Soccer Pick for Barcelona vs. Elche in Spain's La Liga

Steven Suarez

Thursday, August 21, 2014 9:29 PM GMT

Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014 9:29 PM GMT

La Liga play begins this weekend, which means Barcelona is set to be in action. The Catalan giants will be at home to Elche and have been trading as humungous soccer betting favorites throughout the week. What's our best play?

Odds Overview
Barcelona is listed at -950 to -1000 to get all three points, with an Elche victory priced at +2500 and a draw at +900 to +950 in soccer odds. As you can see, oddsmakers are expecting a walk in the park for the home team on Sunday.

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Barcelona
Though they ended up with a 27-6-5 record and +64 goal differential, Barcelona was still unable to win La Liga in 2013-14.

The Catalans finished three points back of Atletico, this coming after a thrilling final weekend in which they had a chance to win the league with a victory, only for them to come up short and finish in second place.

By a lot of other teams' standards, a runners-up finish would be considered a success, but that's not the case with Barcelona. They've gotten used to winning hardware, so they can't have been happy with how things panned out last season.

That's why the club has been active in the transfer market. Their big signing was Luis Suarez, who moves over from Liverpool, while Barcelona also reached deals with Ivan Rakitic, Jeremy Mathieu, and Thomas Vermaelen.

Suarez won't be available for Sunday due to his suspension, but Messi and Neymar look ready to go, while the Catalans are also going to rely heavily on the playmaking influence of Andres Iniesta, who featured in 35 league matches in 2013-14.

 

Elche
It wasn't pretty, but Elche did what they needed to know to avoid relegation last season, and that's all that really matters for that club.

In 2013-14, Elche finished in 16th place, one point clear of the drop zone. Their solid form at home, where they won six times and also picked up eight draws, was the main reason they were able to stay in the top flight.

Coro is a player to watch. He has been with the club since 2012, scoring 17 goals in 78 league appearances so far. Last season he netted five goals to help keep Elche safe.

The likes of Edu Albacar, goalkeeper Manu Herrera, and Damian Suarez all played a lot for the club last season and figure to be involved quite a bit again in 2014-15. Elche also reached a loan agreement with Mario Pasalic from Chelsea over the summer.

Whoever the La Liga minnows decide to send out, it's going to tough sledding against the Spanish giants this weekend. Possession is going to be dominated by Barcelona and Elche is going to have to be near perfect defensively to have any chance whatsoever. Needless to say, we don't have much faith in them this week.

 

La Liga Pick
We can't really envision any other outcome but a dominant victory for Barcelona at home.

The Catalans lost just one time in 19 league matches at Camp Nou last season, totaling a whopping 64 goals in the process. They come up against an Elche outfit that was awful away from home in 2013-14 – they had three wins, five draws and 11 defeats (with 17 goals for and 38 goals against) in all.

With Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid ready to pounce, Barcelona knows they can't afford to drop any points against the lesser times throughout the campaign. We expect them to put on a dominant offensive display en route to an easy win this weekend.
Free Soccer Pick: Barcelona 4 Elche 0

 

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