THE Spanish season gets underway on Friday night with the Super Cup taking centre-stage. Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) shares his betting thoughts on Athletic Bilbao’s first leg clash with Barcelona.
Athletic Bilbao v Barcelona | Friday 21.00 | Sky Sports 5
It’s a case of one down and five to go for Barcelona. Tuesday’s UEFA Super Cup victory over Sevilla was the first of a possible six trophies on offer to the European champions this season and just three days later, number two is on the line.
Barca take on Athletic in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup and are as short as 1/2 (BetVictor) to come out on top in San Mames. The two teams clashed in the Copa del Rey final back in May with the Blaugrana running out 3-1 winners and a repeat result looks the most likely scenario.
However, it’s well worth pointing out the Catalans could be a little jaded after their midweek excursions. Sevilla took Luis Enrique’s side to extra-time and the travelling time to and from the Georgian capital of Tbilisi is sure to have an adverse effect.
Barcelona will again be without Neymar and Jordi Alba for the trip to the Basque Country but still managed to put in a spellbinding first 45 minutes. But a questionable second-half defensive display will have raised concerns and certainly given Athletic belief that a potential upset could be achieved.
Sadly for Bilbao boss Ernesto Valverde, Les Liones must do without Iker Muniain, Inaki Williams, Mikel Rico and Ander Iturraspe – four big performers. Despite finishing last season unbeaten in seven, the absentees will hit the hosts hard and they struggle to stop a rampaging Barca forwardline that’s struck at least twice in 15 of their last 16 competitive outings.
The most recent league meeting between the two at San Mames resulted in a 5-2 win for the Catalans and a repeat scoreline is not unthinkable on Friday night. So I’ve lined up two bets at better than even-money that I think are worthwhile, starting with the Lionel Messi/Barcelona wincast at 11/10 with Bwin.
It’s not often we get to back the world’s greatest player and the world’s best team together at odds-against. Secondly, Barcelona to win and Both Teams Score at 2/1, also with Bwin – you need no further proof than Tuesday night to believe Athletic stand a chance of scoring.
I’ll be keeping things light and simple but should Barcelona win 3-1 with Messi netting, we’ll have a full house. And that’s a tale that sounds strangely familiar.
Athletic Bilbao v Barcelona – Barcelona to win and Lionel Messi to score (11/10 Bwin)
Athletic Bilbao v Barcelona – Barcelona to win and Both Teams To Score (2/1 Bwin)
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