The Blaugrana face the Asturians in a fixture rearranged from December because of Barca's involvement in the Club World Cup, and a victory at El Molinon would move the Catalans six points clear at the top of the table.
That would be a lead difficult, if not impossible, for the two Madrid clubs to cut and Luis Enrique will know just how much is riding on the game. bet365, who are live streaming the crucial clash for UK-based customers, offer Barca at 1/8 (1.12) and the champions come into the game having thrashed Celta Vigo 6-1 at the Camp Nou on Sunday evening.
Sporting who have had two days extra rest, having played out a 2-2 draw at home on Friday night, are offered at 16/1 (17.00) while the draw can be backed at 15/2 (8.50).
On paper, of course, this should be a straight-forward win for the visitors, who have won their last six league games and who will be confident of adding to that run against relegation-threatened opposition.
Sporting at El Molinon can be tricky customers, as Real Madrid found out on the opening day of the
season when they were held to a 0-0 draw, and the Asturians' record at home is not as bad as their league position of 16th might suggest.
Sporting have lost just two of their last nine home matches, having scored in nine of the 12 games in their own stadium, and they might be able to frustrate the visitors for parts of the game. On a night where all that matters for Barca is getting three points, backing a low scoring encounter appeals, with under 2.5 goals offered at a healthy looking 5/2 (3.50).
We will however play it a little safer and back under 3.5 goals which is still offered at a tempting price of evens (2.00) with the bookmakers clearly believing that this will be a high-scoring game. On the road, though, Barca have rarely been prolific this season, with our selection paying out in each of their last four away games in La Liga.
Indeed eight of Barcelona's 10 away matches in the league this term have seen less than four goals and on a cold midweek night in one of the wettest parts of Spain, a relatively low-scoring game could well be on the cards.
|Under 3.5 goals for a 1.5pt stake at evens (2.00) with bet365|