Pick Barcelona over Celtic in Champions League action

Steven Suarez

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 8:45 PM GMT

Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 8:45 PM GMT

The Catalans have already booked their spot in the next round, but they still need to win in order to finish atop Group H. Celtic has lost their chance, but has the chance to upset the favorites as has been the case recently. Let's find the soccer picks in this Champions League match.

Odds Overview

Back in the familiar confines of the Nou Camp, Barcelona is a hefty -550 favorite to earn all three points on Wednesday. There's a wide range in terms of the soccer odds if you like Celtic, with offerings from +1200 to as high as +1800. A draw is quoted is at +700.

Barcelona

So far in Group H, Barcelona is in the top spot but their lead isn't as substantial as you may think. The Catalans are on 10 points, two ahead of AC Milan and three up on Ajax Amsterdam.

The two home matches for Gerard Martino's squad have gone according to plan though, with wins over Milan (3-1) and Ajax (4-0) re-asserting Barcelona's near unstoppable nature at the Nou Camp.

But, heading into Wednesday's clash as Celtic, one has to wonder what frame of mind Barcelona will be in. They suffered consecutive defeats to Athletic (1-0) and Ajax (2-1 away in the Champions League), something we very (very) rarely see out of this side.

The Catalans recovered during a mid-week cup tie with FC Cartagena, winning 4-1 away from home. Pedro scored twice and Cesc Fabregas and Jean-Marie Dongou also got their names on the score-sheet.

Messi is still out injured, so Barcelona will have to make do without their superstar. Victor Valdes (calf) is also hurt, while it remains to be seen whether Dani Alves (calf) will return to the fold.

Celtic

The Bhoys have no shot of advancing in Europe, but that's not going to stop them from trying to get another shock result against Barcelona. We all remember what happened the last few times these sides have met up.

Celtic enters in fine form, having followed up a 3-0 loss against AC Milan with consecutive wins over Hearts (7-0) and Motherwell (5-0), the latter of which came in the league.

Kris Commons scored twice for the Bhoys and Efe Ambrose, Anthony Stokes and Bahrudin Atajic also got goals in the convincing victory. Celtic had 16 total shots, nine of which were on goal, while the defense held Motherwell to only three total shots (zero on goal).

Commons has been a man possessed of late, netting five goals in his last two games. He's scored a team-leading eight league goals this season, with Stoke following behind with five goals and Gergios Samaras holding his own with four.

There's no doubt about who the kings of Scotland are at the minute, but going to Barcelona and getting a result is a different story. Will the Bhoys rise to the immense challenge?

Champions League Pick

We know what Celtic's tactics will be: park the bus and hope to catch Barcelona on the counter-attack. Neil Lennon will have the Bhoys set up defensively just how he wants them, but the amount of pressure they're going to be under will be immense.

Whether they can hold on for the entire 90 minutes remains to be seen, but in the end we think the Catalans will find their way through.

No Messi hurts, but we're talked countless times about the talent on this Barcelona roster. The likes of Neymar, Xavi and Iniesta were all rested during the week, so they should be fresh and ready to pick up the slack for their Argentinean compadre.

What it comes down to is Barcelona will be dominant in possession throughout and should therefore be able to do enough to win. Our recommended soccer pick will be on Catalans.

Pick: Barcelona 2 Celtic 0

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