Free Soccer Pick for La Liga Biggest Matchup of the Weekend: Barcelona vs. Málaga

Kevin Stott

Friday, February 20, 2015 6:12 PM GMT

Superstar Lionel Messi & Barcelona welcome Málaga to Camp Nou Saturday for this Week 22 Spanish La Liga match where the hosts will be looking to get a win after a 0-0 Draw in Week 5. 

Odds Overview
Barcelona vs. Málaga, Saturday 15:00 (beIN Sports USA, beIN Sports en Español, beIN SPORTS CONNECT (US); Sky Sports 5/HD, Sky Go, Sky Go Extra (UK), 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT): With the Spanish La Liga race heating up at the top, every match this second half will be huge for the contenders, including this Saturday affair between host Barcelona (18-2-3, 67 GF-13 GA) and Málaga (10-5-8, 25 GF-27 GA) at historic Camp Nou in Barcelona.

Soccer odds makers have made host Barcelona massive favorites (-900, bet365) in the Three-Way (Winner) marketplace with the odds on visiting Málaga at a bloated +2000 (20/1) and the Draw priced at a robust +700. The Total Goals in this match ranges from 3½ (Under -125, Sky Bet) to 4 (Under 140, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook), depending on where you shop (or wager), while the Both Teams To Score odds see the Yes priced at +120 and the No at -162 (bet365). A very niche Proposition bet market seldom employed but worth consideration in this particular game in Spain in the Catalonian capital is the To Score A Hat-Trick, and The Three Barça Musketeers are presently priced as follows at BetVictor: Lionel Messi +900, Neymar +1200 and Luis Suárez +1200. This appearts to be one of those very good games in which to try to use the Asian Handicap.

 

Málaga CF
Heading into this weekend’s action, Málaga (4-2-5 Road, 11 GF-18 GA) sits in 7th place in the competitive Spanish Primera League (La Liga) and in contention for a UEFA Europa League berth. But manager Javi Gracia and Los Boquerones (The Anchovies) have been below average away from home so far in league play this season and head into this fixture with mighty and peaking Barcelona with a -7 GD on the Road. And you can expect that to hit double-digits by Sunday, brother. One problem Málaga has had this season is scoring goals and averaging around 1 gpg in this often high-scoring European league means that the also-nicknamed Los Albicelestes (The White and Sky Blue) have to play very solid defense to hang with opponents. And they really have so far, with 31-year-old Cameroonian GK Carlos Kameni doing what he can in a league with the two greatest players in the history of this sport (Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo) and three of the current best—if not the three best—clubs on the planet (Barcelona, defending UEFA Champions League holders Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid).

Los Boquerones have three players who have scored 4 goals so far this BBVA season—Juanim, Samu and Nordin Amrabat—and did have a player with 3 goals scored in Paraguayan international Roque Santa Cruz, but Málaga shipped him to Cruz Azul in the Mexican top flight so much of the pressure to score with this team lies on six little feet. Midfielders Segi Darder (2 goals), Samuel Castillejo and Ignacio Camacho help somehwat, but this feisty team will have to continue to play lockdown defense to even try to stay where they are presently at in the La Liga table. And here, up against hot-running Barcelona, it could get pretty ugly for the Anchovies. Pretty ugly.

 

FC Barcelona
Barcelona (10-0-1 Home, 40 GF-6 GA) has been absolutely dominating here at home in Camp Nou so far this campaign and coach Luis Enrique seems to have La Blaugrana—winners of 11 straight in all competitions—running hot at just the right time. And with new striker and sometimes vampire Luis Suárez (4 goals, -150 Anytime Goalscorer, bet365) slowly getting the feel of his fellow Barça teammates, this is a club that could surprise the world and win La Liga and Champions League (and Copa del Rey) if everything goes right. Getting Suárez over the summer was one thing for Barcelona, but also adding GK Claudio Bravo and young Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic helped put Barcelona back in business and this Spanish Giant possesses the best attacking force in world football right now. With living legend Lionel Messi (26 goals, -225), Neymar (17 goals, -187), Suárez, Pedro (5 goals, -125), Andrés Iniesta (+162), Xavi (+300), Rafinha (+140) and the aforementioned Rakitic (3 goals, +162), this club is absolutely loaded and has been dazzling with its passing, footwork and showmanship of late as legendary soccer announcer Ray Hudson can attest to. Trying to win Time of Possession battles with this talented Tiki-taka team is a losing proposition.

Check out Atlético Madrid vs. Almería La Liga Free Soccer Pick

Best Betting Approaches and Trends
When these two met in Week 5 this season at Málaga, it ended in a 0-0 Draw—or pretty much a win for the homeboys. So, Barcelona will be motivated by that reality, and sitting in second place just a scant point behind league leader Real Madrid (56-57), La Blaugrana will be intent on getting all 3 points here and showing off a bit for the home crowd, at they did last outing in a 5-0 pasting of Levante HD. As one would expect, Messi and Barça own this series, going 46-12-9 overall (152 GF-45 GA) and a scary 30-1-2 (98 GF-16 GA) against Málaga here at home at Camp Nou in Spanish Primera Division (La Liga) play. Best hide the children and get out the sunglasses, Bubba.

With magician Messi and the electric Neymar now providing a unique synergy for Barcelona and Count Suárez wanting to show he’s a vibrant part of maybe the best attacking 3 frontline in history, there is a nervousness to score and impress and win. And they have. Toss in the fact that Barça is smack dab in the middle of Champions League play—it’s at Etihad Stadium on Tuesday (Fs1, 2:45 p.m. ET/11:45 a.m. PT) to face Manchester City in Leg 1 of their Round of 16 Knockout Stage series (Barcelona +110, Manchester City +245, Draw +250, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)—and a title race here in La Liga and the Copa del Rey and there is a now a special buzz about this team which may be playing the best soccer out of everybody at this moment in Time. That perpetual moment we know as Now.

Barcelona won this fixture here last season by a 3-0 score, and in the L9 meetings here in league play at Camp Nou, The Dancing Messis are 9-0-0 against Málaga, outscoring them 32-4 along the way. Somebody call the Board of Health. Here, with that important Champions League game on Tuesday (Feb. 24) looming like a florescent pink Post-it note in the back of their minds, Barcelona should roll with Messi getting a couple of goals and probably at least two teammates adding least one each with Bravo getting the clean sheet and the hosts those needed points in a very workmanlike effort on their precious home Catalonian soil. So add Messi & company to your soccer picks this weekend.

PREDICTED FINAL: Barcelona 4 Málaga CF 0

FREE LA LIGA PICKS: Over 3½ -125 (Sky Bet), Barcelona -2½ -115 (Westgate Las Vegas), Lionel Messi Anytime Goalscorer -225 (bet365)

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