Barca or Real to claim the Copa del Rey in tonight’s El Clásico?

A Lionel Messi hat-trick inspired a 4-3 Barcelona win in the last El Clásico, can the Argentine do the same tonight?

A Lionel Messi hat-trick inspired a 4-3 Barcelona win in the last El Clásico, can the Argentine do the same tonight?

The 2014 Copa del Rey tournament comes to a close this evening at Valencia’s Estadio de Mestella where Barcelona and Real Madrid will re-enact their 2011 Copa del Rey Final at this venue that saw a tight game with Real snatching victory in extra time to claim a 1-0 win. Last year saw Real beaten on home soil by city rivals Atlético Madrid and with Diego Simone’s men beaten 5-0 aggregate in the Semi Finals, they’ll be desperate to finish off what they started last season.

However, it is not the capital city side that are favoured to take victory in this evening’s final despite a crushing win over Atlético, who eliminated Barcelona from the Champions League over two legs recently, thanks to them missing talismanic attacker Cristiano Ronaldo through knee and hamstring issues. Will they upset the odds to win tonight without the Portuguese striker?

Copa del Rey Final Betting Odds:

Barcelona – 2.28

Draw – 3.40

Real – 2.58

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

Although Barcelona are favoured to beat Real Madrid this evening, are they really deserving of this favourites tag just because their opponents are missing their most important player for the match? The bookmakers clearly think so, but with away losses at Atlético Madrid and Granada in their last two games seeing them out of the Champions League and slip four points off the top of the La Primera Liga table are they now passed it? The last five games have seen Barca score more than a single goal in just one match and they are without a goal in two games before tonight. With Messi, Sanchez, Neymar, Iniesta, Xavi and the rest they still have more than enough to win any match, but with them not doing it regularly enough will they be defeated tonight and see them end the season with no silverware?

Real are not going to be as potent without CR7 in their ranks this evening, but he has not played a part in any of the sides last three matches and they have managed to score eight goals in this time. They defeated both Real Sociedad and Almeria 4-0 while also losing 2-0 to Borussia Dortmund in their second leg of the Champions League Quarter Finals. The Portuguese attacker was missed in Europe, but will the other star players in the side step up and put in the extra work. Players like Benzema, di Maria and Bale have been hit and miss at times this season, but they will just as desperate as Barcelona to win this trophy tonight in Valencia.

With the possibility of both sides matching each other in both the performing well or performing badly stakes tonight, how they have played in recent El Clásico matches could be the key to working out the winner tonight. The last six meetings between these teams have seen two wins apiece and two draws, with Barcelona winning the last two games between them, including taking a 4-3 win at the Bernabeu less than a month ago.

If the sides are equal in consistency and El Clásico performances, what could possibly separate the teams tonight? For me, Real have the better manager in Carlo Ancelotti and, while Barcelona have a perfectly good ‘A’ game if Ancelotti can outthink Martino, which he had done in March until Sergio Ramos’ red card, then this match is wide open for a Real Madrid victory. This is where my money is going on this evening’s Copa del Rey Final.

Back Real Madrid to beat Barcelona in this El Clásico and win the Copa del Rey Final @ 2.58 with GR88.com.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.

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Barcelona favoured to send Atlético crashing out of the Champions League tonight!

Neymar celebrates scoring the equaliser in the first leg of the Atlético v Barcelona tie

Neymar celebrates scoring the equaliser in the first leg of the Atlético v Barcelona tie

Talk about finely poised, this Atlético Madrid v Barcelona Champions League Quarter Final could not be tighter if it tried! Tonight’s match between these two sides will be the fifth meeting of the sides sitting first and second in the La Primera Liga in Spain, and all of the previous four matches have ended level. Two of the games have ended 1-1, including the first leg of this Champions League last eight stage tie, while two have seen the games end without a goal scored.

Barcelona claimed the Super Cup from Atlético at the start of the season thanks to their away goal at the Vincente Calderón, but their second visit saw them fail to find the net. If they cannot find the net in this third match in the Spanish capital this season then Atlético will have their revenge this evening. However, the visitors and four time European Cup/Champions League winners are favoured to overcome the Spanish league leaders. Will they do so or will tonight see another Atlético upset?

