Atletico Madrid-Barcelona Betting Preview: Why punters may have to wait for goals

Our man in Spain, Phil Kitromilides, believes the top two in La Liga will cancel each other out during the first 30 minutes of this crucial game
In terms of the title race, this may well be the most pivotal game of the season so far, with the result impacting greatly not only on the two teams involved but also on Real Madrid. All eyes then will be on the Vicente Calderon on Saturday evening when a rampant Atletico take on a resurgent Barcelona.

Of course, describing Barca as resurgent implies some sort of dip in their form but, such is the level of expectation with the Catalans, that the successive defeats they suffered in the Champions League and Primera Division to Ajax and Athletic Bilbao, respectively, back at the start of December were viewed as some sort of crisis.

The champions, however, have weathered that mini-storm by winning each of the subsequent seven matches, and Betway offer them at 23/20 (2.15) to record another victory on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, Atleti, who have won 13 home matches in a row, are available at 11/5 (3.20), with the draw priced at 12/5 (3.40).

Given the respective form of the two teams, an argument could be made for backing either of them, with the prices on offer likely to be the highest available for quite some time.

Both teams to score is naturally offered at a seemingly unbackable price for a single bet of 9/20 (1.45), which is wholly understanable given the quality of the attacking players on display for both sides.

Yet, there is every chance that this will be a tight affair, with both sides fully aware of just how much is at stake.

Indeed, both legs of the Spanish Super Cup. which was contested by these two teams back in August. were extremely close, with Barca edging the tie on away goals after it finished 1-1 on aggregate.

Therefore, backing a goalless opening 30 minutes at 11/10 (2.10) with Betway could be an interesting proposition. Barca have not scored before the half-hour mark away from home since October, and Atletico are one of the toughest sides to break down in Europe.

The Rojiblancos also often take a little while to get going in front of goal, meaning this should be a decent selection for a mid-sized investment.

No goal before 30 minutes at 11/10 (2.10) 1.5 point stake with Betway

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Phil Kitromilides is a sports journalist and TV Presenter in Madrid.