La Liga Odds, Picks, Prediction, Best Bets: Real Madrid vs. Barcelona Betting Preview (March 20)
Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images. Pictured: Barcelona star Memphis Depay.
- Real Madrid hosts Barcelona in Sunday's La Liga showdown.
- Los Blancos are +120 ML favorites in this latest edition of El Clásico, but will be without star Karim Benzema.
- Brett Pund breaks down the matchup below and details why he's backing Barcelona to get a result.
Real Madrid vs. Barcelona Odds
|Real Madrid Odds||+120|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-160 / +115)|
|Day | Time||Sunday | 4 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||ESPN+|
|Odds updated via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.|
In one of the biggest derbies in the world, Real Madrid and Barcelona meet at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium on Sunday for the latest edition of El Clásico.
Madrid comes into the rivalry game on great form, winning five consecutive matches across all competitions and owning a comfortable lead at the top of the La Liga table.
However, you could say the same thing about the visitors, who enter the match on a 12-game unbeaten run in league play to climb to fourth place.
Los Blancos claimed all three points in the first meeting, but star striker Karim Benzema missing this derby will be a huge absence in this game.
That said, let’s dive into this match to find the best betting value on the board.
Loss of Benzema Crushing to Real Madrid
There aren’t a lot of things to be negative about at Madrid this season. The club leads the league by 10 points and has qualified for the quarterfinal round of Champions League after a thrilling comeback against Paris Saint-Germain.
This is the same side that owns a +7.3 expected goal difference on 2.12 xG per 90 minutes over the last six matches in La Liga, according to fbref.com, winning five of those contests in the process.
Unfortunately, you can’t look past the huge void manager Carlo Ancelotti will have to fill with Benzema not in the lineup due to injury.
The Frenchman leads La Liga in goals (22), xG (17.2), goal-creating actions per 90 minutes (0.79) and assists (11) this season.
Barcelona Displaying Brilliant Form Under Xavi
When former legend Xavi was hired as manager, many people were skeptical about how long it would take for him to transform the side. Luckily, fans didn’t have to wait very long.
Barcelona has only lost one league game since he was hired, with form improving even more since enforcements were brought in during the January transfer window.
In the last six La Liga matches, Xavi’s team has posted a +9 expected goals difference and holding opponents to an average of 0.73 xG per match.
One key arrival has been former Liverpool standout Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has five goals in six matches in Spain’s first division.
BJ Cunningham’s La Liga Projections
Betting Analysis & Pick
When we look at the odds at BetMGM, Real Madrid is listed as the +120 favorite on the moneyline, while the total is set at 2.5 goals.
Both squads come into the derby on excellent form, but the one big missing player has shifted all of the value onto the visitors.
My best bet is to take Barcelona on the Draw No Bet line at ripe +120 odds.
I touched on just how important Benzema is to this Madrid team, but there are even more numbers to back that up.
In La Liga this season, the talisman has played a direct part in 33 of 59 (56%) goals for the club. You can also combine his xG per match (.75) and expected assists per game (.31) for an average of over one expected per 90 minutes that will be missing in this game.
Luckily for Ancelotti, this won’t be the first game that Benzema this season. If you look at those fixtures, Madrid beat Inter Milan, Elche twice and Granada, drew with Villarreal and lost to Athletic Club in the Copa del Rey.
The Madridistas averaged 0.857 goals per game in those matches, which is much less than the 2.286 per match average in the games he has played in this season.
This game is circled on the calendar every season for both teams, and I think this is a great spot for Barcelona to get some revenge.
Pick: Barcelona — Draw No Bet (+120)
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