Another thrilling battle for La Liga looks set to go right down to the wire between fierce rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona. There are just a few points in it and El Clasico on April 23 looks to be a huge six-pointer that will go a long way to determining the eventual winner of the title.
Real Madrid has led for most of the season and is now heavy favorite after a rocky patch for Barcelona saw them lose two of their last five games, against lowly opposition in Deportivo and Malaga. Meanwhile Real’s five game winning streak came to an end with a 1-1 draw against city rivals Atletico Madrid, but they have forged a three-point lead, with a game in hand, and then there will be just seven points left to play for.
But a win for Barca in El Clasico could blow the title race wide open. These two drew 1-1 when they met at the Nou Camp earlier in the season, as an injury time equaliser from Real captain Sergio Ramos cancelled out Luis Suarez’s strike, and the recent head-to-head between these two sides is pretty even. Barcelona has its lauded offensive triumvirate of Suarez, Lionel Messi and Neymar, while Real Madrid can call upon the services of Cristiano Ronaldo and have arguably a stronger defence, plus they are superb on the counter-attack.
Real has scored fewer goals than Barca this season, and conceded more, but Zinedine Zidane’s men have been more consistent and ground out several important wins. They have the best home record in La Liga, with 12 wins from 16, and will relish the chance to get Barcelona to the Bernebeu. But Barcelona, despite losing 2-0 to Malaga in their last game, have the league’s best away record, with 10 wins from 16. It is interesting from a betting point of view. Do some line shopping on the game and check out a BetOnline review, and you will see that little separates these two teams. Real Madrid, which benefits from home advantage, is the +130 favorite, while you can get +230 on Barcelona and +330 on the draw.
At those odds, most of the action is going on Barcelona. That is a typical pattern when Barcelona is the underdog – it only happens a few times every season, and typically comes when they are either away at Real Madrid or away in a really tough Champions League game, and they always receive a flurry of betting activity because they have such an outrageously talented offence, which can take apart any defence in the world. But it would be risky to bet against Real Madrid here, considering they are in the best form of any team in the league and have won 75% of their home games already this season. A draw would be a good result for Real Madrid as it would preserve its lead at the top of the table, so the +330 on the draw looks a great option.
Neymar looks to be suspended from the game, which could cause problems for Barcelona, as he is a vital part of its offence. Ronaldo is also just one yellow card away from a suspension, so if he misses the game you might want to back Barcelona, as he is so crucial to the Real Madrid effort, particularly with Gareth Bale out of sorts.
Another option is to back both teams to score at -155. Both teams are very strong offensively and both concede plenty of goals. Only one of their last 20 meetings has failed to see both teams score, so that looks a great bet.