Mar 16, 2018
Mar 16, 2018

La Liga preview: Barcelona vs. Athletic Bilbao

Barcelona vs. Athletic Bilbao odds

Inform your Barcelona vs. Athletic Bilbao prediction

Analysing the Barcelona vs. Athletic Bilbao stats

La Liga preview: Barcelona vs. Athletic Bilbao

Barcelona span play Athletic Bilbao in this weekend’s highlight La Liga match. Looking for value in the Barcelona vs. Athletic Bilbao odds? Read on to inform your Barcelona vs. Athletic Bilbao prediction.

A close look at the Barcelona vs. Athletic Bilbao odds

Barcelona have dominated La Liga and are expected to win this game comfortably. The odds imply a greater than 80% chance of a home win.

Athletic Bilbao have disappointed this season and are not expected to challenge Barcelona. They are outsiders on the +2 handicap at 2.160*.

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Barcelona vs. Athletic Bilbao stats: What you need to know

Time: Sunday, March 18, 15:15 GMT kickoff

Venue: Camp Nou

Team news:

Barcelona: Sergio Busquets is out of the game after picking up an injury in the Champions League. Luis Suarez (suspension) is ineligible.

Athletic Bilbao: Iker Munain, Mikel Balenziaga and Mikel Rico are long-term absentees.

  • Barcelona’s La Liga home record: eleven wins, two draws
  • Athletic Bilbao’s away record in La Liga: three wins, four draws, seven losses
  • Barcelona are undefeated in La Liga this season
  • The home side average 2.92 goals per game at the Camp Nou
  • Athletic Bilbao have won just two of their last ten La Liga games

Inform your Barcelona vs. Athletic Bilbao prediction

Barcelona welcome Athletic Bilbao to the Camp Nou as they attempt to maintain their eight-point lead at the top of La Liga

The home side have lead the way in the La Liga all season whilst their opponents have had a below average season by their standards. Bilbao secured a Europa League spot from a seventh-place finish last season but currently find themselves in the bottom half of the table.

Bilbao’s unique transfer policy can cause them short-term problems and this season’s issue appears to be the decline of Artiz Aduriz. The 37 year old scored at a rate of 0.58 goals per 90 last season but that rate has declined to 0.4 this campaign. The veteran striker has already made 35 appearances this season.

Aduriz is Bilbao’s only recognised centre-forward. Since Bilbao lack a striker to rotate with the Spaniard, winger Inaki Williams has been deployed at striker in recent matches. Williams offers less of a goal threat, contributing 0.22 expected goals per 90 in that position, a clear downgrade on Aduriz’s 0.48.

Defensively the Basque side have actually been marginally stronger than last season conceding just 1.1 goals per match. They will need the defence to perform at that level on Sunday to have a chance of a positive result.

Barcelona may be a little vulnerable as they will still be recovering from their victory over Chelsea. Sergio Busquets will be a big miss for the Catalan’s after picking up an injury in that match, whilst Suarez’s absence through suspension would harm any side. Paco Alcacer and Paulinho are expected to return to the lineup.

Barcelona vs. Athletic Bilbao: Where is the value?

Barcelona should win this game (as the odds suggest) but Bilbao’s strong defence combined with the absence of two of Barca’s key players may cause the hosts some problems.

Odds of 1.719* on under 3.5 goals to be scored in the match could offer value with Bilbao looking strong in defence but lacking threat going forward.

Given Suarez’s absence Barcelona may be less fluid in attack than usual. Bilbao are unlikely to win the game but rarely lose heavily, so odds of 1.884* on the Bilbao +2.25 handicap should be inviting to bettors.

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