Atlético v Barcelona Betting Odds:

Atlético Madrid – 3.15

Draw – 3.25

Barcelona – 2.16

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

The first leg of this tie saw an utter domination of the ball by Barcelona at the Camp Nou as they finished the match with 74% possession and they completely outstripped the capital city visitors in chances too. Barcelona managed 12 shots, half of which were on target, while Atlético could manage a total of just two in the entire match. Yet it was the visitors who were more clinical despite losing their key player in Diego Costa after just 30 minutes of the game.

The Brazilian born player, who will be part of the Spanish national side for the World Cup in his homeland this summer, has been named in the squad for tonight’s game but he is still a doubt to play in front of his own fans. Midfielder Arda Turan is definitely out for the hosts this evening. Despite these injuries issues, Atlético will feel that they can still progress this evening thanks to a defence that has seen them concede just 22 times in 32 league games and just five times in nine Champions League matches, giving them the best totals in both competitions.

They have also shut out Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi on all four occasions that they have clashed this season, while their backs to the wall defensive performance in the second half of the first leg will have given them massive amounts of confidence and belief that they can reach the Semi Finals this evening. Barcelona have lost two of their four away games since beating Manchester City 2-0 on their way to this Quarter Final berth in Europe’s top club football competition.

They were beaten 3-1 at Real Sociedad and 1-0 at relegation threatened Real Valladolid, but have bounced back with a 4-3 El Clásico victory at the Bernabeu over ten man Real Madrid and a 1-0 win over local rivals Espanyol, who also finished with ten men, in their last two away games. With the way that Atlético defend, it may be essential that the Madrid side see a red card if Barcelona are to progress too!

I, personally, believe that, even with the close odds between these two teams, that this match will be closer than the odds suggest and the game could be settled on the first leg score or by a single goal in what promises to be a cagey and tight game. As a result of this, my money is again on few goals between Atlético Madrid and Barcelona this evening.

Back 0/1 goals in the Two Goals No Bet Market on this Atlético Madrid v Barcelona match this evening @ 2.62 with GR88.com.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.

Barcelona heavily favoured to beat Atlético in the Champions League

Will Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi make the difference at the Camp Nou?

Will Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi make the difference at the Camp Nou?

While the Manchester United v Bayern Munich Champions League Quarter Final clash will attract plenty of attention as the transitional Premier League side take on the all conquering Bundesliga champions at Old Trafford this evening, the all La Primera Liga  Barcelona v Atlético Madrid clash at the Camp Nou is going to be the more intriguing clash of the night.

These two teams have already faced each other on three occasions this season and all three matches were draws. The 1-1 draw at the Estadio Vincente Calderón in the Super Cup was followed by a 0-0 draw at the Camp Nou so it was Barcelona who claimed that particular trophy on away goals. Their first meeting in the league was also at the home of Atlético and that saw no goals between the two teams, yet despite the lack of goals and ability for either side to claim a winner the bookmakers clearly see Barcelona claiming the advantage in front of their own fans in this Champions League Quarter Final.

Barcelona v Atlético Madrid Odds:

Barcelona – 1.51

Draw – 4.00

Atlético – 6.40

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

Although they managed to draw with AC Milan and lose to Ajax in the Champions League this season, Barcelona have managed to win each of their home games so far scoring 15 goals and conceding just three in their four matches so far. In fact their overall home form at the Camp Nou, even when they were slipping up on the road, has been outstanding. Since drawing 0-0 with their opponents in this Champions League match at the end of August they have won 21 out 22 matches in front of their fans, losing only to Valencia.

This makes Atlético just one of two sides to avoid defeat at Barcelona this season and with them having the psychological advantage of leading them in the La Primera Liga title race this season they will fancy their chances in this first leg Quarter Final. Atlético, along with their city rivals Real Madrid, are unbeaten in the Champions League this season having won five of their six group matches, as well as drawing with Zenit St Petersburg in Russia, before booking their place in this last eight stage game by doing what Barcelona failed to do in beating AC Milan as they followed up a 1-0 win at the San Siro with a 4-1 thumping on home soil.

