La Liga Odds, Picks and Predictions (Tuesday, June 30): Atletico Madrid vs. Barcelona
Jose Manuel Alvarez/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images. Pictured: Lionel Messi
- Barcelona (-150 betting favorite) will face Atletico Madrid (+430 underdog) on Tuesday (4 p.m. ET, beIN) in La Liga soccer action.
- Barcelona is in a tight race for the La Liga title, sitting two points behind Real Madrid. Are they worth a bet today?
- Check out our full Atletico Madrid vs. Barcelona betting preview, including predictions and a best bet pick.
Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid
|Atletico Madrid odds||+350 [BET NOW]|
|Barcelona odds||-125 [BET NOW]|
|Draw odds||+270 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET|
Barcelona are suddenly on the ropes in the La Liga title race.
Barca trail Real Madrid by two points and dropping any more points will likely end their reign as champions.
Atletico Madrid have been on fire since the break and have vaulted into third place with a four-point cushion over fourth-place Sevilla.
This is the biggest game left on the La Liga schedule and will most likely decide who hoists the trophy when all is said and done.
Barcelona haven’t been up to their usual standards since La Liga returned from the break.
Barca have taken “only” 11 of 15 points in their last five matches and now will need to play catch up if they want to challenge Real Madrid. Returning home to Camp Nou will be a welcome sight for Quique Setien’s side, as Barca is undefeated in 16 matches at home this season (15 wins, one draw).
Barcelona rank first in expected goals for and third in expected goals against at home this season.
Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.
Barcelona have about as much elite talent as any team in Europe, but their star players have struggled a bit this season, particularly Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann.
Messi is creating “just” 0.67 xG per 90 minutes this season, which is his lowest rate in over five years while Antoine Griezmann has just eight goals in 31 matches since his $132 million transfer from Atletico Madrid.
Barcelona have been able to get results against the best teams in La Liga, but they haven’t been dominant. In 12 matches versus the top eight teams, Barcelona have only managed a +0.39 expected goal differential, which is low for a club regarded as one of the best teams in Europe.
Atletico have won four matches in a row, using their terrific defense to push them up the table and firmly into a Champions League position. Diego Simeone’s defense is only allowing 0.84 xG pre match over their last five games and Atleti have yet to give up more than one goal in a match since La Liga came back. Atletico Madrid remain of Europe’s most difficult defenses to break down.
Atletico Madrid typically play out of a 4-4-2 formation, keeping eight players behind the ball to create a defensive wall that works in unison to deny the opposition to play through the center or between the lines. This forces opponents to play through the wide areas to access the penalty area.
Atletico will do its best to blanket Messi in the middle of the pitch and force other Barca players to beat them.
Atletico allow just 0.86 xGA per 90 minutes when they play out of the 4-4-2, so Barca will no doubt have difficulty breaking down Atletico’s defensive wall.
Barcelona won the reverse fixture, 1-0, on a 86th-minute winner from Messi. However, Atletico were the better side in that match, as 12 of their 17 chances in the game came from inside the 18-yard box and the expected goals report indicates they should have won the game.
Barcelona opened as short favorites in this match and based on my model, I think they are slightly overvalued:
- Barcelona projected odds: +109 (47.81% win probability)
- Atletico Madrid projected odds: +299 (25.03%)
- Draw projected odds: +268 (27.15%)
- Barcelona projected xG: 1.39
- Atletico Madrid projected xG: 0.99
With Atletico Madrid likely to sit back and try to counter, I think they have a chance to pull off the upset, so I’ll take a shot on Atleti on the Draw No Bet line at +230.