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No Messi, no problem, according to our man in Spain Phil Kitromilides, who thinks we'll see a high-scoring first half in Catalunya

If Barcelona could have hand picked a match to be without their talismanic No.10 in, it might well have been Valladolid at home.

Lionel Messi is, of course, out with a muscle injury, although the forthcoming international break comes at an opportune moment for him to recover.

Valladolid should cause Barca few problems and Coral price a Catalan win at just 1/8 (1.12), while a victory for the visitors is offered at 20/1 (21.00).

Yet there is no reason to think that this will be anything other than a routine win for Barca - and routine wins for the Blaugrana usually involve early goals.

Backing over 1.5 goals in the first half is often our selection for when Barca or Real Madrid play at home but there is a reason for that: it pays out with pleasing regularity. It is offered at 8/11 (1.72) and that is well worth taking.

Indeed, this selection has proved correct in seven of Barca's last nine home matches, and Valladolid have not been in the kind of form to stop them.

The side from Castile and Leon have won just once in seven games and their last victory on the road came back in February.

This bet paid out when the two teams last met in May and, while it is not the biggest price in the world, it is certainly worthy of consideration.

BET
OF THE
DAY
BEST BET
Over 1.5 goals first half at 8/11 (1.72) 2.0 points with Coral

Sign up with Coral for a £50 free bet and back Phil's selection for this match

Phil Kitromilides is a sports journalist and TV Presenter in Madrid

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