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With the visitors in extremely poor form, just two points above the relegation zone, backing the Catalans to win the second half with a -1 goal handicap is a wise investment

Barcelona have enjoyed a curious season to date with the Catalans perhaps not at their very best yet still beginning the new year top of the Liga table. Their opening match of 2014 is an extremely winnable home tie against an Elche side woefully out of form.

Indeed, the team from Alicante ended 2013 with three succesive league defeats to leave them just two points above the relegation zone and there is every chance that things will get even worse for them on Sunday at Camp Nou.

Barca are offered at 1/12 (1.08) with Paddy Power to record their 16th league win of the season, while Elche are offered at 22/1 (23.00). A seemingly unlikely draw trades at 8/1 (9.00).

As ever, the prospect of finding some value in backing Barcelona at home against deeply inferior opposition remains something of a challenge.

The champions should be capable of comfortably seeing off Elche, scoring a few goals in the process and while backing them to win with a -2 handicap looks like a nailed on selection there could be some better value in the market than the price of 8/11 (1.72).

That value may well come in the form of investing in Barca to win the second half with a -1 handicap at 10/11 (1.91). It is worth remembering how exhausting teams find playing against the Blaugrana, with the Catalans' dominant possession game utterly draining on their opponents.

The longer the game goes on, the harder Elche should find it, meaning this bet looks an attractive option. It has paid out six times in their home matches this season and should have an good chance of doing so again on Sunday.

BET
OF THE
DAY
BEST BET
Barcelona to win the second half with a -1 goal handicap at 10/11 (1.91) 2.5pt stake with Paddy Power

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Phil Kitromilides is a sports journalist and TV presenter in Madrid

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