Copa del Rey action heats up as Barcelona head to Bilbao for a Round of 16 meeting with Athletic Club. Recall that these two sides met in the Copa del Rey final last season, with Barcelona taking home the trophy.
Look for Bilbao to be out for revenge at home. However, Barcelona is still the soccer betting favorite at +120 to Bilbao’s +240.
Game: Athletic Club vs FC Barcelona
Location: San Mamés, Bilbao, Spain
Date/Time: Thursday, 3:30 p.m. ET
|Team||Goal Line||Moneyline||Over/Under||Team Total|
|Athletic Bilbao||+½ (-150)||+240||2½ (+110o)||½ -225o/+180u|
|Barcelona||-½ (+120)||+120||2½ (-140u)||1½ +135o/-165u|
Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona Preview
Head to Head
Barcelona have historically dominated this fixture but it has been very competitive over the last few seasons for betting online.
Barcelona has a slight edge in the last 10 meetings, at 4-3-3, and demolished Athletic Bilbao 4-0 in the Copa del Rey final last season. Earlier this season, these teams played to a 1-1 draw in Bilbao.
Bilbao Fall in Supercup Final
Both Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona were in Saudi Arabia last week for the Spanish Supercup. Athletic was underdogs vs Atletico Madrid in the semifinals but Bilbao managed to pull off an impressive comeback win.
After going down 1-0 with just under 30 minutes to play, goals by Yeray Alvarez and Nico Williams sent Atletico Madrid packing. Bilbao fell 2-0 to a superior Real Madrid team in the final but has been one of the better soccer pick in single-elimination tournaments recently.
Williams also found the net twice in the Copa del Rey round of 32 win over Atletico Mancha. All three of the promising young midfielder’s goals this season have come in cup competitions, where he’s gotten the bulk of his minutes. With Unai Vencedor out with a hamstring injury, expect Williams to feature once again.
Roster management will definitely be a concern for manager Marcelino Garcia Toral, as Bilbao also plays on Sunday in La Liga. Garcia Toral has seemed to put an emphasis in cup competitions and Bilbao seemed destined for a mid-table finish in La Liga anyway, so expect a strong lineup.
Just note that Bilbao has lost two of its last three matches at San Mames.
Barcelona Integrating New Arrivals
It’s not often that a Barcelona player gets to make his debut in El Classico, but that’s exactly what Ferran Torres did. The former Manchester City forward, who Barcelona somehow managed to sign for €55m amid financial turmoil, ended up getting substituted after just 45 minutes.
While it wasn’t a dream debut, there’s plenty of time for the young Spaniard to come good on his transfer fee. He adds another dimension to a team that has often lacked creativity this season and is a much-needed goal threat.
Barcelona fell 3-2 in extra time to Real Madrid last week but performed well and didn’t shy away from the moment. I was entirely unconvinced when Barcelona signed former Sevilla striker Luuk de Jong last summer, but he has scored three goals in his last three games. His play has kept Dutch compatriot Memphis Depay on the bench recently.
Don’t forget that Dani Alves recently made his second Barcelona debut and has added much-needed depth at the right back position. The Barcelona legend could feature on Thursday and it’s a miracle that the 38-year-old is still playing at such a high level.
One advantage Barça has coming into this one is eight days of rest. It’s much needed for Xavi’s men after playing four matches in 11 days.
Barcelona’s road record has been absolutely abysmal and it has beaten just one top-half side away from home. Bilbao have already proven that they can compete with Barcelona this season and I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see them pull off a result here.
Both teams struggle to score goals at times and that combined with the competitive nature of this match should mean that under 2½ goals in the sportsbook hits.