Real Murcia v Barcelona Betting: Copa del Rey holders to edge first leg win without Messi and Suarez

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Barca have won the tournament for the last three seasons, but there is value in opposing goals in their opening game in this season's edition

Barcelona begin the defence of their Copa del Rey title in the Spain's south east corner on Tuesday evening when they travel to Murcia.

The city has seen its football team suffer plenty of difficulties both on and off the pitch since their relegation from La Liga in 2008, but a cup tie against Barca is a chance for the region's capital to remember better times.

Of course, nobody expects Murcia to progress to the next round and the structure of Spain's domestic cup competition means that upsets are sadly all too rare, although the first leg of this round of 32 tie could be closer than people might imagine; in each of the previous two seasons, the Blaugrana have been held to draws at this stage of the competition (1-1 at Hercules in 2016 and 0-0 at Villanovense in 2015) and Ernesto Valverde will make plenty of changes to the side.

Paco Alcacer Barcelona Osasuna LaLiga 26042017

Expect the likes of Paco Alcacer, Aleix Vidal and Andre Gomes to feature along with plenty of youngsters and with Barca facing a tough trip to Athletic Bilbao on Saturday, Valvderde is likely to rest the vast majority of his starting eleven knowing that there is the second leg at the Camp Nou to come next month.

bet365 offer a win for the Catalans are 1/8 (1.12) while Murcia are offered at 14/1 (15.00) and the draw can be backed at 6/1 (7.00); bet365 customers can watch and bet on this fixture via desktop, mobile and tablet. Your account must be funded or active in order to see the action live

For the visitors, this game is little more than an inconvenience knowing that they will surely get the job done in the second leg at home almost irrespective of what happens on Tuesday evening. This, meanwhile, is the biggest game in the last decade for Murcia and despite their patchy form in the Segunda B division, they will be motivated to put in a good performance in the Estadio Nueva Condomina - one of the biggest stadiums of any team in the third tier of Spanish football. 

Murcia Barcelona graphic

In La Liga this season, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and "own goals" account for well over half of Barca's goals and while the latter may be present on Tuesday night, the first two almost certainly will not; it might feel strange opposing goals with the holders facing third tier opposition, yet recent years have shown us that Barca's first leg clash in the round of 32 is often much tighter than expected.

Under 2.5 goals has paid out in six of Barcelona's last nine games at this stage of the Copa Del Rey and a repeat is offered at a healthy looking 3/1 (4.00). In their opening Copa Del Rey games over the last decade, Barca have had plenty of low scoring matches including winning 2-0 at both Ceuta and Cultural Leonesa, and 1-0 at L'Hospitalet and Benidorm, as well as the aforementioned draws in the last two campaigns.

Other markets well worthy of consideration include backing a half time draw at 7/2 (4.50) as well as backing Murcia in the first half with a +1 Asian handicap at 1.900, a selection which pays out if Murcia win the first half or draw, while your original stake is returned if they are trailing at the break by one goal. 

Under 2.5 goals at 3/1 (4.00) for a 1pt stake with bet365

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