Barcelona welcome Real Betis to the Nou Camp on Sunday for their first home game of the season, and it kicks off at 9:00pm local time. Both teams had disappointing starts to the campaign with shocking defeats, so who will bounce back here?
Home Team: Barcelona
Barcelona started their La Liga campaign with a trip to the tricky Athletic Bilbao last Friday night, and it’s always a tough game at the best of times, but without Lionel Messi in the team, it proved to be too difficult for Barcelona. The story of the match, was that veteran striker Aritz Aduriz scored a sublime overhead kick to take all three points, leaving Barcelona stunned. New signings Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann started for Barcelona, but they looked lacklustre for much of the game, and it just shows you how much they still rely on the little Argentinian. He is still nursing a calf injury, and it is not yet known whether he’ll be available for selection on Sunday. Philippe Coutinho has officially left Barcelona now, so now they can focus on shaping up their new-look attack and try to get back to their scintillating best again.[geot exclude_country="US" ][/geot]
Away Team: Real Betis
Real Betis finished 10th last season, but given the quality of their squad, they had hoped they could have positioned themselves higher. The highlights for them last year was that they won away from home to Real Madrid and Barcelona – an incredible feat for any Spanish club. Betis opened up their new season at home to Valladolid, a team who they also lost to at home last season. We were not expecting the same outcome, but Betis had no luck whatsoever this past weekend, as they surprisingly lost. Goal keeper Joel Robles was sent off as early as the 8th minute for taking out a player whilst being the last man. Not only that, but new striker Borja Iglesias was brought off due to an injury received in the early moments of the second half. In the end, despite a spirited effort for 10 players, they lost 2-1 as the conceded late on. Will they have some luck this weekend against Barcelona?
Head to Head
Prior to last season, Barcelona were expectedly dominant in this fixture, winning the majority of matches with ease, and didn’t lose to Real Betis in the league since 2008. In addition to that, their previous home defeat to Betis was back in 1998. However, in one of the shocks of the season, Real Betis had won 4-3 at the Nou Camp, and had a 2-goal cushion for most of the match. Barcelona got their revenge in the reverse fixture, winning 4-1 towards the end of the season, with Lionel Messi scoring a hat-trick. Barcelona have scored at least two goals at home in this fixture, for the last 12 meetings.
Predictions and Betting Tips
Barcelona are at 2/9 to get a victory, with Real Betis at 11/1 outsiders to win. For the sides to draw, that is priced at 11/2. Crazy things can happen in football, but Barcelona losing their opening two fixtures just simply doesn’t happen, right? If Messi is in the team, then you should back them to get a victory here, with my prediction being a 3-0 win at 15/2.
Luis Suarez is most likely out, and IF Messi doesn’t feature too, I’d put a cheeky bet on the score line to be 2-2 at 22/1. For excellent value bets, you can back both teams to score in a Barcelona victory at 5/4, a Draw / Barcelona HT / FT bet at 3/1, or Antoine Griezmann to score a brace at 9/1.
Finally, for lightening to strike twice, backing Betis to win by a realistic score line like 2-1 is at a generous 33/1, OR, backing them to win 4-3 again is at 250/1![geot exclude_country="US" ][/geot]