristian Portu was drafted into center-forward duty.
Like Pedri, Mikel Oyarzabal looks set to be involved in this game after playing at the Euros and Olympics for Spain. With 11 goals and eight assists in 33 games last season, Oyarzabal makes Sociedad tick and will provide a big boost if he’s in the starting lineup.
There’s reason to believe in Sociedad this season because their NPxGD ranked fifth in La Liga this season, trailing champions Atletico Madrid by just 0.47 and fourth-place Sevilla by 1.67.
Sociedad ranked third in both xG and NPxG, although the defense will have to improve if they’re going to mount a serious top-four charge.
Despite those impressive underlying numbers, Sociedad did finish 15 points behind Sevilla in fourth.
Betting Analysis & Pick
While Barcelona showed promise against Juventus last week and they won both meetings against Sociedad last season by a combined 8-2 scoreline, this is a very difficult team to handicap. I think
I’m going to back Sociedad to get a result, with the best number coming on PointsBet via the Handicap With Tie option, which is a winner if Sociedad gets a draw or win.
Pick: Handicap With Tie – Real Sociedad +1 (+125)