Soccer Picks: Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid Spanish Super Cup

Nila Amerova

Monday, August 26, 2013 6:37 PM GMT

At the start of the Spanish Super Cup last week, sportsbooks unanimously listed Barcelona as the strong favourites to lift the coveted trophy. After the first leg ended on a 1-1 draw, the soccer betting market persists in similar fashion. So the only question is: do the bookies have it right?


Is Barcelona being heavily overestimated?

Barcelona will host Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou for the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Wednesday, all the while installed as the runaway favourites at -275 to win the match and the whopping -700 favourites to lift the trophy.

With such hefty prices, the soccer betting market is a bit lopsided. The message clear: Barcelona is an almost sure bet to win according to bookies. Clearly, bookies aren’t taking stock of neither Atletico Madrid nor their performance at Vicente Calderon last week. But do they have it right or are they overestimating perennial favourites Barcelona this time around?

Barcelona ran away comfortable winners in their season opener, beating a hapless Levante 7-0 with Messi providing two goals and an assist. To the embarrassment of Levante, Barcelona were up 6-0 before halftime! Following that commanding performance however Barcelona succumbed to a 1-1 draw in Madrid in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup; a somewhat surprising result seeing that they were the hot favourites at -138 to win that match and the draw was trading at a rather large +280.

Credit goes to Atletico Madrid for throwing the playbook at Barcelona. They really showed how a team should play the Catalan favourites and, arguably, were really rather unlucky not to take the win. Nonetheless the result was positive for Barcelona (and Atletico, mind) in the end but Messi’s hamstring injury sustained during the match overshadowed the proceedings.

The Argentine was sorely missed in the 1-0 victory over Malaga on Sunday and he remains questionable for Wednesday’s highly-anticipated affair. It’ll be a game day decision most likely as Bet365 is still offering odds on Messi to score, tipping him at -400 to score anytime. Junior Neymar is listed as the second favourite to score for Barcelona at -105 (he scored the lone goal in the first leg) along with Pedro and Fabregas also at -105 to score anytime.

Atletico Madrid severely underestimated

Atletico Madrid have started the season strong with a 3-1 victory over Sevilla on the road and they followed up that convincing performance with a thorough 5-0 routing of Rayo Vallecano at the Vicente Calderon this weekend; a match that was dubbed a battle between top four contenders in the Primera Division table and, as such, was expected to be a hot and closely contested affair. Well, there’s everybody told.

Despite this gauntlet throwing start to the season, bookies aren’t buying what they are selling. Listed at soccer odds of +700 to win the match and at +450 to lift the trophy, Atletico Madrid are the quintessential long shot bet. This leads to one question: Are the sportsbooks severely underestimating Atletico Madrid?

Yes, you could say that they are.

Atleti played a solid game against Barcelona in the first leg (as mentioned above), defending well against those delectable passes that the Catalans are known for and admired. Denying Barcelona the opportunity to play their game was a key factor to their success and why they managed to pull off a stalemate in the nation’s capital.

To win of course, Atletico Madrid will not only have to be similarly focused in carrying out that strategy but also they’ll need to raise it to another level. It remains to be seen whether they will do so. But make no mistake they can. Don’t forget, they defied the odds already to beat Real Madrid in Copa Del Rey last season and that growing confidence is becoming apparent in the way they’ve started the season and how they handled the Catalan giants in the first leg.

Moreover, Barcelona is vulnerable on defense and Atleti have several players with brilliant firepower that can capitalize on those shortcomings. Formerly of Barcelona David Villa (who scored the first goal to put Atletico up 1-0 in the Super Cup and is tipped at Bet365 at +200 to score anytime ), Leo Baptistao (+300 to score anytime) and Diego Costa are just a few players that can create scoring opportunities against Barcelona.

Soccer Betting Verdict: To walkout onto the hallowed grounds of Camp Nou and walk away with a victory is a tall order as evinced by the odds on Atletico Madrid in the Super Cup market. However, Los Rojiblancos are increasingly showing they are just such a team to do that. As such, we are expecting a tightly contested affair with plenty of opportunities on both ends and plumping down to the surprise result.

Soccer Free Picks: Atletico Madrid at +700 to win the match and +450 to lift the trophy.