Can either of these sides actually win this match following three straight draws? If either side is to do so I feel that Barcelona’s experience at this stage of the competition will be a massive advantage, as will the scoring ability of Lionel Messi. The Argentine striker has eight in this competition so far, but Atlético have their own star striker this season in the Brazilian born Diego Costa. He has played 75 minutes fewer than Messi, but has just one fewer goal and with 25 goals in the league, he has bagged two more than Messi in that competition.

Will there be goals from these two star strikers? Will there be a winner? The two sides have cancelled each other out all three times already this season and I feel that this match will be another close one. As a result of this, I am backing Atlético to get something from this match to bring to the Estadio Vincente Calderón for the second leg.

Back Atlético/Draw Double Chance in this Champions League Quarter Final match against Barcelona @ 2.58 with GR88.com.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.

Dortmund hope to go one better!

BVB looking for Champions League glory!

After losing last year’s Champions League final, Dortmund have their sights set on the title!

After taking Europe by storm last year to reach the Champions League final at Wembley, Borussia Dortmund have their sights set on going one better as Europe’s premier club competition continues this week.

The domestic title race has long been decided in favour of Bayern Munich and most Dortmund fans would agree that their Bundesliga performances have been erratic at times, but in Europe anything is possible as the Black and Yellows have the quality to beat anyone on their day. Wednesday sees coach Jurgen Klopp’s team a red-hot favourite to progress to the last eight of the Champions League after a stunning 4-2 victory on the road at St. Petersburg three weeks ago. The Germans came out firing on all cylinders in the first-leg encounter, going up by two goals in the first five minutes of the game and never letting their Russian opponents back into it.

Last weekend’s Bundesliga warm-up at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach was anything other than perfect preparation – a 2-1 defeat and yet more problems for Klopp with the referees! – but there seems little doubt that the charismatic coach, who has won fans across the continent over the last two years, will have his team in a perfect state of mind to finish the job on Wednesday.

With the likes of Barca, PSG, Atletico Madrid and, of course, Bayern already through to the quarterfinals, everyone at Dortmund knows it is going to be tough, but last year’s experience, coupled with the quality in the squad, could yet see the black and yellow hordes making their way to Lisbon in May!

Borussia Dortmund vs. Zenit St. Petersburg, Odds

Dortmund                          1.3
Draw                                   5.5
St. Petersburg                   9.0

Dortmund to win the Champions League:             13.0

Odds provided by www.intertops.eu are correct of today, but subject to change.

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chrisives-50CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI.

Madrid sides to take the lead in La Primera Liga this weekend?

Can Atlético Madrid striker Diego Costa fire his side to the top of the league?

Can Atlético Madrid striker Diego Costa fire his side to the top of the league?

With Barcelona messing up their title defence in spectacular fashion this weekend as they were beaten 3-2 in front of their own fans at the Camp Nou by Valencia, the two Madrid clubs in Atlético and Real can move ahead of the champions in the La Primera Liga title race with victories this Sunday evening?

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

Atletico Madrid v Real Sociedad Odds:

Atlético – 1.32

Draw – 4.90

Sociedad – 9.60

Home wins are not the usual result of matches between Atlético Madrid and Real Sociedad as it was 2011 the last time that either of these two teams managed to secure all three points in front of their own fans and the last two games with the title challengers at the hosts have seen a 1-1 draw and a 1-0 win for Sociedad last season.

However, with Barcelona dropping the ball this weekend you can be sure that Atlético will be sure to motivated to end this cursed run. The fact that they have won 15 and drawn three, with Barcelona taking two of these three draws, of their 18 home matches in all competitions this season I see why they are such big favourites to win and top to the table in this season’s closely fought La Primera Liga title race.

Although Sociedad have lost just one of their last six away games, they do have seven defeats in their last 14 away matches. They are improving and they are looking good for taking a Europa League place this season, but they have not visited such a tough a place to visit as the Vincente Calderón in a while and with top spot in the league up for grabs I see this match bringing the away day points haul to a close this weekend.

Back Atlético Madrid to win beat Real Sociedad by at least two goals (Atlético -1.5) @ 1.91 with GR88.com.

