Saturday La Liga Odds, Picks, Betting Predictions: Barcelona vs. Real Madrid (Oct. 24)
Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images. Pictured: Zinedine Zidane.
- The 278th El Clasico takes place at the Nou Camp, with both teams coming off losses in La Liga.
- Real Madrid have lost two straight, including a defeat to Shakhtar Donestk in the Champions League.
- BJ Cunningham still backs Los Blancos to get a result against Barcelona.
Barcelona vs. Real Madrid Odds
|Barcelona odds||-103 [Bet Now]|
|Real Madrid odds||+270 [Bet Now]|
|Draw||+260 [Bet Now]|
|Over/Under||3 (-141/+117) [Bet Now]|
|Time||Saturday, 10:00 a.m. ET|
The 278th iteration of “El Clasico” will take place at Camp Nou on Saturday, as Barcelona hosts Real Madrid in quite possibly the greatest rivalry in all of European soccer. This time, it comes at a time when both clubs are in a bit of a fixture crunch, with both having played in the Champions League during this past week and another European game coming next week.
Real Madrid comes into this match reeling after losing at home to both newly promoted Cadiz last Saturday and to Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Wednesday. Barcelona got an easy 5-1 win over Hungarian club Ferencvaros on Tuesday but lost their last time out in La Liga to Getafe 1-0 on the road.
Barcelona has dominated this rivalry over the past five years, as Real Madrid has only won once in their last seven meetings. However, Real Madrid drew Barcelona, 0-0, at Camp Nou last season and followed it up with a 2-0 at the Bernabeu.
Based on their standards, Barcelona haven’t been their usual dominant selves since the restart last season. In their last 15 matches in La Liga, Barca has dropped 10 points and only has an expected goal differential of +12.25, which is a far cry from their xGD of +24.27 before the restart last 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.
Barca’s main issues have come from Lionel Messi’s supporting cast. Messi has tried to put Barca on his back, scoring or assisting on 58% of their goals since the restart of last season. To make matters worse, Luis Suarez has now moved on to Atletico Madrid, which puts even more pressure on Messi’s shoulders. The duo was involved in 82% of Barcelona’s goals last year, so someone is going to have to step up and help Messi.
Real Madrid had almost been perfect since the restart last season before this past week. Prior to losses against Cadiz and Shakhtar, Los Blancos were 12-2-0 and outscoring their opponents, 27-7, in La Liga play. They’d been one of the most dominant teams in Europe in that time span, so the losses this past week are quite surprising.
Real Madrid really turned up their defensive play since the restart and have been one of the toughest defense’s to breakdown in La Liga. Manager Zinedine Zidane’s men have allowed only 0.80 xG per match, which is the best mark in La Liga. In the two meetings against Barcelona last year, Real Madrid held Messi and company scoreless, so I think we’ll see Barcelona struggle to create high-quality chances on Saturday.
Barcelona-Real Madrid pick
Even though they’ve lost their last two matches, I still like Real Madrid in this match. They’ve been too dominant since the restart last year to be +250 in this match. Therefore, I think there is some value on Los Blancos’ spread of +0.5 at -121. However, I would only play it up to -127.
Pick: Real Madrid +0.5 (-121)