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Expect Goals Galore in Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid

Mallorca’s 1-1 draw against Cadiz on Wednesday may have been overshadowed by the UEFA Champions League matches, but it proved historic: For the first time ever, all 20 La Liga teams scored on the same matchday.

Granted, the match was meant to take place before the November international break on Matchday 13, only to be delayed. Even so, both teams finding the back of the net has proven to be a reliable source of income for La Liga betting fanatics. Just over the past weekend, Matchday 14 would see both teams score in: Alaves vs Granada, Rayo Vallecano vs Barcelona, Getafe vs Almeria, Villarreal vs Osasuna, Real Sociedad vs Sevilla and Athletic Club vs Girona.

Expect Goals Galore in Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid
Barcelona's Portuguese defender #02 Joao Cancelo - Josep LAGO / AFP

Expect the trend to continue for Matchday 15 when Barcelona hosts Atletico Madrid on Sunday in a game pairing two teams tied for third place in La Liga.

It’s an increasingly common pattern, especially for Atletico Madrid, who have seen both teams score when going up against these opponents this season: Granada, Lazio, Real Madrid, Cadiz, Feyenoord (twice), Celtic, Alaves, Las Palmas, and Villarreal. As for Barcelona, the defending champions have had both teams find the back of the net against Villarreal, Osasuna, Celta de Vigo, Mallorca, Granada, Shakhtar, Real Madrid, Alaves, Rayo Vallecano and Porto, including their last three matches.

Spotlight on Cancelo, Felix

Whilst both teams to score is a worthy addition to your weekend picks and parlays, the blockbuster match of La Liga’s Matchday 15 has all the makings of a high-scoring affair. Barcelona’s tendency to grind out 1-0 wins last season has been jettisoned, and instead we have become accustomed to a far more gung-ho style.

Perhaps that’s due to their lack of a defensive midfielder, perhaps due to the fact that new fullback Joao Cancelo, for all his value in the final third, still leaves plenty to be desired in terms of defending. It’s high-risk, high-reward, but against Porto midweek, it paid off: Cancelo became the first player to score a goal, assist a goal, create 5+ chances and complete 5+ take-ons in a Champions League match since Lionel Messi in October 2020 against Juventus.

Barcelona’s tendency to push numbers forward and leave their center backs exposed could cost them dearly against an Atletico side that boasts perhaps the finest striker duo in Europe, and it’s just yet another reason why you should be including a high-scoring match in your soccer predictions. You can bet online that nobody will be more motivated to find the back of the net than Felix.

Having arrived on deadline day, the Portuguese loanee has struggled for consistency, but Felix scored against his former club on Tuesday to end a 12-match scoring drought. He’ll be looking to add another goal against his former side on Sunday as he looks to prove Diego Simeone wrong and give Barça a major boost in the title race.

 

 

Athletic Club to Rack up Goals vs Rayo Vallecano

Athletic Club began their campaign with a 0-2 defeat at home to Real Madrid. Since then, Ernesto Valverde’s side has strung together an impressive run of form, winning 2-0 at Osasuna, erasing a two-goal deficit and grabbing a comeback 4-2 win against Real Betis, drawing 0-0 at Mallorca and thrashing Cadiz 3-2. They followed that by winning 2-0 in Alaves, drawing 2-2 against Getafe and falling to a 3-0 defeat to Real Sociedad.

The Leones opened October with a 3-0 win against Almeria before losing 1-0 in Barcelona, drawing 2-2 to Valencia and winning 3-2 at Villarreal. After heading into the international break with a last-second 4-3 win against Celta de Vigo, the Basque club settled for a 1-1 draw at Girona, ending their six-game winning streak and knocking them off the top of the table.

That’s right – apart from their opening day loss to Real, Athletic Club have scored at least two goals in every single home match this season. If you’re planning to bet on Spanish soccer, there are plenty of worthy selections to consider from this match. Athletic Club sit fifth in the league, six points behind fourth-placed Barcelona and six points ahead of 10th-placed Rayo. And whilst their form has certainly caught the eye of La Liga betting aficionados, it also seems that the Las Vegas sportsbooks have also caught on, putting the Athletic Club moneyline at -165.

Those odds aren’t bad, but even with the likes of Nico and Inaki Williams, Gorka Guruzeta and Oihan Sancet in attack, I’m not that inclined to take them. Over the past month, Rayo has held Real Madrid, Real Sociedad and Barcelona to draws. The smarter money, however, is to back Athletic Club to rack up the goals.

Given the current La liga lines, a successful $60 bet on Athletic to score over 1.5 goals would yield a profit of $40.54. With no European football to balance with their domestic commitments, we are seeing an Athletic side that is playing with confidence and energy in the final third, and I’m backing them to get at least two goals against Rayo.

 

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