Athletic Bilbao v Real Madrid Odds:

Bilbao – 5.10

Draw – 3.80

Real – 1.63

Although these two sides are separated by nine points in the league they are sat next to each other in the standings with Real Madrid in third place, and in prime position to go top of the table thanks to Barcelona losing against Valencia and if I happen to be horribly wrong about Atlético, and their hosts at San Mamés tonight sitting in fourth.

Bilbao’s 14 home matches this season have seen just one loss, although it was in the last game against Atlético in the Copa del Rey during the week, and they will be confident about being able to hold the Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale led attacking forces of a side desperate to go top of the league. However, Real have won each of their last ten matches, 11 if you include the winter break friendly game against PSG in Paris, and they are unbeaten since the end of October. Only the two sides above them in the table in Atlético and Barcelona have beaten them in any competition this season and they bring a fine set of results into this match.

With the possible prize of top of the table available to Real, and the prize of moving two points clear of their biggest rivals in Barcelona assured with a win, I cannot see anything but victory for Real this evening. I also see goals in this match between two fine attacking sides and, as such, my money is going on a combination of these two bets.

Back Real Madrid to beat Bilbao and there to be more than 2.5 goals in the game @ 2.05 with GR88.com.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.

Real Madrid to be deposed in La Liga this evening?

Barcelona can return to the top of the league with victory over Malaga this evening.

Barcelona can return to the top of the league with victory over Malaga this evening.

Recent weeks have seen the La Primera Liga title race heat up to massive proportions as Real Madrid joined the two way battle between Atlético Madrid and reigning champions Barcelona. Last night, as predicted, Real Madrid recorded a 2-0 win over Granada to move two points clear at the top of the table but both Atlético and Barca have the chance to move back in front of them tonight as they play their games in hand. Will they both win and see Real’s position as top of the pile last for just 24 hours?

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change.)

Rayo v Atletico Betting Odds:

Home Victory – 8.20

Draw – 4.70

Away Victory – 1.36

Although Atlético are the massive favourites to win this match at the Estadio del Rayo Vallecano they have not had much recent success here. They have taken just one win in four visits to face Rayo Vallecano and were beaten 2-1 last season after conceding two first half goals and only salvaging a consolation at injury time, but they will certainly be more confident about this visit following the 5-0 drubbing handed out to Rayo in August.

The odds makers agree with this as they make the visitors, who are unbeaten in 20 matches in league, cup and Champions League since being shocked 1-0 at Espanyol in October, the big favourites to win and I can’t see any reason to disagree with them. Rayo have lost seven of 11 at home this season and two of their three wins have come against fellow relegation battlers Elche and Real Valladolid. The other was a 1-0 win against sixth place Real Sociedad courtesy of an 89th minute penalty, but I fear that Atlético have too much firepower for the struggling Rayo side this evening and I foresee an easy win, and return to the top of the table, for the visitors.

Back Atlético Madrid to beat Rayo Vallecano by at least two goals (Atlético -1.5 goals) @ 2.04 with GR88.com.

 

Barca v Malaga Betting Odds:

Home Victory – 1.08

Draw – 11.50

Away Victory – 36.00

Although Atlético are favoured to be the first side to retake the lead in the La Primera Liga title race, they are not favourites to still be at the top of the table come the end of the night. Barcelona, who have not been beaten by Malaga in more than a decade, are even bigger favourites to beat Malaga tonight than Atlético are against Rayo and should Barca take all three points their better goal difference will once again see them top of the pile.

Not only have Malaga failed to beat Barcelona in a decade their last win at the Camp Nou came in the previous century when they claimed a 2-1 victory in November 1999 and with Barcelona having impressed on home soil this season I cannot see that changing this evening. Barca have won 14 of 15 games so far, with the 0-0 draw in the Super Cup with Atlético being the only time they have failed to lead at the full time whistle.

Malaga are poor on the road this season as they have won just one of 11 matches and while they have drawn six of the other ten away trips I cannot see a trip to the Camp Nou being a place where they finally find another gear and convert draws into wins. They have also failed to score in any of their last three matches and with Barcelona having clean sheets in each of their last three home games I can see this game having a comfortable ending for the hosts this evening.

Back Barcelona to beat Malaga while keeping a clean sheet tonight @ 1.76 with GR88.com.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.