The reigning La Liga champions Barcelona are topping the standings at the moment five points ahead of their closest rivals and arch enemies Real Madrid. Barca will have a chance to increase the lead, but Athletic Bilbao is always a tough opponent when playing in front of the home fans, so we expect to see a great game at San Mames.
ATHLETIC BILBAO vs. BARCELONA
Three-way: 1: Athletic Bilbao +425; X: +300 Draw; 2: Barcelona -155 at BetDSI Sportsbook
Spread +1: Athletic Bilbao -135; Barcelona +115
Total 2.5 Goals: Over -145; Under +125
Both Teams to Score: Yes -150; No +110
After a slow start on the season, the Lions have been playing well lately, recording five wins, three draws, and just two losses in their previous ten games overall. Also, one of those two defeats came to Sevilla 3-1 in Spanish Copa del Rey back in January, while the second one came at Real Sociedad 2-1 this past Sunday. The Lions have won four of their last six games at home along with one draw and a loss to Sevilla, while they haven’t suffered a home loss in the previous six La Liga games. Athletic Bilbao is currently at the 13th spot of the La Liga table with 26 points and a 23:28 goal difference, just three points above the relegation zone.
The talented winger Inaki Williams is leading the Lions this season, scoring nine goals and three assists in 25 appearances in all competitions. Iker Muniain has added six goals and a couple of dishes in 24 apps, while the experienced striker Aritz Aduriz has bagged six goals in 16 games thus far. Aduriz will miss the clash with Barcelona due to a knee injury which is a huge blow for the Lions, but all other important first-team players should be ready to go.
- Bilbao kept the net intact in three of the last five games overall
- Both teams scored in two of the last six home games
- Two of the last eight home games had three or more goals in the total
Barca is coming off a 1-1 home draw with Real Madrid in the first leg of the Spanish Copa del Rey semifinals this past Wednesday which was their second draw in a row after playing 2-2 with Valencia last weekend. That tie with Valencia at home put an end to Barcelona’s eight straight La Liga victories. Barca has recorded six wins, two draws, and two losses in its previous ten games overall, while in its last five games on the road in all competitions, Barca has recorded three wins and a pair of losses. The reigning La Liga champions are topping the table with 50 points and a 60:23 goal difference, five points ahead of Real Madrid and six ahead of Atletico Madrid, but both these teams have played one game more than Barcelona.
Lionel Messi is leading Barca with whopping 29 goals and 17 assists in 28 appearances in all competitions this season. Messi is leading La Liga with 21 goals, while he’s also the best assists-maker with 10 dishes on his account. The experienced striker Luis Suarez is right behind Messi with 16 goals and eight assists in 30 apps, while the youngster Ousmane Dembele has added 13 goals and five assists thus far. The manager Ernesto Valverde is having some serious injury problems among the squad, as he cannot count on defender Samuel Umtiti (knee) and midfielders Arthur (hamstring) and Rafinha (knee), while Jordi Alba will have to serve his yellow card suspension.
- Barcelona scored two or more goals in four straight road games in La Liga
- Both teams scored in four of Barcelona’s last six games overall
- Five of Barcelona’s last seven road games had three or more goals in the total
Reportedly, Lionel Messi has some problems with his thigh, but I expect to see him in the starting eleven. With Messi in the lineup, Barcelona is almost unbeatable, and they’ve beaten Athletic Bilbao in four of the last five H2H meetings at San Mames along with one defeat in Copa Del Rey, while Barca has won the previous three La Liga duels in Bilbao without conceding. With a nice opportunity to increase their lead in La Liga campaign, I’m backing the visitors to beat the Lions once again.
When it comes to the totals, I don’t expect to see a bunch of goals, but you never know with all quality players among Barcelona’s squad. Still, just two of the previous five H2H meetings and two of the last five duels in Bilbao had more than two goals on the scoreboard. Messi is at -150 odds to score anytime, while the price on Suarez is -125. However, I just cannot take the under when Barcelona is playing.
The Pick: Barcelona AH -1 (+115)
Additional Pick: Over 3 goals (+120)