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Barcelona Favored in Copa del Rey Debut

Reigning Champions Visit Linares in Round of 32

Barcelona isn’t among the betting online favorites to win the La Liga title. However, things are quite different when it comes to winning the Copa del Rey. After all, we’re talking about the reigning champions. In fact, they won five of the last seven editions.

Los Azulgranas are in control of the odds board against Linares, but not so fast. The team from Division 2-B already eliminated a team from La Liga.

Barcelona Favored in Copa del Rey Debut
CRISTINA QUICLER / AFP

 

Linares Aiming for Another Upset

A team from Division 2-B will never be the soccer betting favorite against a team from La Liga. However, that didn’t stop Linares from advancing to the Round of 32.

First, they eliminated Nastic after winning an epic penalty shootout. The match ended 0-0, while the penalty shootout ended 6-5. Goalkeeper Brimah Razak saved the day by stopping two shots. Plus, Linares only missed one penalty.

Then, Linares pulled off a huge upset by beating Deportivo Alaves 2-1. Alaves won possession with 58 percent, but nothing else. Linares finished with nine shots on target, five more than the team from La Liga. Ion Etxaniz and Fernando Copete were the scorers.

They haven’t played since mid-December. Fresher legs can make a huge difference in a one-game series. Winning the Copa del Rey is all they have left. That and having all eyes on them due to facing a powerhouse should be enough to go all-in.

Linares’ predicted lineup: Brimah Razak; Daniel Parejo, Francisco Lara, Josema Gomez, Alvaro Barbosa; Ruben Sanchidrian, Alejandro Melendez, Alberto Rodriguez, Francisco Carnicer; Ion Etxaniz, Hugo Diaz.

Barcelona on the Rise

Barcelona hasn’t had the best season, but they regained a lot of confidence by beating Mallorca 1-0 last weekend. I know, the score isn’t particularly good, but trust me, it was a huge victory for them.

A lot of players were out due COVID-19, including Dani Alves, Jordi Alba, Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho and Gavi. Fortunately for Barcelona, Alves and Alba are ready to return. The rest still need a negative test.

Pedri, Ansu Fati, Memphis Depay and Martin Braithwaite were also out due to injury. All four are ready to go now, but they might not be ready to play for 90 minutes. That’s why you can expect head coach Xavi Hernandez to make some changes in the starting lineup.

Their road record isn’t the best at 2-5-2, but winning the Copa del Rey is their best chance to win something. Domestically, La Liga seems impossible, and the UEFA Europa League won’t be easy at all.

Los Azulgranas are offering a -350 price in the sportsbook. That means you need to place a $350 bet on them to win $100.

Barcelona’s expected lineup: Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Dani Alves, Eric Garcia, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba; Frenkie de Jong, Ricard Puig, Nico Gonzalez; Ferran Jutgla, Luuk de Jong, Illias Akhomach.

Linares vs Barcelona Head to Head

They’ve never met. The last time Linares faced a powerhouse from La Liga was in the 2020-21 edition of the Copa del Rey. They lost 2-0 to Sevilla. Curiously enough, Luuk de Jong, who now plays for Barcelona, was in that match.

Barcelona lost to a team from Division 2-B for the last time in the 2002-03 season. They lost 3-2 to Novelda.

 

Linares vs Barcelona Game Information

 

Date: Wednesday

Time: 1:30 p.m. ET

Location: Estadio Municipal de Linarejos

Linares vs Barcelona Live Stream: fuboTV

Linares vs Barcelona Betting Lines

Team Handicap Moneyline Over/Under Team Total
Linares +1½ -110 +800 3 Evo
Barcelona -1½ -120 -350 3 -135u
Draw +390

Linares vs Barcelona Prediction

Barcelona is the better team, no doubt about it, but they’re going through a rebuild. I still think they’re going to win, but you should include Linares in your soccer picks and sports betting. With Alves and Alba back, Barca’s attacking unit will have more support. However, that could leave some gaps that Linares can take advantage of, enough for them to cover.

Score Prediction: Barcelona 2, Linares 1

Pick: Linares +1½ goals (-110)

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