Our Spanish expert Phil Kitromilides thinks a much-changed Blaugrana line-up will concede against a Mallorca side battling to avoid relegationHad this game come at a different time of the season, it could be argued that it would be hard to find a more nailed on home win anywhere in Europe. Runaway leaders Barcelona with their imperious Camp Nou record against a struggling Mallorca side who are traditionally poor on the road.
Yet the Barca team we are likely to see will be extremely depleted with the likes of Lionel Messi, Carles Puyol, Javier Mascherano, Pedro, Jordi Alba and Adriano all missing through injury and the excellent Victor Valdes suspended.
Couple that with the fact that Barca have a huge Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain in just a few days and we could well see some available first-choice players rested for the aforementioned European tie.
Therefore opposing Barcelona in some capacity makes sense, and few punters will be rushing to invest in the price of 1/6 (1.16) offered by Bet365 for a home win.
Similarly although opposing the Catalans in some way makes sense, backing a Mallorca win at 14/1 (15.00) is hardly an appealing prospect.
The most intelligent way of opposing Barca would seem to be backing against them keeping a clean sheet and both teams to score is offered at the tempting price of 5/6 (1.83).
That Barcelona will score seems indisputable given that Mallorca have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 24 league matches.
However, the Islanders have shown themselves to be capable of finding the net and recently scored twice during an excellent performance at the Bernabeu.
Gregorio Manzano's men have only failed to score once in their last 13 games and against a make-shift Barca defence in a game that matters little to the Blaugrana, there is every chance Mallorca will score.
Furthermore, this bet has paid out in six of Barca's last eight games and in each one of Mallorca's last five matches so even at full strength, Barcelona haven't exactly been in fine defensive form of late.
Given that the hosts have conceded twice in their last two games, and Mallorca have scored at least twice in their last four matches, backing them to score over 1.5 goals at 9/2 (5.50) could be a good option for a value bet.
|Both teams to score at 5/6 (1.83) with Bet365
||Mallorca to score over 1.5 goals 9/2 (5.50) with Bet365|
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Phil Kitromilides is a sports anchor working on TV in Madrid. You can also follow Phil on Twitter.