Elche-Barcelona Betting Preview: Why the hosts can have a good first half

The opening 45 minutes at the Estadio Martinez Valero has always been extremely tight this season and our La Liga expert believes that will benefit the hosts on Sunday
Following last weekend's seemingly disastrous 2-2 draw at home to Getafe, Barcelona all but conceded the league title.

However, after some truly unexpected results, including Atletico losing at Levante and Real Madrid drawing at Valladolid, Barca know that two wins from their final two games will see them retain their La Liga crown.

They travel to struggling Elche on Sunday with the side from Alicante very much involved in the relegation battle and desperate for points themselves.

Paddy Power price a home win at 9/1 (10.00), while the Catalans are offered at 2/9 (1.22) and the draw is available at 11/2 (6.50).

While Elche have been around the relegation zone practically all season it has not been because of their home form which has been extremely solid.

It it true that they do not score many goals, but neither do they concede many and Fran Escriba's side are unbeaten in their last nine matches at the Estadio Martinez Valero.

Barcelona for their part have been wildly unpredictable recently and in the last couple of months have lost away to both Valladolid and Granada, two sides who are below Elche in the table.

One of the most regular bets in Spanish football is backing a goalless first half in Elche's home games, something which has paid out in each of their last seven fixtures and is available at 7/2 (4.50).

Yet a slightly more cautious but still intelligent bet may be to back Elche to win the first half with a +1 handicap at 13/10 (2.30).

Barcelona have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last eight competitive fixtures and this bet somewhat guards against them conceding a first half goal, while also reaping dividends if the run of goalless first halves at Elche continues.

Elche to win the first half win a +1 handicap at 13/10 (2.30) 2.5pt stake with Paddy Power

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Phil Kitromilides is a sports journalist and TV presenter in Madrid