- El Clasico's all-time leading scorer, Leo Messi, will miss Sunday's match for Barcelona due to an arm injury he suffered against Sevilla.
- Barcelona's odds have dropped significantly from -160 to +100 following Messi's injury news, but public bettors are still taking the home side.
- Without Leo Messi in the lineup, Barcelona have won more than 80% of games in all competitions.
Sunday’s El Clásico will mark the 272nd meeting between Barcelona and Real Madrid in all competitions, but this one will feel a little different than others lately.
Unfortunately, Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi (arm) will miss the match due to injury, and odds have shifted significantly due to his absence.
At the exact time of Messi’s injury — which he suffered against Sevilla last Saturday — Barcelona were listed at -160 favorites to beat Real Madrid in El Clásico. Since then, odds have dropped all the way down to +100 despite the public continuing to hammer Barcelona.
That equates to an 11.54% change in win probability, a big overreaction despite Messi’s obvious importance.
At the time of publication, Barcelona had been receiving more than 80% of betting tickets. It’s not rare to see the public heavy on Barca, but it’s surprising that hardly anyone wants to take Real Madrid at plus-money.
Barcelona Without Messi
How do Barcelona cope without Messi? Really, really, well, actually.
In all competitions, they’ve won 50 of 62 matches, drawing six times and losing just six games. That includes their 2-0 win over Inter Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Barcelona tend to focus more on their defensive shape when Messi isn’t in the lineup, and they’ve got enough quality around the pitch to make up for him.
In the short run, that can be sustainable, but if he were to miss three to four months for any reason, they’d surely suffer.
La Liga Title Odds
Barcelona are currently in the top spot in Spain’s La Liga standings with 19 points, followed by Espanyol (17), Alaves (17), Sevilla (16), Atletico Madrid (16), Valladolid (15) and Real Madrid (14).
Barcelona are the considerable -225 favorites, with Real Madrid next at +350 and Atletico Madrid +500. The only other club in striking distance is Sevilla at +5000.
Although it’s early in the season, Sunday’s road match presents a big opportunity for Real Madrid to close the gap on Barcelona, especially without Messi.
A Real Madrid victory could move them to +250 to win the title, while a Barcelona victory would likely push them to -250.