El Clasico Betting: Home advantage to give Real Madrid the edge over Barcelona


 

Real Madrid 2.22, the draw 3.65, Barcelona 3.15

The title race looks likely to go to the wire, but this 'Clásico' will go some way to deciding the destination of this season's trophy.

Carlo Ancelotti believes this Real Madrid side could go on to be the best he has ever managed. "I have had teams with a lot of quality, but this team has experience, youth, character and personality," the Italian told Gazzetta dello Sport.

Rumours persist that Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino won't be at the club next season. This has naturally been denied: "We’ve talked to him and he’s focused on the objectives of the team and the planning for the challenges of next season," said vice-president of communications Manel Arroyo.

Team News

Karim Benzema is back in training after picking up a knock against Málaga, so the BBC (Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo) will lead the line in Ancelotti's 4-3-3. "I am not going to complicate things. I’ll make it easy for everyone," remarked Ancelotti on his proposed first XI for the match. Ángel di María will rejoin the centre of midfield and Dani Carvajal will start at right back.

Martino likes to choose four midfielders in the biggest matches, it's likely to be shown as a 4-3-3, but will resemble more of a midfield diamond. That means it's Lionel Messi and another in the attacking area. Neymar was rested last weekend and is expected to start, even though Alexis Sánchez has 17 league goals.

Form

The 2-1 win for Barcelona in the last meeting put the Catalans six points ahead of Real Madrid, but the fact the team from the capital now has a four point advantage shows the difference in the two sides at present.

Don't be put off by Madrid's struggles in Andalusia last Saturday and Barça's destruction of Osasuna, it's the Whites that are more consistent at the moment. They are currently unbeaten in 31 matches.

Recent head-to-head

Real Madrid have won three out of the last six encounters, including two out of three at home. Both teams have scored in those six previous battles, so back this to happen again at 1.43.

Ronaldo v Messi

Ronaldo has nine goals in his last six games in all competitions. He also enjoys playing against Barcelona in recent times, it's 4.40 for the Portuguese forward to open the scoring. You can get 4.15 for him to net at least two goals and 18.00 for a treble.

Messi's hat-trick last week took him above Paulino Alcantara in the all-time scorers list for Blaugrana, he is 4.80 for first goal. It's 6.50 for him to get at least two goals and 20.00 for another hat-trick.

Goalscorer betting

It's six goals in seven appearances for Benzema, he is 6.25 for the first strike. Cesc Fábregas sat out the win over Osasuna, his runs into the box from midfield will be crucial in this game. He's at 9.50 for the opener.

Best bets

Early goals have been a theme in recent meetings, the team that has scored first has not lost in the last six. For a goal inside 15 minutes it's 2.75.

With this result so pivotal to the title race, it might slow down after an initial fast start. A draw in the first half and Real Madrid to win the second half can be found at 5.75.

Under 3.5 goals is worth a look at 1.53, as four out of the previous six games have had less than four goals.

Verdict

Madrid's form at the Bernabéu is exceptional and although Barcelona are a completely different prospect, they are playing well enough to see them off. There will be large periods where they are without possession, but the speed of their attacking trio could make the difference.

Score prediction 

Real Madrid 2 Barcelona 1 – 8.50